INVESTNET NEWS


Switzerland sets up working group on ICOs, blockchain - Ralph Atkins () 19/01/18 10:03:00

Switzerland wants to remain an "attractive location" for initial coin offerings, its international finance ministry has said as it announced the setting up of a working group to assess the need for action by the country's lawmakers or regulators. Switzerland has accounted for four of the 10 largest ICOs, according to PWC, with investors attracted by the country's business-friendly regulations and digital expertise. On Tuesday, the international finance secretariat in Bern said blockchain technology gave rise to "fundamental legal issues" in financial market and general law. It said the "blockchain/ICO working group" would "review the legal framework and identify any need for action with the involvement of the Federal Office of Justice, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority and in close consultation with the sector". The working group would report to the government by the end of the year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Morgan Stanley profits rise despite trading woes - Ben McLannahan () 19/01/18 10:03:00

MORGAN STANLEY yesterday posted a 13% rise in net income, excluding tax effects, despite a big slump in revenue from trading during Q4. Numbers for the bank were mostly solid, with record quarterly wealth-management revenues of $4.4bn, up from $4bn a year ago, and an 8% uptick in revenues from investment banking, to $1.4bn. MORGAN STANLEY had a tough time in its trading business, seeing equities revenues slip 2% y/y to $1.9bn while revenues from fixed-income trading crashed 45% to $808m. EPS came to 84cps, when excluding a $1.2bn charge connected to the recent overhaul of US tax laws, on revenues of $9.5bn. Net income came to $1.7bn, up from $1.5bn y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Non-OPEC oil production growth predicted higher than expected - Anjli Raval () 19/01/18 10:03:00

OPEC said oil production growth from outside of the cartel in 2018 will be higher than initially anticipated, just as the cartel revised lower demand estimates for its own crude. Non-OPEC supply is expected to expand by almost 1.2m bpd this year, a 160 000 bpd upward revision. This was driven "by mostly higher growth expectations for the US and Canada", OPEC said. US shale oil companies have managed to lower their break-even costs by up to 50% since oil prices crashed "by improving technology and efficiency", OPEC said. Total non-OPEC supply is forecast at 58.8m bpd in 2018. OPEC output in Dec. stood at 32.4m bpd, which includes countries exempt from the supply cut deal. Global oil demand growth if forecast to stand at just above 1.5m bpd, a slight upward adjustment compared to last month's report, with total consumption now expected to reach 98.5m bpd. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Vitol in $530m Nigerian oil-for-loan deal - Anjli Raval () 19/01/18 10:03:00

VITOL will lead a $530m oil-for-loan deal with a Nigerian energy company as the commodity house helps to extend large financing facilities to private players as well as cash-strapped states. The five-year agreement with SHORELINE ENERGY will give VITOL preferential access to phyical cargoes, sources said, amounting to at least 30 000 bpd of crude produced in the Niger Delta. Both companies declined to comment. VITOL will put up funds alongside asset manager FARALLON CAPITAL MANAGEMENT and a syndicate of Nigerian banks - UNION BANK, ECOBANK, FCMB and FIDELITY BANK. The money will be used to refinance existing debt and enable the development of 65 000bpd OML 30, an oil patch covering several onshore fields, of which SHORELINE owns 45%. The rest is owned by a subsidiary of the NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


BP to forge pact with Iraq to lift production from Kirkuk oilfield - David Sheppard () 19/01/18 10:03:00

BP is set to sign an agreement with Iraq to boost production from the Kirkuk oilfield, three months after Baghdad reclaimed disputed territory from the Kurdistan Regional Government. The deal would see BP return the field that was the biggest in the world when it was first discovered in 1927. Production and exports from Kirkuk has been restricted since Baghdad moved to retake Kirkuk following Erbil's independence referendum. The main Kurkuk field consists of three sections or domes. The southern two are now controlled by Baghdad with the KRG still operating the northernmost section, which they say is in Kurdish territory. The KRG controls the sole operational export pipeline from northern Iraq, but Baghdad has said it plans to fix its old Kirkuk to Turkey pipeline. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Google, Tencent agree to cross-license patents - Louise Lucas (NPN) 19/01/18 10:03:00

TENCENT and GOOGLE are to cross-license patents on a broad range of products and technologies and said they are "open" to deeper collaboration on future innovations. While GOOGLE has signed similar deals in the past, including with SAMSUNG and LG, this is its first in China. For now the deal means neither party will sue the other for infringing patents, and gives each freedom to access the other's patent portfolio. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Updated market indicators for 19/01/2018 () 19/01/18 10:03:00

At 10h03 on 19 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.16 ZAR/EUR 14.92 ZAR/GBP 16.92 Gold 1332.29 Platinum 1004.00 Brent Crude Oil 68.64 All Share 60719.82


AmEx suspends buybacks after tax hit - Mamta Badkar () 19/01/18 09:17:00

AMERICAN EXPRESS yesterday said it plans to suspend its share buyback programme as a result of the tax reforms that resulted in a $2.6bn charge and pushed it to a quarterly loss. "The upfront charge triggered by the Tax Act reduced our capital ratios and, as a result, while we will be continuing our quarterly dividends at the current level, we plan to suspend our share buyback programme for the first half of 2018 in order to rebuild our capital", outgoing CEO KENNETH CHENAULT said. AMEX said it swung to a net loss of $1.2bn or $1.41/share in the quarter to end-Dec., compared with a profit of $825m or 88cps y/y. Stripping out the impact of the tax overhaul, the company posted quarterly EPS of $1.58, ahead of analysts' forecasts of $1.54. The loss accompanied a 10% rise in consolidated revenues to $8.8bn, which also topped expectations. The increase reflected higher card member spending, loans and fees. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


HSBC agrees to $101.5m penalty in settlement of forex rigging case - Martin Arnold () 19/01/18 09:17:00

HSBC has agreed to pay a $101.5m penalty in a settlement with the US justice department over its attempts to manipulate forex markets, allowing the bank to avoid pleading guilty to criminal charges. The move means it will be subject to a three-year deferred prosecution agreement that holds open threat of criminal charges if it breaks the rules of the deal in that time. HSBC said it benefited from a 15% lower penalty "in recognition of HSBC's cooperation during the investigation and its extensive remediation". It added that the cost of the settlement had already been covered by provisions. The lender said it had agreed to take additional steps to enhance a compliance programme and internal controls in its investment banking unit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US House passes stop-gap budget bill to avoid govt shutdown - Hudson Lockett () 19/01/18 09:17:00

The US House of Representatives yesterday passed a stop-gap bill to fund federal agencies beyond tonight but the measure to avoid a looming government shutdown still faces opposition in the Senate. The 230-197 vote would keep the US government funded for four more weeks, but the Republican-backed bill will still need to pass in the Senate, where support from Democrats is uncertain without protection for "Dreamers" - young people brought to the US illegally as children. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China's 2017 GDP growth fastest in two years - Gabriel Wildau () 19/01/18 09:17:00

China's economy grew 6.9% in 2017, the fastest since 2015 even as policymakers made headway towards curbing financial risk from excessive debt growth. China's 6.8% y/y growth rate for Q4 locked in the country's first annual GDP acceleration since 2010. The surprise is that policymakers achieved this goal while also engineering a significant slowdown in credit growth, after years in which economists have warned about risks building from years of aggressive credit stimulus. China's ratio of debt to GDP fell for the first time since 2011 in H1 by some estimates. But analysts warn that the trade-off between growth and de-leverating will get tougher this year, with a slowing property market and tighter controls on local-government infrastructure spending expected to drag on the economy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Truworths issues lacklustre trading update - Robert Laing (TRU) 19/01/18 09:17:00

TRUWORTHS this week issued a lacklustre trading update for the 26 weeks to Dec. 31. Overall sales for the period came in at R10.3bn, nearly flat from the R10.2bn reported for the 26 weeks to Dec. 25 the prior year. Sales at its South African operations rose 1% to R7.4bn, but that was offset by sales from UK chain OFFICE declining by 1%, measured in rand. Measured in sterling, OFFICE's sales grew 1% to £162m, from £159m y/y. TRUWORTHS expected to report on Feb. 22 that its diluted HEPS declined by 3%-5%. The company said the comparison between H1 FY2018 and the prior year's H1 had been cast in an unflattering light by the inclusion of the slow sales week between Christmas and New Year in this interim result's reporting period. If the 26 weeks to Jan. 1 were used for the matching period, it would have shown a 1% sales growth, and the drop in diluted HEPS would have been limited to 1% and 3%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Resilient creates Twitter account after fake one set up in CEO's name - Robert Laing (RES) 19/01/18 09:17:00

A fake Twitter account purporting to represent RESILIENT CEO DES DE BEER was created yesterday, and was promptly deleted by the social media group after the REIT complained. This comes a week after RESILIENT's mysterious share price crash. Shares in RESILIENT closed 7.3% lower on Jan. 10 and then plunged as much as 22% the day after before closing 4.4% lower. A company spokesperson said the tweets did not say anything interesting, and RESILIENT's complaint was that the Twitter account used the REIT's logo to make it appear legitimate. TWITTER promptly deleted the fake account once it was reported, and the company has now opened an official account, which so far just says the following: @ResilientREIT hasn't tweeted. When they do, their tweets will show up here". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Top S&P exec warns Eskom in danger of default - Tehillah Niselow () 19/01/18 09:17:00

STANDARD & POOR's yesterday said it is very concerned about the liquidity situation at ESKOM, which it said was facing the "clear danger" of a debt default. The ratings agency spoke out on the same day that Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA and INVESTEC voiced concerns about ESKOM's financial situation. S&P said addressing ESKOM's liquidity, the group's lower than expected tariff hike increase, and general corporate governance concerns should be a priority for the country. S&P MD KONRAD REUSS said the utility faced the "clear and present danger" of a debt default. Speaking on the sidelines of the Outlook for Africa 2018 conference, REUSS noted that ESKOM's liquidity was extremely tight. GIGABA earlier in the day warned that, if ESKOM's problems were not dealt with urgently, SA's entire economy could collapse by the time Team SA returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In INVESTEC's latest risk update, chief economist ANNABEL BISHOP identified ESKOM as a huge risk to SA's economy that could hamper the renewal and recovery the country desperately seeks. The down case shows additional, substantial pressure on government finances, such as ESKOM defaults because of the government guarantee issued to the utility. Treasury has issued R350bn in government guarantees to ESKOM, of which R275bn has already been used. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nigeria moves closer to turning oil bill into law - Reuters () 19/01/18 09:17:00

Nigeria yesterday moved closer to turning the first part of a long-awaited oil industry bill into law after the lower house passed the same version of the legislation approved by the Senate last year. It is the first time both houses have approved the same version of the bill. It still needs the president's signature to become law. The legislation aims to increase transparency and stimulate growth in the country's oil industry. The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the first part called the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


MTN optimistic about Africa's future growth - Natasha Odendaal (MTN) 19/01/18 09:17:00

MTN CEO ROB SHUTER remains confident of the future of the company and its opportunities across its 22 markets in the Middle East and Africa. The company said there were more opportunities than challenges and that MTN was strategically positioned to leverage the potential prospects. SHUTER pointed to a phase of growth, with the markets in a "better state" than most, particularly in the three key targeted segments - consumer, enterprise and wholesale. In the consumer market, the population of MTN's key markets is expected to expand by 50m to 700m by 2020, providing the company with ample opportunity in a youthful demographic. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Massmart says 2017 sales up 2.7% - ANA (MSM) 19/01/18 09:17:00

MASSMART yesterday said total sales for the 53 weeks to Dec. 31 rose by 2.7% to R93.7bn, compared with the 52 weeks to 25 Dec. 2016. Total sales rose by a lesser 1% when making an exact 52 week comparison between 2017 and 2016, the company noted. "The second half of 2017 saw improved comparable sales performances in both MASSBUILD and MASSWAREHOUSE in South Africa and in all division's ex-SA stores... Management of MASSMART's operating expenses and working capital remains effective", the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


New disruptive mine borer heads for unveiling - Martin Creamer (MDI) 19/01/18 07:29:00

A new Proudly South African mine tunnel borer that requires no blasting, delivers higher production advances, comes with a collaboration imprimatur and can be retrofitted to existing operations will be unveiled at next month's Mining Indaba in Cape Town and commissioned in Q3 2018. MASTER DRILLING announced the tunnel boring solution yesterday. It claims the system provides quicker orebody access at the capital stage of mining projects and increases productivity when opening up blocks of ground at the production stage. Excavation, support and waste removal is continuous with the non-explosive process increasing on-face time. Internally conceptualised and internationally patented, the new machine can bore out diameters of 5.5 m at rates that far exceed conventional tunnel boring methods, MASTER DRILLING said, adding that it bores declines, ramps, haulages and contact tunnels in hard rock with compressive strengths of 300 MPa-plus. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


BlueRock starts mining new kimberlite pipe, expects improved results - Megan van Wyngaardt () 19/01/18 07:29:00

SA-focused BLUEROCK DIAMONDS made a number of planned modifications to the crushing circuit at its Kareevlei diamond mine, near Kimberley, during the Christmas break. The modifications are expected to improve the method of feeding ore to the crushers. These changes have been tested and the crushing circuit was back in full production from Jan. 15. BLUEROCK also reported that, during the quarter to end-Nov., it produced and sold 2 110ct at an average price of $374/ct. CEO ADAM WAUGH noted that sampling of the first tonnages from the project's K5 pipe were encouraging. K5 is a previously undeveloped pipe at Kareevlei and is not included in the project's inferred resource statement. A limited bulk sample of 7 500t of kimberlite, taken from 5 m to 10 m below ground level, was processed in Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Gruyere construction nearly one-third complete - Creamer Media Reporter (GFI) 19/01/18 07:29:00

The Gruyere gold project, which GOLD ROAD and GOLD FIELDS are building in a 50:50 JV near Laverton, Western Australia, is advancing according to schedule. With early works at Gruyere having started in Dec. 2016, construction has now been in progress for more than 12 months. GOLD ROAD yesterday reported that project engineering was 72% and construction 32% complete, which puts the project on track to be brought into production by the end of Q1 2019. Costs incurred to date were in line with the budgeted overall project capital of $532m. GOLD ROAD said mining contractor DOWNER EDI MINING would begin mobilising its workforce in the Mar. 2018 quarter to start construction of the mining infrastructure. Mining activities would start in the Dec. quarter. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Fatality at Harmony Gold mine - Megan van Wyngaardt (HAR) 19/01/18 07:29:00

HARMONY GOLD yesterday announced that an employee at its Tshepong mine, in the Free State, had been killed in a mining equipment related incident on Wednesday afternoon. An investigation into the accident was currently under way. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Mali annual gold output up 5% - Reuters () 19/01/18 07:29:00

Industrial gold output in Mali rose to 49.6t in 2017, up 5% from the previous year, a senior Mines Ministry said yesterday. The figure beat the 46.9t that Africa's third-largest producer managed in 2016 and was well ahead of a forecast of 45t that the government had given halfway through 2017. Industrial mining currently makes up only half of Mali's gold output, the government estimates, with some 50t/year produced by artisinal miners. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China Dec. coal output hits 2-yr record - Reuters () 19/01/18 07:29:00

China's December coal output rose from Nov. to hit its highest level since Dec. 2015 as miners boosted output to meet increasing demand after Beijing softened winter coal burning restrictions in northern homes due to gas shortages. China produced 314.87mt in Dec., up from 299.98mt in Nov. and up 1.1% y/y, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. For FY2017, coal output rose 3.2% y/y to 3.45bn tonnes, boosted by robust demand from industrial plants as the economy performed more strongly than expected. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


FEDUSA prepares to enforce right to access to Steinhoff records - ANA (SNH) 19/01/18 07:29:00

The Federation of Unions of SA yesterday said it would, with its largest affiliate the Public Servants Association, enforce its right in terms of the Companies Act to inspect the records of STEINHOFF, which is embroiled in an accounting scandal. "The Company Act determines that any person who holds or has a beneficial interest in any securities issued by STEINHOFF has a right to inspect and copy the information contained in the records of the company, as well as any other information to the extent granted by the memorandum of incorporation", FEDUSA said. "It is important for FEDUSA and the PSA to do everything in our power to protect the pension fund investments of our members and workers in general", the union added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Koko, Eskom in secret talks over golden handshake - report - Business Report () 19/01/18 07:29:00

ESKOM is reportedly in secret talks with MATSHELA KOKO to remove him form his position at the utility. According to media reports, two separate parties are in discussions, and the main issue seems to stem around how much KOKO will receive. ESKOM has stated that it is in dire financial straits, therefore it is yet to be seen where it will get funds to provide KOKO with a golden handshake. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


HCI ups stake in Tsogo Sun above 50% - Sandile Mchunu (HCI) 19/01/18 07:29:00

HOSKEN CONSOLIDATED INVESTMENT has upped its stake in TSOGO SUN to more than 50%, thus giving it an outright majority vote in the affairs of the latter. HCI said it had increased its beneficiary interest in TSOGO SUN securities by 7.75%, taking its total shareholding to 5.18% in the company. TSOGO SUN's share price jumped on the JSE after the announcement to an eight-month high of R25.57/share, while HCI's share price shed 0.69% to close at R143.50. TSOGO SUN shares closed 0.92% higher on the day at R25.35. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SARB keeps rates unchanged - Mfuneko Toyana () 19/01/18 07:29:00

The SARB kept its benchmark repo rate unchanged at 6.75% today, saying that risks to inflation were still on the upside despite a recent strengthening of the rand. The majority of analysts polled by Reuters last week had predicted the repo rate would stay on hold, but forward markets had pencilled in the possibility of a 25 bps rate cut. "The risks to the (inflation) forecast are still assessed to be on the upside, though the degree of upside risk has subsided", SARB governor LESETJA KGANYAGO said. "Inflation is expected to reach a low point below the midpoint of the target range, but then it expected to resume an upward trajectory and measure 5.5% in the final quarter of next year", he added. KGANYAGO said the rand was expected to remain sensitive to political developments and that the lingering prospect of a future ratings downgrade would weigh on the currency. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Gigaba says Treasury cannot afford Eskom bailout - Mfuneko Toyana () 19/01/18 07:03:00

The Treasury cannot afford to bail out ESKOM but will take unspecified acting soon to tackle the company's challenges, Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA said yesterday. ESKOM has been embroiled in a governance and graft crisis and has delayed its interim results - a move that could see trading of its debt suspended on the JSE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


VW to start Rwanda car assembly in May - Clement Uwiringiyimana () 19/01/18 06:47:00

Germany's VOLKSWAGEN AG yesterday said it would start assembling three vehicle models at a new plant in Rwanda in May for local sale and use its own ride-hailing service. VW said it planned to spend $20m to start developing the assembly plant and ride-hailing service. VWSA CEO THOMAS SCHAEFER said they were trying ot wean East African drivers off second-hand imports. The company will produce three models - the Hatchback Polo, the Passat and possibly the Teramont, a large SUV. VW said it had registered a local company to run its ride-sharing service and signed up a local software firm to develop a smartphone app to hail rides. It said 500 to 1 000 jobs would be created in the first phase of the investment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Lonmin's lenders relax loan agreements again - Zandi Shabalala (LON) 19/01/18 06:47:00

LONMIN, the platinum miner being acquired by SIBANYE-STILLWATER, yesterday said its lenders had granted it a waiver of compliance with a loan agreement that required its net worth to remain at a minimum of $1.1bn. "(The) waiver will ensure that this shortfall is not regarded as an event of default during the waiver period". LONMIN's banks waived the same debt covenants which were due to be tested in Sep. he miner said it would publish FY2017 results on Jan. 22, along with its Q1 production report. The announcement was delayed in Nov. pending the completion of a business review. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Steinhoff board member resigns to focus on STAR - Nqobile Dludla (SNH) 19/01/18 06:47:00

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL yesterday announced the resignation of JAYENDRA NAIDOO as a member of its supervisory board to focus his efforts on the board of its unit, STEINHOFF AFRICA RETAIL LIMITED, which he chairs. STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL said NAIDOO's post would be filled by a new independent director, to be appointed in due course. "The supervisory board continues to keep the governance of the group under review and a number of candidates are in the process of being approached to strengthen the independence of the supervisory board", the company said. STAR last month reported a 25% rise in FY operating profit, thanks mainly to cost cuts and a strong showing at discount clothing chains. "STAR will continue to be a key part of the STEINHOFF group and it is important to have a focused board and management team in place to maximise the potential of the business", STEINHOFF's acting chair, HEATHER SONN, said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


President says Ghana's economy back on track - Kwasi Kpodo () 19/01/18 06:47:00

Ghana's economy is rebounding and the country is poised to wean itself off bailouts through sustained fiscal discipline and a battle against corruption, President NANA AKUFO-ADDO said this week. The president said his government spent the past year stabilising the economy, including clearing huge debts while rolling out infrastructure such as schools and roads. Ghana is in the last year of a $918m credit deal signed in 2015 with the IMF to reduce the deficit, public debt and inflation. "The important aspect of the cornerstone of our government going forward is to remain committed to fiscal discipline so that never again will we go back to the IMF or any bailout of the sort", AKUFO-ADDO said. GDP growth in Ghana rebounded to 9.3% in Q3 2017 from 3.5% y/y. AKUFO-ADDO said the government saved some $7bn after reviewing power sector deals signed by his predecessor covering a 13-year contract. Eleven of the contracts had been terminated. It also saved at least $200m via value-for-money procurement reviews. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Steinhoff secures €60m of required 200m liquidity - Georgina Prodhan (SNH) 19/01/18 06:47:00

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL has secured €60m of the €200m it is seeking to close a liquidity gap and will ask its creditors to waive some payments that are coming due, it said yesterday. "The company is seeking the necessary approvals and consent for further installments of the balance. It is expected that any funds so received will be available to meet business critical payments during the next phase of the group's stabilisation plan", STEINHOFF said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


De Beers JV to lay off at least 130 in Namibia - union - Nyasha Nyaugnwa (AGL) 19/01/18 06:47:00

NAMDEB, a JV between the Namibian government and DE BEERS, is expected to retrench at least 130 of its 1 700-strong workforce, a union official said on Wednesday. SHAVUKA MBIDHI of the Mineworkers Union of Namibia's Oranjemund branch said the company had written to staff ordering voluntary redundancies and at least 130 workers were expected to accept. A NAMDEB spokesperson said the company was taking steps to ensure the sustainability of its mines. "The business optimisation process includes options for all employees to apply for early retirement and voluntary separation", spokesperson PAULINE THOMAS said. She declined to comment on the number of staff that could leave. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


ExxonMobil signs deal for deepwater oil exploration off Ghana - Kwasi Kpodo () 19/01/18 06:47:00

EXXONMOBIL CORP signed a deal with Ghana yesterday to explore for oil in the Deepwater Cape Three Point offshore oilfield. The signing followed direct negotiations between the country and EXXON without an open competitive tender due to the nature of the field, where the depth ranges from 2 000 to 4 000 metres, Ghanaian officials said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Congo Republic plans to join OPEC - Christian Elion () 19/01/18 06:47:00

Congo Republic plans to join the OPEC oil cartel, the government said as it presses ahead with projects that could help it become the third-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa. Congo's oil sector was badly hurt by the global dip in prices and a slowdown in its own output since 204, but it has been rejuvenated by new projects scheduled to boost output by a quarter fo 350 000 bpd this year. If successful, the country will be the no. 3 oil producer in SSA, analysts say. However, sticking to strict OPEC quotas could prove tough for a central African country that is in major financial trouble and which depends almost exclusively on oil for its forex and government revenues. The economy has been badly hit by low oil prices and poor fiscal management, causing total government revenue to fall by nearly a third since 2015 and public or publicly-guaranteed debt to rise to around 110% of GDP. At end-Dec., the government said it planned to cut spending next year by 8.6% to 1.38tn CFA francs, following a steep 45% cut to the 2017 budget this month, as it seeks to negotiate an IMF bailout. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 19/01/2018 () 19/01/18 06:47:00

At 06h46 on 19 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.13 ZAR/EUR 14.84 ZAR/GBP 16.85 Gold 1326.20 Platinum 1000.00 Brent Crude Oil 69.42 All Share 60922.55


US industrial output recovers in Dec. - Jessica Dye () 18/01/18 10:55:00

After contracting in November, US industrial output bounced back in Dec. to cap a strong 2017, with relatively small but steady gains in manufacturing balanced against stronger advances for mining and utilities. Industrial output rose 0.9% in Dec., data from the Federal Reserve showed yesterday. That more than doubled the 0.4% gain predicted by analysts surveyed by Reuters. It is a strong rebound from Nov., the reading for which was revised down from the initial 0.2% gain to a 0.1% contraction. Manufacturing output crept up just 0.1% m/m, while mining output rose 1.6% and utilities output jumped 5.6% m/m. Overall, in Q4 2017, US industrial production continued to move higher - an 8.2% annual rate - after shaking off the after-effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Q3. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Goldman Sachs posts loss on tax charge, falling bond-trading revenue - Ben McLannahan () 18/01/18 10:55:00

A $4.4bn charge for the effects of the new tax bill and a collapse in revenues from bond trading have taken big bites out of GOLDMAN SACHS' profits, forcing the bank to report its first quarterly loss since 2011. Excluding a $4.4bn tax hit, EPS for the period came to $5.68, up 12% y/y and better than analysts' forecasts of $4.90. Revenue came in at $7.83bn for the quarter, ahead of forecasts of $7.63bn. GOLDMAN's performance in fixed-income trading - net revenues down 50% to $1bn - raised some eyebrows among traders. The bank has been accused of not doing enough to adjust to big structural shifts in bond trading, where market-makers have been squeezed by tougher regulation, a move to electronic platforms and stop-start activity among clients. For the whole of 2017, FICC made $5.3bn of revenues. Investment banking did better, with a 9% rise in revenues from M&A during Q4 and big jumps in revenues from equity and debt underwriting, up 117% and 61% respectively. The investment management business seemed solid, too, with fees up 12% to $1.4bn. For the FY, return on equity for the year came to 4.9%, marking the third successive year of single-digit returns. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


BofA posts $2.4bn profit despite tax charge - Alistair Anderson () 18/01/18 10:55:00

BANK OF AMERICA has provided further evidence it is recovering from its protracted post-crisis malaise as it brushed aside a $2.9bn tax-related charge and a $292m loss suspected to be from the STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL scandal to generate its highest annual profit since 2006. The bank yesterday posted revenue improvements at consumer banking, wealth management and its global banking business. Global markets, hit by a 13% drop in fixed income, currencies and commodities revenues, was the only division to sustain a decline in Q4. Net interest income rose $1.2bn, or 11% y/y. The new US tax law triggered a $1.9bn write-down at BOFA, while changes to the taxation of energy investments resulted in a further $900m hit. The charges pushed net income for Q4 down from $4.5bn y/y to $2.4bn. For the year as a whole, however, net income rose from $17.8bn to $18.2bn at end-Dec. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Rio Tinto, former execs seek dismissal of Mozambique fraud charges - Neil Hume () 18/01/18 10:55:00

RIO TINTO and two former executives are seeking to have fraud charges brought by US regulators dropped, arguing that they did not cover up a bungled coal deal in Mozambique while the company raised billions of dollars in the bond market. In letters filed with the US District Court in Manhattan, lawyers acting for the company, former CEO TOM ALBANESE and forner FD GUY ELLIOTT said they would seek to have the complaint dismissed. The Securities and Exchange Commission claim RIO and the former executives knew the assets of RIVERSDALE MINING, purchased for $3.7bn in 2011, were worthless but hid the facts to "save their own careers". In its letter, RIO's lawyers aid the company did not take an earlier impairment charge because "rigorous feasibility studies were not yet complete" and "certain transportation options had not been adequately addressed". "There are no allegations that anyone at RIO TINTO believe an earlier impairment was required", the letter said. ALBANESE's lawyers said their client made no false statements and "reasonably' relied on specialists to make difficult "valuation and impairment decisions". ELLIOTT's lawyers said the allegations were "utterly false" and the SEC had attempted to "conjure a fraud out of a mere unsuccessful business venture". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Rio Tinto halts shipments from Mongolia mine after tax, border disputes - Lucy Hornby () 18/01/18 10:55:00

RIO TINTO has halted shipments of copper concentrate from its Oyu Tolgoi mine following a week-long dispute at the border crossing to China and a new tax bill from the Mongolian government. A dispute between Chinese trucking companies and Mongolian officials over health insurance for drivers has halted transport at the Gants Mod crossing for over a week. Oyu Tolgoi is once again under political pressure, with Mongolian politicians claiming the country has seen too little benefit from its massive expenditure. The high costs of financing the mine mean the government will not see its share of profits for several years, although Ulan Bator does receive tax revenues. Also this week, RIO subsidiary TURQUOISE HILL, which holds the shares in Oyu Tolgoi, revealed a new bill for $155bn in back taxes, following a Mongolian audit of 2013-2015 tax payments by the mine. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China commercial banks' net forex sales top $111bn in 2017 - Hudson Lockett () 18/01/18 10:55:00

China's commercial banks saw net forex sales of more than $111bn in 2017. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange today said banks purchased a net $6bn of forex in Dec. after net sales of $7.5bn in Nov. Last month's purchases brought net forex sales in 2017 to Rmb764.8bn, worth $111.6bn by the regulator's reckoning. Dollar purchases exceeded those of renminbi by Rmb764.8bn for the year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Bank of Korea holds key interest rate at 1.5% - Hudson Lockett () 18/01/18 10:55:00

South Korea's central bank left its key interest rate unchanged today after raising it for the first time in six years at its last meeting. The Bank of Korea kept the benchmark seven-day repo rate at 1.5%, in line with a median forecast from economists polled by Reuters. The won, which strengthened 13% against the dollar in 2017, was 0.3% weaker against the greenback following today's rates decision. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Verizon sees boost to quarterly earnings from tax reform - Mamta Badkar () 18/01/18 10:55:00

VERIZON yesterday said the US tax overhaul will drive a one-time reduction in net deferred income tax liabilities of around $16.8bn, and boost its Q4 earnings. The company said the reduction as result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, will increase earnings for q4 and the FY but not have an impact on the company's cash flows. For the FY to end-Dec., the impact of the tax reform to VERIZON's EPS is estimated to be around $4.10. It also estimates that another accounting change implemented at the start of the year could increase its pre-tax retained earnings not paid out as dividends - by between $4bn to $4.6bn in 2018. VERIZON said it does not at present expect any material impacts from either the repatriation tax or the implementation of the territorial tax system. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


BHP considering options for US shale oil unit - Neil Hume (BIL) 18/01/18 10:55:00

BHP is considering a range of options for its US shale oil unit including a trade sale, demerger and stock market flotation. In a quarterly trading update, the company said it was working on a number of options for the business, which it has declared non-core. "We are preparing all appropriate documentation ahead of data rooms being opened to potential trade sale buyers by the end of the March 2018 quarter. In parallel, we continue to explore a potential exit via demerger or Initial Public Offering", it said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Updated market indicators for 18/01/2018 () 18/01/18 10:55:00

At 10h55 on 18 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.22 ZAR/EUR 14.93 ZAR/GBP 16.92 Gold 1328.50 Platinum 998.50 Brent Crude Oil 69.42 All Share 61096.56


Barclays to cut 100 senior investment bank staff - Laura Noonan () 18/01/18 09:38:00

BARCLAYS is cutting up to 100 senior staff at its investment bank globally, despite posting strong growth in the UK and stressing its continued commitment to the division. A source confirmed the cuts, adding that the redundancies were "normal pruning" and did not reflect any change in the lender's strategy. The source said BARCLAYS would continue to "hire selectively" for its investment bank, which former JPMORGAN executive TIM THROSBY was hired to run last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Carrefour lowers 2017 profit outlook further - Harriet Agnew () 18/01/18 09:38:00

CARREFOUR of France lowered its operating profit forecast for 2017 for the second time in six months, as new CEO ALEXANDRE BOMPARD gears up to outline a transformation plan for the retailer next week. The company yesterday said it now expects 2017 recurring operating profit to come in around €2bn, down around 15% y/y at current exchange rates. This is steeper than the 12% drop CARREFOUR had forecast in Aug. The company reported group sales of €23.2bn in the final quarter of 2017, just below the €23.3bn forecast by analysts. Within this, like-for-like sales rose 1.9% y/y, a slight improvement on 0.5% y/y growth reported for the gauge in the third quarter. In France, like-for-like sales grew 1.5% in Q4 to €10.7bn, compared with €9.9bn reported in the prior quarter. Overall in 2017, CARREFOUR's sales momentum slowed - like-for-like sales grew 1.6% in the FY, versus 3% growth in 2016. BOMPARD will present the transformation plan next Tuesday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Mitsubishi considers raising stake in Anglo's Quellaveco copper project - Neil Hume (AGL) 18/01/18 09:38:00

MITSUBISHI has appointed advisers as the Japanese conglomerate considers adding to its stake in ANGLO AMERICAN's Quellaveco copper project in southern Peru. Quellaveco is one of the world's largest untapped copper orebodies and ANGLO's board will decide later this year whether to give the green light to a $5.5bn development plan. However, it won't take a final investment decision until it has de-risked the project by reducing its 82% stake. As an existing partner, MITSUBISHI has an option to increase its holding in Quellaveco from 18% to 30% and is said to be working with BARCLAYS to assess its options. Quellaveco would cost around $5.5bn to develop, according to consultants WOOD MACKENZIE, and will be capable of producing more than 200 000t/year of copper concentrate over its life. The money would be spent on developing an open pit and a mill to produce the concentrate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


BOS set to stir ice tea market even further - Fin24 (RFG) 18/01/18 09:38:00

BOS BRANDS, makers of a range of rooibos ice teas, is set for further growth after signing a sale and distribution deal with RHODES FOOD GROUP. The agreement follows last year's partnership between the two companies which saw RFG taking over packaging of part of BOS's portfolio. According to BOS BRANDS SA's MD WILL BATTERSBY, the sales and distribution agreement with RHODES will further enhance synergies across the two companies, creating a significant growth opportunity for both. The agreement sees RHODES managing all sales and distribution of the BOS range of products in Sub-Saharan Africa from this year. "Together with RFG, BOS will now be able to tap into over 10 000 outlets - double of what our current reach allows", BATTERSBY noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Lewis barred from retrenching in new merger - Tribunal - Lameez Omarjee (LEW) 18/01/18 09:38:00

The merger between LEWIS and UNITED FURNITURE OUTLETS has been granted by the Competition Tribunal, on condition that there are no merger-related retrenchments for the next two years. The R320m merger, announced by LEWIS in Oct. 2017, will see the company acquire UFO in a bid to diversify its offering. The merger comes into effect from Feb. 1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


BofA's $292m charge tied to Steinhoff - Laura J Keller, Bloomberg (SNH) 18/01/18 09:38:00

BANK OF AMERICA yesterday joined the roster of big US lenders suffering burns on their dealings linked to STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL. Q4 earnings contracted by $292m, BOFA said. The costs were incurred in two division - global markets and global banking. BOFA got stung providing a margin loan that used STEINHOFF's stock as collateral, according to a source. Shares of the embattled retailer lost around 90% of their value in Dec. after it announced it had uncovered accounting irregularities. Banks and other creditors had around $22bn of exposure to STEINHOFF at end-Mar. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SA trade expectations improve - Anine Kilian () 18/01/18 09:38:00

Amid an improving business mood, SACCI's latest Trade Conditions Survey for Dec. saw the Trade Expectations Index for the next six months retaining a level well into positive territory, at 60 index points - one point higher than in Nov. Trade conditions in Dec. were restrained owing to seasonal factors, SACCI said yesterday. The seasonally adjusted Trade Activity Index rose from 41 in Nov. to 48 in Dec. Compared with Dec. 2016, the TAI was three index points lower, while the TEI was two points higher. Respondents mentioned skills shortages, mentoring, fuel price hikes, access to and cost of funding, uncertainty of jobs, regulatory uncertainty in some sectors and political instability as constraining factors for trade. SACCI noted that the upcoming national budget next month would set the scene for trade conditions going forward, coupled with rising expectations which, in turn, moderates the business mood. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


CTRG reaches final close with lenders - Creamer Media Reporter (SOL) 18/01/18 09:38:00

CENTRAL TERMICA DE RESSANO GARCIA, a JV between SASOL ENERGY and ELECTRICIDADE DE MOCAMBIQUE has reached final close on a $189m project finance transaction with its lenders. CTRG, in which EDM holds a 51% stake and SASOL ENERGY the balance, operates a 175MW gas-fired independent power producer plant, comprising 18 Wartsila gas engines. SASOL provided the bridge funding to the project up to the successful conclusion of the project finance. The project finance, arranged by ABSA BANK, comprises A and B loans from the INTERNATIONAL FINANCE CORPORATION, a direct loan from SOCIETE DE PROMOTION ET DE PARTICIPATION POUR LA COOPERATION ECONOMIQUE and a political risk covered loan from ABSA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Alcoa's quarterly loss widens on smelter closures - Peter Wells () 18/01/18 09:37:00

ALCOA reported a net loss in Q4, largely due to the closure and sale of some of its smelting assets. The aluminium producer booked a net loss of $196m in the quarter to end-Dec., wider than a loss of $125m q/q. This was a result of $391m of special charges related to the closure of the company's Rockdale and Portovesme operations. For the calendar year, ALCOA reported a net profit of $217m. Adjusted net income of $563m fell just 3.2% short of the mean estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters. Revenue rose 25.1% y/y and was up 7% q/q to $3.17bn. For the FY, revenue was up 25% y/y to $11.7bn, thanks to higher alumina and aluminium prices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Apple outlines $30bn US investment, job creation plan - Peter Wells () 18/01/18 09:37:00

APPLE has ramped up its US investment and employment plans, announcing more than $30bn of capital spending and the creation of 20 000 new jobs over the next five years. The move follows a raft of companies that have pledged over the past 13 months to boost investment in the US in the wake of DONALD TRUMP's presidential victory. APPLE said it planned to invest $30bn in capex in the US over the next five years, with a third of that amount to be spent on data centres across the country. The company said it expected the investment would boost its domestic workforce by 20 000 from 84 000 at present. In all, APPLE estimated its "direct contribution" to the US economy over the next five years would be more than $350bn. Owing to recent changes to US tax law, APPLE said it anticipated a tax repatriation payment of around $38bn on its offshore earnings. It has already set aside around $36.4bn of charges over recent years to reflect its potential tax bill. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Universal beats earnings guidance - Natasha Odendaal () 18/01/18 08:21:00

UNIVERSAL COAL has achieved record earnings and production for the HY to end-Dec. The company surpassed its group EBITDA by 33%, reaching A$30m during the period under review, from the previous guidance of A$22.5m. Group attributable EBITDA for the interim period is A$20.4m - 46% above the A$14m guidance. The 2018 FY guidance for EBITDA has now been upgraded to A$55m, and A$37.9m attributable. The company's Kangala operation exceeded projected sales tonnes by around 200 000t for the HY period, while the New Clydesdale Colliery achieved 98% of projected sales tonnes for the period. UNIVERSAL achieved an overall total sales tonnage of 2.34mt, of which 1.45mt are attributable, for the HY period. It expected that a total of 4.6mt of saleable product will be delivered to market in 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Firestone revises Liqhobong mine plan to yield better results - Megan van Wyngaardt () 18/01/18 08:21:00

FIRESTONE DIAMONDS, which sold 156 942ct of diamonds recovered at its Liqhobong mine, in Lesotho, in the quarter to end-Dec., has adopted a revised mine plan to increase cash flow in the short term, while resolving issues that affect the value of recovered diamonds. The diamonds were sold at an average of $80/ct in the Dec. quarter, compared with $69/ct in the prior quarter. During the period, 80 special diamonds - larger than 10.8ct - were recovered, compared to 45 in the first quarter. While this was pleasing, FIRESTONE noted that, overall, the average quality remained somewhat below expectation. CEO STUART BROWN said the mine's revised mine plan's objective is to deliver the best returns in the medium term at low risk, while, at the same time, offering optionality of taking advantage of the longer life-of-mine should the average diamond values increase or should there be an improvement in market conditions. The revised plan is over a shorter nine-year period and involves the stripping of 76m fewer waste tonnes. A far more representative area of the pit would be mined over the next 18 month, which could improve the likelihood of recovering higher-quality tones and, in turn, provide a truer representation of diamond quality and pricing than has been possible from production to date. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Lucapa's Angola mine delivers second 100ct diamond for 2018 - Megan van Wyngaardt () 18/01/18 08:21:00

LUCAPA DIAMOND COMPANY is starting the year off on a high note, yesterday announcing it had recovered another 100ct plus stone at its Lulo mine in Angola. The 116ct low-quality diamond is the second 100ct+ stone recovered in the first three weeks of 2018, and the 10th such diamond unearthed at the mine. LUCAPA has also unearthed a 43ct yellow gem - the largest coloured gem-quality diamond recovered to date from Lulo, surpassing the 39ct pin recovered in Sep. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Acacia completes sale of royalty over Burkina Faso mine - Megan van Wyngaardt () 18/01/18 08:21:00

ACACIA MINING has completed the sale of an existing 2% net smelter royalty over the Hounde mine, in Burkina Faso, for $45m. The company in Dec. said it was sellign the royalty to Canada's SANDSTORM GOLD after its three producing gold mines in Tanzania were hit by changes in mining laws. The royalty covers the Kari North and Kari South tenements, representing around 500 km² of the Hounde property package. SANDSTORM believes the acquisition will provide it with a number of upsides, including immediate cash flow, as commercial production was announced on Oct. 31 2017. The Hounde mine is expected to produce 235 000oz/y of gold, on average, over the first four years of operations. The mine has an initial 10-year mine life based on the current mineral reserves. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


BHP Q2 iron ore output up 3% - Reuters (BIL) 18/01/18 08:21:00

BHP today reported a 3% rise in Q2 iron ore output y/y and said it expects to meet its FY target as prices for the commodity outperform forecasts. BHP's iron ore output rose to 72mt for the quarter to end-Dec., versus 70mt y/y. The company maintained internal guidance that it would mine 275mt-280mt of ore in the FY to end-Jun. In other commodities, BHP's copper production rose 20% to 429 000t in the quarter, helped by a rise in production from the Escondida mine in Chile. Petroleum output shed 6% to 48m barrels. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Vale could be 'natural' owner for Samarco, in talks with BHP - Reuters (BIL) 18/01/18 08:21:00

VALE is in talks with BHP on options for their SAMARCO JV, and it may be easier for the former to resolve that venture's problems as sole owner, a director of the Brazilian entity said yesterday. "Maybe VALE would be a natural owner of SAMARCO, maybe it could make SAMARCO operate again", ANDRE FIGUEIREDO, VALE's investor relations director, said during a meeting with analysts and investors. Earlier this month Reuters reported that talks about the JV were under way, including the option of VALE buying out its partner, but that a price had not yet been established. FIGUEIREDO said that given current iron ore prices, the company could reach its net debt goal of $10bn before the year end. VALE is prioritising cutting debt and increasing returns for shareholders before any new investments, he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


South32 boasts record manganese, aluminium production in Dec. quarter - Megan van Wyngaardt (S32) 18/01/18 08:21:00

SOUTH32 yesterday reported that, while it had achieved its guidance for all its operations for the quarter to end-Dec., its South African manganese operations, in particular, exceeded expectations due to robust market demand. Saleable ore output rose by 22% to 633 000t. Given the record start to the year, SOUTH32 increased its FY output guidance by 8% to 2.04m wet tonnes, with this projection remaining subject to continued strong market demand. The increase in ore inventory in the Dec. 2017 quarter was also expected to unwind in the HY to end-Jun. Manganese alloy saleable production fell by 3% to 36 000t in the HY to end-Dec. as METALLOYS continued to operate only one of its four furnaces. CEO GRAHAM KERR noted that the company also achieved record ore production at its Australian managese operations in the HY to end-Dec., as the performance of its high-grade circuit improved and the partial pressure carbon dioxide circuit continued to operate at capacity. Saleable ore output from the operations rose to 893 000t and 1.7m wet tonnes, respectively, owing to lower-than-expected rainfall in the Dec. quarter. Mozal Aluminium's saleable production rose by 1% to a record 137 000t in the HY to end-Dec. as the smelter continued to operate at maximum capacity. Aluminium sales also rose by 10%, and the FY production guidance remains unchanged at 269 000t. SA Aluminium's saleable production rose by 1% to 358 000t. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Tribunal approves sale of Maseve mine to RBPlat - Anine Kilian (RBP) 18/01/18 08:21:00

The Competition Tribunal has approved the sale of PLATINUM GROUP METALS' MASEVE INVESTMENT to ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUM. The first step of the $74m deal is under way and will see RBPLAT pay an initial $58m in cash to acquire the concentrator plant and certain sufrace assets of the Maseve mine. RBPLAT paid a $3m deposit in escrow in Oct. The second step to acquire 100% of the issued equity in Maseve by way of a scheme of arrangement for $4m in cash and about $12m in RBPLAT ordinary shares will be subject to certain requirements, including the approval of the Department of Mineral Resources and the approval of Maseve's 17.1% minority shareholder. Proceeds of the Maseve sale will be used to pay down a portion of PTM's debt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Illovo appoints new SA MD - Anine Kilian () 18/01/18 08:20:00

ILLOVO SUGAR SA has appointed MAMONGAE MAHLARE as its new MD with effect from Mar. 1. MAHLARE will succeed DAVE HOWELLS, who stepped down to focus on his role as corporate and external affairs executive within the broader ILLOVO SA GROUP. MAHLARE previously held commercial, operational and engineering roles at SABMILLER, TANZANIA BREWERIES, UNILEVER and COCA-COLA BEVERAGES SA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Output at Escondida copper mine falls in 2017 - Reuters (BIL) 18/01/18 08:20:00

Output at BHP's Escondida mine in Chile fell 7.8% in 2017 compared to the prior year due to a prolonged strike, the company said yesterday. The decline to 903 000t came despite the start of operations at a new wing. BHP said output in H2 grew 29% to 583 000t compared with the same period in 2016, largely due to the opening of the concentrator on Sep. 10 2017. The mine produced just 320 000t of the metal in the first six months due to a strike that lasted more than 40 days. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 18/01/2018 () 18/01/18 07:17:00

At 07h16 on 18 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.32 ZAR/EUR 15.01 ZAR/GBP 17.01 Gold 1325.72 Platinum 993.50 Brent Crude Oil 69.42 All Share 60924.46


Tencent targets hackers and cheaters of top-selling game PUBG - Bloomberg (NPN) 18/01/18 07:16:00

TENCENT HOLDINGS is going after the cheaters and hackers who infest PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds as it prepares to bring the game to China. Ahead of its official debut this year, the company has enlisted Chinese police to root out the underground rings that make and sell cheat software. It has helped law enforcement agents uncover at least 30 cases and arrest 120 people suspected of designing programmes that confer unfair advantages from X-ray vision to auto-targeting. Those convicted in the past have done jail time. TENCENT and game developer BLUEHOLE have a lot riding on cleaning things up for China, which accounted for more than half of the game's 27m users. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Kulula.com to allow cashless payments on flights - Business Report (COM) 18/01/18 07:16:00

Budget airline KULULA.COM plans to make in-flight cashless payments available on its planes. At present, a cashless system is being tested on its flights, which will remove the need for passengers to pay for items using physical cash. KULULA believes a move to card payments will be in the best interest of customers. KULULA brand communications manager LUANE LAVERY said they don't have a specific time frame for the implementation and launch of the cashless system. "This exciting product is still in the development and testing phase, and we can confirm that both credit and debit cards will be accepted as payment", LAVERY said. The device to be used to accept the card payments will not be a traditional point-of-sale device, said to be a first in SA. KULULA declined to comment on the connectivity solutions that will be used to process the card payments in-flight. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SA regulator pursues criminal complaints against SAP, KPMG, McKinsey - Ed Stoddard () 18/01/18 07:16:00

SA's companies registry office is pursuing criminal complaints against SAP, KPMG and MCKINSEY on suspicion that business they conducted with the GUPTAS broke the companies act, it said yesterday. The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission submitted the complaints to the SAPS in Nov. and Dec. 2017 and the matter is ongoing. SAP, KPMG and MCKINSEY have all been accused of unduly influencing government contracts in collusion with companies controlled by the GUPTAS, who have been accused of using political connections to win work with the state. The GUPTAS deny wrongdoing and say they are victims of a politically-motivated witch hunt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


South African forward markets bet on cbank rate cut - Mfuneko Toyana () 18/01/18 07:16:00

The SARB is most likely to cut interest rates by 25 bps today, forward markets showed yesterday, as the rand continues to rally and political tensions ease. Forward markets were pricing-in a 56% chance of a 25 bps cut to benchmark rates, with the probability of a cut by the same margin in Mar. at more than 90%. The one month contracts were calculating a 30% chance of a 50 bps cut and about 20% protability of a reduction larger than that. Since the last MPC meeting in Nov., the rand has gained around 16% against the dollar to its strongest in nearly three years, with most of those gains after CYRIL RAMAPHOSA was elected ANC president in Dec. Economic data has also signalled a stronger-than-expected rebound, with the trade balance recording consecutive surpluses and mining, manufacturing and retail sectors posting strong growth. "Upside risks which the SARB had been concerned about in November have now receded. Interest rate hikes do not feature for at for at least the next two years", NEDBANK analyst REEZWANA SUMAD said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Zim finmin says bond notes to stay for now - MacDonald Dzirutwe () 18/01/18 07:16:00

Zimbabwe will not stop using bond notes until the economy fully recovers, Finance Minister PATRICK CHINAMASA said yesterday. The country in Nov. 2016 started using bond notes in a bid to ease shortages of US dollars. Since EMMERSON MNANGAGWA became president in Nov. 2017, there has been speculation that bond notes would be scrapped. "Bond notes will stay until we have our own local currency", CHINAMASA said. The conditions needed to bring back a local currency include foreign currency reserves of more than three months, a lower budget deficit and higher exports and industrial production, he added. The bond notes are pegged at par with the US dollar but trade at a discount on the black market. Yesterday, $1 was equivalent to $1.25 in bond notes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Angola to issue $2bn eurobond in 2018 to ease debt burden - Stephen Eisenhammer () 18/01/18 07:16:00

Angola plans to issue a eurobond and renegotiate bilateral debt in 2018 as part of a series of measures aimed at restructuring the economy and controlling mounting debt payments, a government macroeconomic plan showed. President JOAO LOURENCO took power in Sep. and is seeking to win credibility with international investors and shed Angola's image as an opaque oil economy with rampant corruption. The government earlier put the eurobond's size at $2bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SA's retail sales rise 8.2% y/y in Nov. - Mfuneko Toyana () 18/01/18 07:16:00

South African retail sales rose by 8.2% y/y in Nov., beating expectations by far, after increasing by a revised 3.5% in Oct., data from Statistics SA showed yesterday. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a 3.1% y/y rise in retail sales in Nov. On a m/m basis, sales were up 4% and rose 5.9% in the three months to Nov. compared with the same period last year, Stats SA said. The agency noted that the y/y figure was the largest jump since Jun. 2012. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


KPMG SA appoints new chair - Ed Stoddard () 18/01/18 07:16:00

The South African unit of KPMG yesterday announced it had appointed veteran public servant and former chair of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, WISEMAN NKUHLU, as its new chairperson. KPMG sacked its South African leadership team in Sep. after it found work done for companies owned by the GUPTAS "fell considerably short" of its standards. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nigeria expects $700m from international sources - DMO - Chijioke Ohuocha () 18/01/18 07:16:00

Nigeria expects to raise $700m from international sources as part of $3.5bn in borrowing earmarked in the 2017 spending plan, the Debt Management Office said yesterday. The DMO gave no details of which sources the government would tap but DG PATIENCE ONIHA in Oct. said the country is talking to the World Bank regarding concessionary loans. The government raised $2.8bn in the international market last year, selling $2.5bn in eurobonds in Nov. and a further $300m via Diaspora bonds earlier. The DMO said the country raised 1.254tn naira from the domestic debt market last year and released around the same amount for capital projects over six months due to delays in implementing the budget. The DMO expects more capital release as the 2017 budget is still being implemented. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


GE CEO considers further break-up of conglomerate - Ed Crooks () 17/01/18 10:32:00

GENERAL ELECTRIC is looking at a further break-up, CEO JOHN FLANNERY said yesterday, extending its retreat from the conglomerate model it championed in the JACK WELCH era. FLANNERY said the group was examining options for its power equipment, aviation and healthcare divisions that "could result in many, many different permutations, including separately traded assets really in any one of our units". The partial or total spin-offs under consideration would represent the latest step in dismantling the conglomerate. FLANNERY was speaking as GE pledged to pay $15bn over the next seven years to cover continuing liabilities from insurance businesses that it sold more than a decade ago, shocking investors with the scale of the new charges. GE reports Q4 earnings next week, and the payments will mean taking a charge of $9.5bn before tax and $6.2bn after tax. FLANNERY described the insurance charge as "deeply disappointing" at a time when "we are moving forward as a company". Shares closed down 2.9% at $18.21 in New York on Tuesday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Uniqlo to open first store in Sweden - Kana Inagaki () 17/01/18 10:32:00

Following its huge success in Asia, FAST RETAILING is bringing its UNIQLO store to the home market of key rival H&M. The Japanese group today said it would launch a new store in Stockholm, marking its first entry into the Nordic region. The launch comes as FAST RETAILING has seen its sales grow rapidly outside of Japan, driven by robust demand in other parts of Asia. While it has struggled in the US, the company has steadily been building its presence in European markets in London, Paris and Berlin. It also entered the Spanish market in 2017. Shares in FAST RETAILING have risen nearly 8% after the company last week posted a 10% y/y jump in quarterly revenue, driven by the success of its international markets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Burberry UK sales lower as tourists head overseas for finery - Mark Vandevelde () 17/01/18 10:32:00

BURBERRY said sales in its British heartland declined by "a high single digit percentage" in the last quarter of 2017, as big-spending tourists opted to travel outside the UK in search of finery. But there was better news elsewhere, as the company posted a 2% rise in global same-store sales, down only slightly from a 3% rise in the same period last year. CEO MARCO GOBBETTI said he was sticking to his plan, announced in Nov., to plough an additional £0m a year into glitzier stores and better technology, and to move further upmarket. BURBERRY said the "expected" UK reversal contrasted with a standout performance in 2017, when an influx of tourists intoxicated by the cheap pound contributed to a 40% rise in British sales. The group credited strong growth in mainland China for a mid-single digit growth in Asia-Pacific sales. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Pearson profits at top end of guidance, US textbook market still tricky - Cat Rutter Pooley () 17/01/18 10:32:00

PEARSON said FY profits will come in at the top end of guidance as its restructuring programme starts to pay off, but warned there was unlikely to be a recovery in the US textbooks business in the year ahead. At Dec. 2016 exchange rates, adjusted operating profit for 2017 would be between £600m and £605m, the company said - at the upper end of guidance issued in Oct. At average effective exchange rates through 2017, that equated to adjusted operating profit of around £570m to £575m and adjusted EPS of 53.5p-54.5p, above the previous guidance of 49p-52p/share after historical tax issues were resolved in the company's favour. PEARSON said while it expected underlying profits to grow in 2018, adjusted EPS and operating profit would be lower than 2017, at 49p-53p and £520m-£560m respectively. Total underlying revenues for 2017 fell 2% overall, led by a 4% decline in its North American business. Sales in US higher education were down 3% on an underlying basis, PEARSON said, "due to the continuation of trends seen in the first nine-months combined with cautious buying behaviour" in the final quarter of the year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


VW sees 4% sales increase in 2017 - Patrick McGee () 17/01/18 10:32:00

VOLKSWAGEN increased deliveries to another record in 2017, indicating that the reputational damage from the diesel emissions scandal exposed in late 2015 has had little impact on car sales. The company said 2017 sales rose 4.3% to 10.74m units last year. In Dec. alone, sales rose by 8.5% to almost a million units. CEO MATTHIAS MULLER said the group achieved its target while juggling the diesel scandal and setting out plans to release 50 pure-electric cars by 2025. All reported regions except Germany saw an increase in deliveries. In China, sales rose 5.1% to 4.18m units. In the US, sales rose 5.8% to 625 100 units. The fastest-growing area was Latin America, up 23.7% to 521 600 cars. The VW passenger car brand sold a record 6.23m cars, up 4.2% from 2016. AUDI sales rose only 0.6% to 1.87m cars, in part reflecting a sales decline in China early in the year after the luxury brand had a dispute with its dealers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Japan machine orders' surprise rise points to investment growth - Hudson Lockett () 17/01/18 10:32:00

Growth in machinery orders rose unexpectedly last month in Japan, suggesting a continued rise in investment spending. Core machine orders rose 5.7% m/m in Nov., accelerating from October's 5% climb and coming in far above a median forecast from economists polled by Reuters predicting a 1.4% drop. Manufacturing orders did dip by 0.2% m/m, but this was more than made up for by a 9.8% rise in non-manufacturing orders. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ford warns of 2018 profit fall - Patti Waldmeir () 17/01/18 10:32:00

FORD predicted that its profits will fall in the current year as US car sales decline. The automaker said it expects FY2018 adjusted EPS to fall to $1.45-$1.70 as it announced preliminary adjusted EPS of $1.78 for FY2017. Referring to its new forecast of lower 2018 profits, the company said "this guidance reflects higher commodity costs and further adverse exchange, offset in varying degrees by actions the company is taking to mitigate their effect". FORD had previously forecast that profit would recover in 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Qualcomm makes case to investors amid Broadcom hostile bid - Pan Kwan Yuk () 17/01/18 10:32:00

QUALCOMM, the US chipmaker that is trying to fend off a hostile bid approach from rival BROADCOM, laid out its case to shareholders yesterday, saying it would be better off as a standalone company. QUALCOMM said in a letter to shareholders that BROADCOM's $70/share offer was "opportunistic" and "inferior" and carries significant regulatory uncertainty. It also urged investors to reject a separate proposal tabled by BROADCOM to replace its board with a slate of 11 new directors, saying the nominees in question are "conflicted" and have "minimal experience". "[The deal] is designed to benefit only BROADCOM stockholders - not QUALCOMM stockholders", the latter said, adding: "We have a specific game plan and are committed to delivering $6.75-$7.50 in Non-GAAP EPS by FY2019". BROADCOM responded, saying: "QUALCOMM management has repeatedly overpromised and under-delivered since the announcement of its "strategic realignment plan" in 2015, resulting in an inability to meet financial targets as well as deteriorating profitability and destruction of stockholder value". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ferrero gobbles up Nestle's candy business - Scheherazade Daneshkhu () 17/01/18 10:32:00

NESTLE yesterday announced it had sold its US confectionery business for $2.8bn to Italy's FERRERO in an auction that had included HERSHEY, the biggest chocolate manufacturer in the US and private equity group RHONE CAPITAL. The acquisition will give FERRERO a significant presence in the US confectionery market, where NESTLE trailed HERSHEY, MARS and LINDT. NESTLE CEO MARK SCHNEIDER said: "This move allows NESTLE to invest and innovate across a range of categories where we see strong future growth and hold leadership positions, such as pet care, bottled water, coffee, frozen meals and infant nutrition". The deal excludes NESTLE's Toll House baking products, which the Swiss group said was a "strategic growth brand". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Trump tells Xi of 'disappointment' with trade deficit - Jessica Dye () 17/01/18 10:32:00

US President DONALD TRUMP has expressed his "disappointment" to Chinese counterpart XI JINPING over what the former described as the growing trade imbalance between the two countries. TRUMP told XI 'that the situation is not sustainable", according to a White House readout of Monday's call, released yesterday. The US had a $347bn trade deficit in goods with China in 2016, and TRUMP previously laid the blame for the figure with his predecessors. The two also discussed the ever-increasing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The US has urged China to step up its efforts to pressure North Korea, and on Friday, the TRUMP administration said it was "pleased" with China's efforts to reduce its trade with North Korea. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Updated market indicators for 17/01/2018 () 17/01/18 10:32:00

At 10h32 on 17 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.31 ZAR/EUR 15.06 ZAR/GBP 16.97 Gold 1335.19 Platinum 998.00 Brent Crude Oil 69.28 All Share 60610.61


Trafigura inks 15-yr deal with Cheniere Energy - Emiko Terazono () 17/01/18 09:19:00

TRAFIGURA has signed a 15-year agreement with US LNG group CHENIERE ENERGY to buy 1m tonnes of the fuel per annum, in the first long-term agreement signed between an independent commodities trader and a US producer. TRAFIGURA will purchase the LNG indexed to Henry Hub, the US natural gas benchmark, from CHENIERE. HADI HALLOUCHE, head of LNG trading at TRAFIGURA, said: "We are pleased to have signed a long-term [sale and purchase agreement] with CHENIERE who is a growing and reliable producer of LNG. This deal will support our LNG infrastructure platform and provide further security of supply to our customers". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Merck climbs after Keytruda succeeds in key trial - David Crow () 17/01/18 09:19:00

MERCK yesterday said a large trial of its cancer immunotherapy combined with a type of chemotherapy showed the treatments would keep patients alive for longer than chemotherapy alone, sending shares in the group up 4.8% in early trading. The trial of the MERCK drug, Keytruda, paired with a chemotherapy made by ELI LILLY also increased the length of time patients could go without their disease getting worse. MERCK said the combination was "significantly" better than standard chemotherapy alone but did not provide granular detail, adding that it would present full results from the study at an upcoming medical meeting. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Citigroup reports first annual loss since 2009 on $22bn charge - Alistair Gray () 17/01/18 09:19:00

CITIGROUP has swung to its first annual loss since 2009 after the Republican tax reforms forced the bank to take a $22bn accounting hit. The write-down pushed the group to an $18.3bn loss for the final three months of 2017 - a bigger loss even than those it posted during the financial crisis. Shares rallied 1.7% after the bank said it was sticking to a pledge to pay out at least $60bn in capital to shareholders over three years, although as a result of the write-down the bank's loss-absorbing cushion of tier one capital will decline by around $6bn. Despite the one-time charges, CEO MICHAEL CORBAT said the tax cuts should be positive in the longer term. The huge tax charges overshadowed what was an otherwise largely unremarkable batch of quarterly results. Revenues rose 1% from a year ago to $17.3bn as expansion in global consumer banking offset a decline at the investment bank. CITI reported a drop in fixed income sales and trading revenues, which fell 18% y/y to $2.4bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


GM expects profit growth to stall in 2018 - Peter Campbell () 17/01/18 09:19:00

GENERAL MOTORS has forecast that profit growth will come to a halt this year following five years of rising profits amid surging car sales in the US and China. The group said that 2017 profits would be at the higher end of expectations, while its 2018 results would be "in line" with last year's results. For 2017, GM said adjusted EPS would be at the upper end of the $6.00-$6.50 range. Profits have risen every year since 2013. It highlighted that pricing pressure in both the US and China would act as a brake on profits in 2018. US car sales are expected to drop this year, from 17.2m last year, affecting the entire industry. In an announcement today, the group said it would take a $7bn non-cash write-down of deferred tax assets due to the reduction in the US corporate income tax at the end of 2017. Assets such as tax losses carried forward are worth less then the tax rate falls. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


StanChart launches fintech investment unit - Don Weinland () 17/01/18 09:19:00

STANDARD CHARTERED has launched a new business unit that will invest in financial technology and manage its current investments, the bank said today. The unit, dubbed SC VENTURES, will also act as an internal consultant to help promote fintech innovation within the bank. STANDARD CHARTERED holds investments in fintech companies such as RIPPLE, a payments firm that uses distributed ledger technology. The new fund will be led by ALEX MANSON, who has led the bank's global transaction banking. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Hedderwick resigns as nonexecutive director of Famous Brands - BDpro (FBR) 17/01/18 09:19:00

KEVIN HEDDERWICK has resigned as a nonexecutive director of FAMOUS BRANDS with immediate effect, the company said yesterday morning. HEDDERWICK was succeeded as FAMOUS BRANDS CEO by DARREN HELE in Feb. 2016, and remained an executive director in charge of new acquisitions until Apr. 2017, when he became a nonexecutive director. "KEVIN's contribution to the business is widely acknowledged and respected. He leaves an indelible legacy in FAMOUS BRANDS, having been instrumental in overseeing the transformation of the group from a small, two-brand company with a limited supply chain into a vast vertically integrated enterprise. We wish him well on his retirement", chair SANTIE BOTHA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Financial services platform for Africa launched - Fin24 () 17/01/18 09:19:00

African investment vehicle ARISE has partnered with FMO, the DUTCH DEVELOPMENT BANK and ABOVE AND BEYOND TECH on a collaborative fintech initiative called FINFORWARD. "We are excited to join FINFORWARD, which is aligned to our objective of accelerating the digitisation of the financial industry in Africa by supporting the innovation of financial institutions and mobile money providers' core businesses with digital solutions", ARISE CEO DEEPAK MALIK said. The FINFORWARD programme is powered by 4wrd - A&B's proprietary platform - a marketplace integrating and matching African financial institutions and mobile money providers with FINTECH companies worldwide. The platform has been designed to ensure that global fintech companies are easily accessible to African financial institutions to help them to innovate, reduce costs, tap into new revenue streams and work towards opening banking platforms to promote financial inclusion. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Tencent-backed video site said to seek $17bn valuation - Bloomberg (NPN) 17/01/18 09:19:00

TENCENT-backed Chinese start-up KUAISHOU is seeking to raise funds at about a $17bn valuation, sources said, as it expands its video-streaming service to Southeast Asia. The company is targeting around $1bn of financing. Its targeted valuation would be almost six times the $3bn it managed when it last raised funds in Mar. 2017. The latest investment in KUAISHOU comes ahead of a potential IPO. No final agreements have been reached and details of the fundraising could change, sources added. KUAISHOU's more than 100m daily active users watch short clips and broadcasts of everything from noodle-slurping to physical feats of prowess, with more than 10m videos uploaded every day. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Shoprite blames deflation for disappointing growth - Fin24 (SHP) 17/01/18 09:19:00

SHOPRITE announced subdued growth yesterday, blaming deflation for its tepid performance. The company raised turnover by 6.3% for the HY to end-Dec. - less than half of the 14% achieved in the y/y period. CEO PIETER ENGELBRECHT said overall internal price deflation occurred in the quarter to end-Dec., and that the slowdown in turnover growth should be viewed in the context of average grocery price inflation slowing to 0.4% during the period. It was 7.4% in the y/y period. Supermarkets RSA increased sales by 7.8% while internal inflation fell to 0.4%. SHOPRITE said economic and trading conditions for its foreign markets remained unchanged, and as a result its non-SA supermarket operating segment reported a 0.4% drop in rand terms. The furniture division reported increased sales of 10.8% while other operating segments saw 6.7% growth. Interim results will be published on Feb. 27. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Michael Jordaan to launch app-driven bank - Lameez Omarjee () 17/01/18 09:19:00

Former FNB CEO MICHAEL JORDAAN is making a return to banking with a new "app-driven bank" he has co-founded, which is set to launch later this year. "Business banking fees are much higher than fees for individuals. That's a problem. And any opportunity for a startup to bring relief", JORDAAN tweeted before publishing a link to the new venture, BANK ZERO. According to a press release on BANK ZERO's website, it is 45% black-owned. The bank is expected to be launched in Q4 2018, and has been granted a provisional licence by the SARB. The venture was founded by JORDAAN, as chair, and YATIN NARSAI, who is the CEO. Both worked together at FNB. "BANK ZERO will offer a unique and fresh approach to banking without any legacy systems which can be costly to maintain", the statement read. BANK ZERO will be a mutual, or customer-owned, bank. "The mutual banking concept mirrors current social media trends and benefits customers by allowing for the support and creation of financial communities. It also provides for a capital-efficient framework, and BANK ZERO will be sharing the subsequent cost benefits with its customers". On its website, the bank put out a call for JAVA developers to join the team. It has not yet explained in more detail how the app-driven banking concept will work. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


New-truck market expected to grow by 1.5% in 2018 - Irma Venter () 17/01/18 07:46:00

The domestic new-truck market continued its steady decline in 2017, dropping by 2.65% to 25 042 units compared with the 27 011 units sold in 2016. The market reached 30 469 units in 2015 and 31 554 units in 2014. The extra-heavy commercial vehicle segment was the only truck market segment to record growth in 2017, rising by 0.96% to 11 967 units. Sales in the heavy commercial vehicle segment fell by 4.76% to 5 290 units, with a 6.37% drop recorded in the medium commercial vehicle segment, to 7 785 units. Total truck export sales from SA fell by 5.54% in 2017 to 946 units. UD TRUCKS SOUTHERN AFRICA marketing director RORY SCHULZ says the most significant decline in the 2017 market was in the smaller vehicle segment, which is an indication of a slow-down in the general economy. However, as the economy is expected to pick up speed this year, the outlook is for a "generally better year" in terms of truck sales, with segments such as distribution returning to the market. UD TRUCKS SOUTHERN AFRICA recorded sales of around 2 300 units last year. SCHULZ said the aim is to grow sales by around 3% in 2018, driven by the continued optimisation of the brand's model line-up, plus a full year of the Croner badge in the sales fleet. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Grindrod facing delays with separate listing of shipping unit, still positive about H1 completion - Megan van Wyngaardt (GND) 17/01/18 07:46:00

Due to the cross jurisdictional nature of a proposed international listing by GRINDROD, through which it is aiming to launch a separate listing of its shipping business, the various processes required by regulators in the different relevant jurisdictions are taking longer than initially expected, the company said. However, it noted that work was continuing and, based on current timing estimates, GRINDROD aims to make its final determination on the proposed international listing in the early part of 2018. Assuming the required regulatory approvals are obtained, GRINDROD will seek the listing of the shipping business before the end of H1. GRINDROD last year said it intended to unbundle and list its shipping business as a separate entity on the JSE, as it did not believe that the value of the shipping business was being fairly reflected in the GRINDROD share price. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Adcock expects higher H1 earnings - Natasha Odendaal (AIP) 17/01/18 07:46:00

ADCOCK INGRAM expects double-digit increases in its earnings for the HY to end-Dec., it said yesterday. HEPS for the HY under review are expected to be at least 27%, or 40cps, higher than the 148.6cps reported y/y. Similarly, EPS are likely to increase by 12% or 20cps in H1, compared with the 168.9cps reported y/y. ADCOCK said the "difference of 20.3c substantially arose through certain non-trading capital profits on the disposal of the group's business in India during Oct. 2016". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


South32 Q2 coal output falls as mine outage weighs - Reuters (S32) 17/01/18 07:46:00

SOUTH32's Q2 metallurgical coal output fell 43% due to the suspension of operations at its Appin mine in Australia, due to safety concerns, it said today. Metallurgical coal production fell to 788 000t in the Dec. quarter from 1.39mt y/y, but was still up 60% on the previous quarter, following a partial restart of the Appin mine in Aug., SOUTH32 said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nutrien sells stake in Israel Chemicals - Henry Lazenby () 17/01/18 07:46:00

NUTRIEN has agreed to sell its nearly 14% stake in ISRAEL CHEMICALS through a private secondary offering of all of the 176.09m shares it owns. NUTRIEN expects to receive around $700m in net proceeds from the transaction, which is expected to close on Jan. 23, subject to conditions. The shares will only be offered to qualified institutional buyers under Rule 144A and to persons outside the US under Regulation S. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nov. mining figures impress, but volatility seems to be on the cards - Megan van Wyngaardt () 17/01/18 07:46:00

While the local Nov. mining production statistics showed a solid increase of 6.5% y/y, the long-term prospects for the industry remain less certain due to a difficult operating environment and policy uncertainty. In NEDBANK's mining production overview published yesterday, economists were encouraged by the m/m growth in mining output from 5.2% in Oct., but noted that the 12.3% y/y growth in PGMs, 20.7% growth in iron ore and 8.5% growth in coal were counteracted by declines in the production of gold, copper, diamonds and building materials, which shaved off 1.3, 0.3, 0.2 and 0.1 percentage points, respectively. On a seasonally adjusted basis, mining production decreased by 0.7% m/m in Nov. and by 1.1% q/q for the three months to Nov. Growth in mineral sales increased to 14.3% y/y in Oct. from 6.4% in Sep., boosted by contributions from the coal, manganese ore, iron ore and gold categories. On a seasonally adjusted basis, mineral sales rose by 5.2% m/m in Oct. and by 8.8% q/q for the three months to Oct. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Harmony on track to meet FY output guidance, betters H1 production - Mia Breytenbach (HAR) 17/01/18 07:46:00

HARMONY GOLD is on track to meet its annual output guidance of 1.1moz after producing more than 550 000oz in the HY to end-Dec., it said yesterday. Gold production from its South African operations for the period will be 9%-11% higher than in the pervious six-month period to end-Jun. 2017. Gold output for the company increased by 3%-5% in the six months to end-Dec., compared with the six months to end-Jun. Meanwhile, the processing infrastructure upgrade at Hidden Valley was completed and processing of ore started two weeks ahead of schedule. Hidden Valley, in Papua New Guinea, is well on track to deliver as guided in FY2018. HARMONY will publish H1 results on Feb. 13. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Goldplat extends option period for Ashanti to acquire stake in Anumso project - Anine Kilian () 17/01/18 07:46:00

GOLDPLAT has agreed to extend the option period within which ASHANTI GOLD can acquire 75% of GOLDPLAT's interest in the Ghana-based Anumso gold project. ASHANTI has the right to earn up to 75% of GOLDPLAT's interest in Anumso by spending $3m on exploration work. "The company has until Oct. 31 to earn an initial 51% of GOLDPLAT's interest in Anumso upon the expenditure of $1.5m. An additional 24% interest can be earned through expenditure of an additional $1.5m in the following 12 months", GOLDPLAT said. ASHANTI continues its soil sample programme to test for gold anomalies along the 10km of known conglomerate outcropping within the 29.6km licence area. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SAFTU backs workers strike at Dis-Chem - Business Report (DCP) 17/01/18 07:46:00

The South African Federation of Trade Unions has come out in support of workers who are preparing for a countrywide strike at DIS-CHEM PHARMACIES starting today. SAFTU affiliate, the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers last week announced it was preparing for a strike at DIS-CHEM for being denied recognition and organisational rights in terms of section 21 of the Labour Relations Act. "Not only DIS-CHEM but many other employers are trying to avoid having to recognise and grant organisational rights to unions whch stand up for their members' interests, unlike many sweetheart unions with whom they have established a cozy relationship and whom they now want to protect from SAFTU's more militant affiliates", the federation said. "NUPSAW, like all other SAFTU-affiliated unions, is determined to fight for higher wages, better working conditions and to defend the unions' rights under the Labour Relations Act to organise and represent workers". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Gauteng education dept has placed only a fraction of learners for 2018 - ANA () 17/01/18 07:44:00

The Gauteng province's education department has placed only 2 565 new learners in schools for the 2018 academic year out of 32 935 applicants, provincial head PANYAZA LESUFI said yesterday. "Notwithstanding our efforts to get all parents to apply on time so that we can improve on our planning processes, a total of 4 500 new applications have been received since Saturday", LESUFI said, adding that this number is "expected to increase as parents are continuing to visit admission centres". All department employees had been called in to help try and finalise applications by the end of Feb. LESUFI said everything was in place for classes to resume for Grades 2 to 7, as those learners were already in the system from last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


RDI acquires four central London offices - Roy Cokayne (RPL) 17/01/18 06:52:00

RDI, previously named REDEFINE INTERNATIONAL, has acquired an 80% stake in a portfolio of four high quality flexible offices in central London valued at £161.7m. The company said the acquisition included existing debt facilities of £73.5m. The equity consideration for RDI' 80% stake in the portfolio of £72.5m, including transactions costs of less than 1%, was a timely and efficient reinvestment of the majority of the proceeds of its recent disposal of its German supermarket portfolio. RDI reported earlier this month that it had completed the sale of its German retail portfolio for €205m, a 10.8% premium to book value, and intended to reinvest the disposal proceeds into new investments at lower leverage in line with its stated strategy of enhancing the quality of the portfolio and its growth prospects. RDI said the acquisition of the London portfolio supported its strategy of recycling capital into assets and locations benefiting from sustainable long term growth opportunities, structural change in occupational demand and strategic infrastructure investment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Eskom in battle to refinance maturing debt - Miningmx.com () 17/01/18 06:52:00

ESKOM was battling to refinance maturing debt which has raised questions over its ability to continue as a going concern, BusinessLive reported yesterday. The publication added that ESKOM was due to ask international investors to support a $1bn bond issue which, if successful, would provide comfort to lenders who were being asked to roll over existing debt. "However, it is in a catch-22 situation as it may need to finalise its interim financial statements before it can go to the market", BusinessLive reported. ESKOM on Monday said it remained committed to publishing its interim results before Jan. 31. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Kenya secures syndicated loan to pay off earlier loan - Duncan Miriri () 17/01/18 06:52:00

Kenya has secured a $750m syndicated loan for seven years from the TRADE DEVELOPMENT BANK to pay off creditors in another two-year syndicated loan that was extended last year, sources said yesterday. The government was also set to issue a $1.5bn eurobond for 10 years by the first week of Mar., to take advantage of high demand for new issues. Officials at the ministry of finance did not respond to a request for confirmation of the information from Reuters, while TDB was also not immediately available for comment. Finance Minister HENRY ROTICH in Nov. said a six-month extension of the syndicated facility had been agreed with 90% of investors. Funds raised from a new eurobond issue could be used to pay off the outstanding amount, he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


TFG rallies on Dec. sales jump - Nqobile Dludla (TFG) 17/01/18 06:52:00

THE FOSCHINI GROUP yesterday reported a more than 30% jump in Dec. sales, boosted by recent British acquisitions. The group in recent years acquired Britain's WHISTLES and HOBBS. That expansion helped to lift the international division's December sales by nearly 64%. "Following very strong Black Friday trade on November 24, December trading was pleasing and above management's expectations", TFG said pointing to consolidated turnover growth for Nov. 26 to Dec. 30 up 31%. For the nine months to end-Dec., total sales including its African and international divisions were up 17.1%. Shares in TFG gained 5.4% yesterday afternoon to trade at R181.27 on the JSE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


De Beers turns to blockchain to guarantee diamond purity - Barbara Lewis (AGL) 17/01/18 06:52:00

DE BEERS aims to launch the first industry-wide blockchain this year to track gems each time they change hands starting from the moment they are dug from the ground, CEO BRUCE CLEAVER said yesterday. DE BEERS has led industry efforts to verity the authenticity of diamonds and ensure they are not from conflict zones. It says blockchain, the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, complements its existing methods. It offers a secure way to track diamonds and can provide a digital record they are conflict-free. "It's a huge public ledger as immutable as anything invented", CLEAVER said. "It's a much more unhackable system than anything on a single server". The diamond blockchain would be open to everyone in the industry and would offer the potential for monitoring each stone. CLEAVER said blockchain could also help guarantee the ethical origins of other minerals, such as those used in electric vehicles. DE BEERS began its pilot project this month after several months of research, responding to a rising number of customers wanting guarantees diamonds had not been used to fund conflicts. "It's a bold step going public with a pilot, but we're going public because we're interested in the entire industry participating", CLEAVER said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nigeria's exchange to be publicly listed once bill is signed - Chijioke Ohuocha () 17/01/18 06:52:00

The NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE expects a bill that will allow it to be publicly listed will be signed into law this year, CEO OSCAR ONYEMA said yesterday. The bourse last year got a green light from its members to become a publicly listed entity. ONYEMA has said he expects the public listing to generate profits that will boost its business and product development capacity. Nigeria's bourse has around 200 listed companies and plans to launch exchange-traded derivatives securities this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SARB adds seventh member to MPC - Mfuneko Toyana () 17/01/18 06:52:00

The SARB yesterday said it had appointed FUNDI TSHAZIBANA as the seventh member of its monetary policy committee, and that the former IMF staffer will also act as advisor to the current governors. The central bank said TSHAZIBANA had 17 years of experience in public policy analysis and formulation. She has previously worked at the IMF, Treasury and NERSA. She becomes the first female member of the interest rate-setting body since GILL MARCUS stepped down as governor in 2014. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SA court authorises freezing of $130m in McKinsey case - Alexander Winning () 17/01/18 06:52:00

The North Gauteng High Court has authorised the freezing of R1.6bn in assets earned by MCKINEY and a firm linked to the GUPTAS, a source at the state prosecutor's office said yesterday. The court made the decision in Dec. after a request by the National Prosecuting Authority to freeze the fees earned by MCKINSEY and TRILLIAN for advising ESKOM. Separately, Parliament is investigating whether MCKINSEY knowingly let funds from ESKOM be diverted to TRILLIAN as a way of securing the contract. A spokesperson for MCKINSEY said it had not received formal communication about the preservation order. "As we have said before... we will return the fee we earned from the ESKOM turnaround programme no matter what", the spokesperson said, adding that the consultancy will cooperate with local authorities in their investigations into the case. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SA ready to fund free university education - Gigaba - Mfuneko Toyana () 17/01/18 06:52:00

SA is pushing ahead with a plan to offer free tertiary education to students from poor households and will announce funding details in the Feb. budget, Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA said yesterday. GIGABA told reporters that costs estimates had been finalised and the plan would be implemented over eight years. GIGABA said President JACOB ZUMA "found himself in an invidious position... It is about how to manage the process and implement it in a sustainable manner without having to breach the fiscal expenditure ceiling. If the president had not acted this year to provide some funding it would have resulted in further protests". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 17/01/2018 () 17/01/18 06:52:00

At 06h52 on 17 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.26 ZAR/EUR 15.05 ZAR/GBP 16.91 Gold 1339.07 Platinum 995.00 Brent Crude Oil 70.20 All Share 60649.60


Updated market indicators for 16/01/2018 () 16/01/18 10:56:00

At 10h55 on 16 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.23 ZAR/EUR 14.98 ZAR/GBP 16.86 Gold 1338.79 Platinum 989.50 Brent Crude Oil 70.20 All Share 60401.68


Xi tells Trump China is ready to join US to settle nuclear issue on Korean peninsula - Alice Woodhouse () 16/01/18 10:55:00

Chinese President XI JINPING today said in a phone call witH DONALD TRUMP that all sides should work to keep up the "hard won momentum" over the nuclear situation on the Korean peninsula and work to restart talks. State news agency Xinhua reported XI had told TRUMP China was "ready to join the US for proper settlement of [the] nuclear issue". South Korea and North Korea held their first face-to-face talks in more than two years last Tuesday, during which Pyongyang agreed to send athletes to next month's Winter Olympics near Seoul. The North also agreed last week to hold military talks with Seoul as the two nations move to reduce tensions on the peninsula. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Samsung Heavy forecasts 2019 return to profit - Song Jung-a () 16/01/18 10:55:00

SAMSUNG HEAVY INDUSTRIES expects to turn profitable next year on rising new orders although the company will likely remain in the red this year amid the global shipbuilding industry's prolonged slump. NAM JOON-WOO, the company's new president, today forecast that sales will recover to around Won7tn in 2019 from this year's estimated sales of $5.1tn. He also forecast the company's operating loss to narrow to Won240bn this year after a Won490bn operating loss last year. SAMSUNG HEAVY aims to win $8.2bn in new orders this year as NAM expects a modest recovery in the industry. The group won just $500m new orders in 2016 amid the industry's persistent overcapacity. He expects new environmental regulations to spark more orders for new vessels in the next couple of years. NAM also said rising oil prices would lead to more new orders for offshore energy projects. However, investors are not buying into his optimism, with the group's share price down 3.8% to Won8 830 on Tuesday afternoon, underperforming a 0.3% rise in the benchmark Kospi Composite index. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Greek parliament approves reform package - Kerin Hope () 16/01/18 10:55:00

Greek lawmakers yesterday approved an omnibus package of labour, energy and fiscal reforms needed to wrap up the penultimate review of its €86bn bailout, as police clashed with protesters outside the parliament building. The protests were prompted by a labour reform that requires unions to win the support of 50% of their membership before calling a strike. Public transport and government offices shut down yesterday as workers stayed away in protest against the move. They also objected to the launch of electronic auctions to dispose of properties that banks have already foreclosed on, as well as looming cuts in social benefits to be decided later this year. Finance ministers from euro-area member states are expected to sign off on the review on Jan. 22. Greece will receive an immediate aid disbursement of €3bn-€4bn to meet debt repayments and pay off state arrears to suppliers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nafta withdrawal would hit US GDP without helping trade deficit - Jude Webber () 16/01/18 10:55:00

Consultancy Oxford Economics reckons no NAFTA deal would wipe half a percentage point off US GDP growth in 2019 if President DONALD TRUMP pulls the trigger to exit the tripartite free trade accord next year. In a report published yesterday, researchers at Oxford Economics predicted that a US exit from the trade pact would rattle financial markets, prompting a decline in US Treasury yields and 5% drop in the S&P500 as investors head for save havens. The consultancy said the move would also fuel US inflation, push the Fed into cutting interest rates, hobble consumer spending and push up unemployment. "Though the short-term downturn would be sharp, the long-term impact on the economy would likely be mild", the consultancy added. This is because trade represents only around a third of the US economy. Mexico stands to be the hardest hit. Oxford Economics estimates a US pullout would erase 0.9 percentage points from Mexican growth in 2019, weaken the peso by 8%, wipe 9% off the Mexican stock market and shrink the economy by a full 2% by 2022. Canada would lose half a point in growth in 2019, see its stock market fall by 6% and the loonie by 3%, although by 2022, the impact on growth would have diminished. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


IMF warns Ukraine over anti-corruption court legislation - Roman Olearchyk () 16/01/18 10:55:00

The IMF has warned Ukraine's leadership that the government's plans for a new anti-corruption court are "not consistent" with commitments made as part of its IMF bailout agreement. The development further dashes hopes that the country would be able to swiftly re-engage with the Fund after it froze funding from the $17.5bn assistance package last year. In a letter to the government of President PETRO POROSHENKO, the IMF raised concerns about key provisions in draft legislation on the formation of a new anti-corruption court which was submitted to parliament late last year. IMF mission chief RON VAN ROODEN said there are "several provisions" that are "not consistent with the authorities' commitments under Ukraine's IMF-supported programme and the recommendations of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe". Those pertaining to the selection process are "not conducive" to formation of an independent anti-corruption court, and "transparent appointment of competent and trustworthy" judges. The draft law "opens opportunities for additional delays in establishing" the anti-corruption court, the IMF said, adding: "The jurisdiction of the court envisaged by the draft law is inadequate and includes undue derogations for certain senior officials". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


BP takes another Deepwater Horizon charge - Cat Rutter Pooley () 16/01/18 10:55:00

BP will take a $1.7bn charge for claims over the DEEPWATER HORIZON oil spill as the lengthy process of settling claims from the 2010 disaster winds down. Cash payments related to the accident are anticipated to be around $3bn in 2018 rather than the company's previous estimate of just over $2bn. The remainder of the cash impact will be spread over a multi-year period. The charge - a post-tax non-operating charge - is to cover remaining payments to businesses to compensate for economic losses from the spill and other claims linked to the court-supervised settlement programme that emerged from BP's class action settlement. By Dec. 2017, BP's total bill for fines and settlements over Deepwater Horizon had reached around $62bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ericsson racks up another $2bn in charges - Richard Milne () 16/01/18 10:55:00

ERICSSON is taking another massive writedown as it books charges of almost $2bn. It will take writedowns of SKr14.2bn after impairment testing of its businesses, the company said this morning. It will also suffer a SKr1bn non-cash charge due to the recent US tax reform. The network gear maker already took up to SKr15bn of charges in Mar. due to problems with some of its contracts, as well as restructuring and writedowns in its struggling media and cloud computing businesses. ERICSSON said the charges would not affect cash flow but would impact operating profit in Q4 with the final figures due at the end of this month. The main writedowns came in its two businesses that include cloud computing and media respectively. Digital services is booking a SKr7.1bn charge, while the media businesses are taking SKr6.7bn. Its two other businesses are taking small charges adding up to SKr500m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Noble takes lower price for oil trading business in US pullback - Neil Hume () 16/01/18 10:55:00

NOBLE GROUP has completed its retreat from the US, selling its oil trading business to one of its rivals for a lower than anticipated price. The commodity trader said it had closed the sale of its NOBLE AMERICAS CORP to VITOL on Friday, raising a total of $400m from the disposal. That is lower than the $575m figure the company flagged in Oct. "The decrease in estimated net proceeds is primarily due to operating losses of NAC from 1 October 2017 to the closing date. These operating losses were driven by reduced trading operations, as the business was prepared for sale, which prevented NAC from covering its fixed expenses", NOBLE said. Overall, the company said it has generated $525m from the sale of NAC, of which $142m has been placed in escrow and was subject to unspecified "adjustments". NOBLE needs to repay a $380m bond that comes due in Mar. and then refinance a $1.1bn credit facility that expires in May. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Balfour Beatty to take £45m hit from Carillion collapse - Nicholas Megaw () 16/01/18 10:55:00

Infrastructure group BALFOUR BEATTY will take a hit of up to £45m from the collapse of CARILLION. BALFOUR BEATTY had three JVs with CARILLION - major road projects in Aberdeenshire, Cambridgeshire and north-west England. The company said it "will continue to work with its customers and will meet its contractual commitments", which will lead to a cash outflow of £35m-£45m in 2018. BALFOUR BEATTY said it does not have eny other material financial exposure to CARILLION. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Scottish govt outlines potential £12.7bn hit from hard Brexit - Mure Dickie () 16/01/18 10:05:00

A Scottish government economic impact analysis has claimed that leaving the EU single market without a free trade agreement could cost Scotland 8.5% of GDP by 2030. The analysis also estimates that a post-Brexit "Canada-type" free trade agreement would reduce the size of the Scottish economy by 6.1% to 2030. Scotland's First Minister NICOLA STURGEON called on the British government to drop "red lines" in Brexit talks, such as opposition to free movement in order to allow the UK to stay within the EU single market. "By insisting on hard-line pre-conditions the UK Government is itself closing the doors on what can be achieved in talks with the EU on the future relationship... For the sake of jobs, the economy and the next generation, today we are calling on the UK Government to drop its hard Brexit red-lines so that Scotland and the UK can stay inside the Single market and Customs Union". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Analysts scrutinise Resilient results after 'Viceroy hit' - Alistair Anderson (RES) 16/01/18 10:05:00

Analysts are studying financial results of the RESILIENT group of companies and other disclosure following the collapse of its share price last week. The share price drop came after rumours that VICEROY RESEARCH may release a scathing report on RESILIENT's finances. This led various hedge fund managers who suspect the company discussed in the report to be RESILIENT, or one of its subsidiaries, to sell stocks in the anticipation that the report would find fault with the companies. Members of the group include RESILIENT REIT, NEPI ROCKCASTLE, FORTRESS INCOME FUND and GREENBAY PROPERTIES. The mass sales caused their respective share prices to fall. Shares have since stabilised but are yet to recover last week's losses. RESILIENT REIT CEO DES DE BEER last week said the group's disclosure was second to none in the listed property sector and that all members of the stable were on track to meet their dividend growth forecasts. GARRETH ELSTON, analyst at GOLDEN SECTION CAPITAL, said while RESILIENT REIT's disclosure was of a high standard, other real estate groups such as GROWTHPOINT and REDEFINE were the leaders in the South African market in terms of integrated investor communications and disclosure. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Former Momentum MD Meyer appointed MMI CEO - Hanna Ziady (MMI) 16/01/18 10:05:00

Former MOMENTUM MD HILLIE MEYER will replace MMI CEO NICOLAAS KRUGER, the insurer said today. MEYER will join MMI on a three-year contract, effective Feb. 15. JEANETTE MARAIS, previously an executive director at ALLAN GRAY, will join MARY VILAKAZI as a second deputy CEO on Mar. 1. KRUGER has been with the company for 26 years - nine of those as CEO. His resignation comes following a challenging period for MMI, which has included a number of high-profile departures and leadership changes. MMI last year announced it will sell some of its businesses in the rest of Africa in order to focus on its underperforming South African unit and a JV in India. It posted no growth in earnings for the FY to end-Jun. 2017 as earnings in MOMENTUM RETAIL fell 15%. MMI said VILAKAZI will focus on "operationally integrating" the group's two retail operations - MOMENTUM and METROPOLITAN, while MARAIS will be responsible for MOMENTUM INVESTMENTS. RISTO KETOLA, currently CFO of MMI, was appointed as the group's FD. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Eskom waiting before challenging NERSA's tariff hike - Lameez Omarjee () 16/01/18 10:05:00

ESKOM will await NERSA's reasons for its determination of a 5.23% tariff increase before it takes any decisions to challenge it, the utility said yesterday in response to reports that it was considering a court review of the regulator's decision. ESKOM last month said it was delaying the release of its interim financial results as it was reviewing the impact of the 5.23% increase and to allow its new board to review its financials. It yesterday announced that it is committed to publishing the interim results by Jan. 31 in order to meet the JSE's debt listing requirements. NERSA said it was finalising internal regulatory processes before it will publish the reasons for its tariff determination. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Montblanc expands sports watches in Rolex price range - Thomas Mulier, Bloomberg (CFR) 16/01/18 10:05:00

MONTBLANC is shoring up its credentials as it expands with sports watch models near the price range where ROLEX and BREITLING timepieces start. The brand, owned by RICHEMONT, is introducing a line of Timewalker sports watches with a mountain-climbing theme this year after entering the category last year with a collection based on racing. MONTBLANC is sharpening its focus on the €4 000-€6 000 price bracket, according to DAVIDE CERRATO, MD of its watch business. Those price segments are becoming more competitive as watchmakers try to lure buyers by providing better value. Demand for high-end watches has been dented in the past half-decade as China waged a campaign against corruption and smuggling. Many brands have cut prices by as much as 30%, meaning more producers are competing in the entry level, CERRATO said. MONTBLANC has also been expanding in the €20 000+ end of the market with watches made at the Villeret, Switzerland, site of Minerva, a 160-year-old producer that RICHEMONT bought in 2006. Entering sports watches may give MONTBLANC a leg up in the US, where around 80% of the market is in that segment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Pizza Hut to open shop in Zim - Crecey Kuyedzwa () 16/01/18 10:05:00

PIZZA HUT is set to open its doors in Zimbabwe for the first time on Feb. 2 2018. The US pizza chain will open an outlet in Harare in partnership with local Zimbabwean company SILICOADE CAPITAL, which owns the franchise for PIZZA HUT and STER-KINEKOR ZIM. "PIZZA HUT and its parent company YUM! BRANDS see Zimbabwe as a strategically integral market to its expansion across Africa. The Zimbabwean market has displayed large potential for growth despite economic challenges", the company said. It added that the amount and size of its investment will depend on the success of its first outlet, which is being opened at Zimbabwe's Sam Levy's Village shopping mall. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Rwanda, Mauritius get funding for solar PV projects - Anine Kilian () 16/01/18 10:05:00

The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and the International Renewable Energy Agency yesterday announced that $25m in concessional loans from ADFD have been earmarked for solar photovoltaic projects in Mauritius and Rwanda. The projects have the potential to significantly transform the lives of more than 2.5m people and alleviate poverty by bringing affordable energy to low-income communities. IRENA DG ADNAN AMIN said the loans cover up to 50% of project costs "leveraging additional funding from other sources". He added that, for developing countries, renewable energy provides a cost-effective means of providing electricity to families. It also fuels economic growth and supports energy independence and security. In Mauritius, the ADFD loan of $10m will help the Central Electricity Board install solar PV systems on rooftops of 10 000 households as part of the government's efforts to alleviate poverty while contributing to the national target of achieving 35% of renewable electricity in the energy mix by 2025. In Rwanda, the ADFD loan of $15m will contribute to the installation of 500 000 off-grid solar PV home systems across the country, providing clean electricity for lighting, and mobile phone and radio charging. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Transnet digs heels in over revised wage offer - Natasha Odendaal () 16/01/18 10:05:00

TRANSNET has tabled a revised and final three-year wage offer as it reiterates its "difficult" financial situation since ratings agencies cut the country to junk status. The utility proposed a 6.5%, 7.25% and 7.5% increase in 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively, along with a 4.5% increase annually in housing allowance over the period and a 5.5%, 6% and 6.5% increase in medical aid allowance in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively. "We cannot move any more. This is TRANSNET's absolute final offer", TRANSNET GM TUMELO MOKWENA said, adding that the utility had taken "serious note" of the United National Transport Union's concerns. UNTU general-secretary STEVE HARRIS said: "TRANSNET is at the bottom of its barrel. All our members, therefore, have an obligation to make sure that they participate in the mandating process that UNTU branches across the country are about to embark on". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Clover announces strategic director appointments - Anine Kilian (CLR) 16/01/18 10:05:00

CLOVER has appointed WHITEY BASSON and FLEMMING MORGAN as independent nonexecutive directors. In addition, CFO FRANTZ SCHEEPERS will also assume his role as an executive director on the CLOVER board. CLOVER chair said the balance of BASSON's 45 years' African retail experience, coupled with MORGAN's experience at some of the world's best-known FMCG companies will significantly strengthen the CLOVER board. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Global semiconductor market to grow in 2018 - Natasha Odendaal () 16/01/18 10:05:00

The revenue of the global semiconductor market is forecast to expand 7.5% to $451bn in 2018, surpassing Gartner's earlier growth forecast for the year of only 4%. This can be attributed to continued favourable market conditions for memory sectors, which account for $19.5bn of the $23.6bn increase in the outlook for the year ahead. "Price increases for both Dram and Nand flash memory are raising the outlook for the overall semiconductor market", Gartner principal research analyst BEN LEE said. However, he warned that the price increases would pressurise the margins for system vendors of key semiconductor demand drivers, including smartphones, personal computers and servers. Excluding the memory sectors, the semiconductor market is forecast to grow by 4.6% in 2018, compared with the 9.4% growth reported in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


4Sight Holdings reaches agreement to acquire Foursight SA - ANA (4SI) 16/01/18 07:47:00

4SIGHT HOLDINGS yesterday said it had entered into an agreement to acquire the entire issued share capital and loan account claims of the FOURSIGHT SA group, effective from Jan. 1. "FOURSIGHT SOUTH AFRICA and its subsidiaries will become subsidiaries of 4SIGHT HOLDINGS and will adhere to the provisions of... the JSE listing requirements", the company said. FOURSIGHT SA was originally created as a public holding company in 2016 to acquire Industry 4.0 tech companies operating in digitisation implementation, data science, data management, process mining, dashboard technology, enterprise architecture and customer relationship management solution areas. 4SIGHT said the consideration for the acquisition was R85.57m, payable in cash of R11.69m and through the issue of 36 941 800 4SIGHT shares at R2 apiece. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


MTN takes top spot in Q4's best network rankings - Creamer Media Reporter (MTN) 16/01/18 07:47:00

The Q4 edition of MyBroadband's Mobile Network Quality Report shows MTN outperforming its rivals as the best network in SA. The report and network scores were based on around 113 000 speed tests performed by more than 8 000 MyBroadband Android Speed Test App users across SA in Q4. MTN secured a network quality score of 9.98 during the period, followed by VODACOM at 9.38. TELKOM and CELL C lagged with scores of 6.72 and 6.41, respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


More fuel price relief for SA motorists - News24Wire () 16/01/18 07:47:00

Fuel prices are set for month-end decreases, the Automobile Association said yesterday commenting on mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund. "The Rand/US dollar exchange rate has had one of its flattest periods of trading in recent times. It has traded in a very narrow band between R12.30 and R12.40 to the US currency since the last week of December, bringing some welcome stability". The AA also notes that the international prices of petrol and diesel were also stable over the same period, although there was a slight rise in both in the second week of Jan. "The current data predicts a decrease in petrol of nearly 41 cents a litre, with diesel down by 23 cents and illuminating paraffin dropping 26 cents". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Public engagement on minimum wage set to resume - ANA () 16/01/18 07:47:00

The Department of Labour will this week resume its national series on worker engagement about the implementation of the national minimum wage and amendments to labour legislation. The national minimum wage of R3 500/month, or R20/h for major sectors, is scheduled for implementation from May 1 as agreed at NEDLAC, with the exception of sectors such as farm and domestic workers. The DoL said the objective of the worker briefing sessions was to ensure that the national minimum wage as a new labour policy intervention instrument is communicated to all the intended workers. The department's next working briefing sessions will be on Jan. 18 at Emnotweni Tsogo Sun Casino in Nelspruit; and on 19 Jan. at Protea Hotel Marriot in Emalahleni. More briefings on the national minimum wage and labour amendments briefing sessions are still to be held in Klerksdorp, Rustenburg, Bloemfontein, Welkom, Umtata, East London, Port Elizabeth, Upington, and culminating in Kimberley. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


PPF warns CPS over its claims of over R1bn from SASSA - ANA (NT1) 16/01/18 07:47:00

The Progressive Professionals Forum yesterday said it was alarmed about CASH PAYMASTER SERVICES' claim of more than R1bn from SASSA. CPS is reportedly claiming R1.3bn from SASSA over what it has called a breach of the terms of a contract to process social grant payments after SASSA said beneficiaries would now receive their grants through commercial banks. "Although the PPF respects legal processes and procedures, we wish to warn CPS that if its claim is an attempt to derail the decision to have the provision of social grants delegated to the South African Post Office, such attempts will be fought fiercely by PPF", the forum said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Glencore reserves should be valued higher - analysts - Martin Creamer (GLN) 16/01/18 07:47:00

Investors should be prepared to value the reserves of metal that GLENCORE owns more highly to reward the proactive approach that the company has to managing its assets. Reflecting on the decision of GLENCORE to pull metal from the market during the 2015/16 crisis, BERNSTEIN analysts PAUL GAIT, JONATHAN ABSOLON and CATHERINE TUBB show in a note that deferring production during periods of low commodity prices is almost invariably the correct thing to do. "We believe that the actions of GLENCORE in the zinc industry preserved $1bn of value for shareholders", the analysts said. Quoting value preservation as the main reason that GLENCORE CEO IVAN GLASENBERG left metal in the ground during the commodity price crisis, the analysts call for this sort of remedial action to command a premium in the market. Crediting GLENCORE with understanding that there is such a thing as a "correct value" for commodities, the analysts contend that departures from this price level are self-correcting because of geological deposits having finite horizons. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Gem discovers 910ct diamond - Anine Kilian () 16/01/18 07:47:00

GEM DIAMONDS has recovered a 910ct, D colour Type IIa diamond from its Letseng mine in Lesotho. The diamond - the largest recovered from the mine - is believed to be the fifth-largest gem-quality diamond ever recovered. "This exceptional top-quality diamond is the largest to be mined to date and highlights the unsurpassed quality of the Letseng mine. This is a landmark recovery for all of GEM DIAMONDS' stakeholders", CEO CLIFFORD ELPHICK said. Last week GEM announced it had recovered two large diamonds - a 117ct and a 110ct stone - at Letseng. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Rio Tinto 2017 iron ore exports up 1% - Reuters () 16/01/18 07:47:00

RIO TINTO today reported a 1% rise in iron ore shipments for 2017 to 330.1mt, meeting its set guidance. The miner also stuck to a target of 330m-340m tonnes for this year, but cautioned the guidance was subject to weather constraints and partly reflected rail maintenance required in 2018. "The business performed well in the fourth quarter, and we finished the year in line with guidance across all major products", CEO JEAN-SEBASTIEN JACQUES said. Q4 shipments were up 3% to 90mt y/y and 5% q/q. In other commodities, RIO TINTO stuck to its 2018 targe5t to produce between 510 000t and 610 000t of mined copper and 225 000t-265 000t of refined copper. Aluminium production will reach between 3.5m and 3.7m tonnes. On the year, RIO posted a 1% and 9% respective drop in aluminium and mined copper output. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Vale ordered to repair environmental damage - Reuters () 16/01/18 07:47:00

A Brazilian court yesterday ordered VALE to repair environmental damages its operations caused in land belonging to a community of descendants of escaped slaves in northern Brazil. Federal prosecutors announced the ruling in a statement that said the electricity transmission lines and a bauxite pipeline damaged soil and silted up rivers in the Moju "quilombola" territory in the Para state. The court also ordered VALE to set up a project to generate income for the 788 families affected by the company's operations and compensate them with cash until it was implemented. No value was given for the cost of the reparations VALE must pay. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Rockwell subsidiaries sale still on the table - Henry Lazenby (RDI) 16/01/18 07:47:00

A two-pronged purchase offer by ASCOT DIAMONDS to acquire the three bankrupt South African subsidiaries, and later, a Cayman-based entity of ROCKWELL DIAMONDS is still a viable solution to achieve a sale transaction and therefore, a higher recovery value for creditors, ROCKWELL said yesterday. A formal liquidation application for subsidiaries ROCKWELL RESOURCES, HC VAN WYK DIAMONDS and SAXENDRIFT MINE has been postponed to March to give ASCOT sufficient time to negotiate a deal with the provisional liquidations Honey Attorneys - a process that has been complicated by hasty business rescue practitioners moving the liquidation process forward despite having a more valuable offer for the distressed assets in hand. ROCKWELL's South African subsidiaries were placed into provisional liquidation on Sep. 12, with applications initiated by the BRPs added ot the initial Nov. 2016 application by C-ROCK MINING. ROCKWELL said the buyer and their attorneys met with the PLs several times, and are now making a detailed proposal by creditor in a comprehensive compromise proposal to the PLs. The return date for hearing on the liquidation order is set for Mar. 16. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Zim state diamond company to lift output in 2018 - MacDonald Dzirutwe () 16/01/18 07:05:00

Zimbabwe's state diamond company is expected to produce at least 3m carats this year, up 65% from 1.8m ct in 2017, Mines Minister WINSTON CHITANDO said yesterday. CHITANDO told Parliament that the ZIMBABWE CONSOLIDATED DIAMOND COMPANY will start selling gems it stockpiled last year in Q1 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 16/01/2018 () 16/01/18 07:05:00

At 07h04 on 16 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.29 ZAR/EUR 15.08 ZAR/GBP 16.96 Gold 1340.97 Platinum 992.00 Brent Crude Oil 70.20 All Share 60240.96


Caledonia reaches record production at Blanket mine - Anine Kilian () 16/01/18 07:04:00

CALEDONIA MINING has reported record gold output from its Blanket mine in Zimbabwe for the quarter to end-Dec. Output for the period totalled 16 425oz of gold, a 14% rise q/q, and 21% higher y/y. Production was 11% higher in 2017 than the previous year at 56 135oz, which was just ahead of guidance. CEO STEVE CURTIS said the company remained steadfast in its commitment to the production of safe profitable gold and that the initiatives introduces during 2017 to focus on the safe production of gold have been adopted and fully supported by the Blanket workforce. CALEDONIA is undertaking a major upgrade at Blanket to boost output to 80 000oz by 2021. In FY2018, Blanket is scheduled to produce between 55 000oz and 59 000oz. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Jubilee acquires 29% stake in BMR - Creamer Media Reporter (JBL) 16/01/18 07:04:00

JUBILEE METALS GROUP has acquired a 29.01% stake in the enlarged issued share capital of BMR GROUP for £500 000 cash and the issue of 63m new ordinary shares of JUBILEE. The acquisition increases JUBILEE's effective interest in the Zambian Kabwe project to 57.41% subject to JUBILEE's election to execute the Kabwe project. A decision on whether to proceed with the project, and the project design parameters, will be taken by Feb. 28. Meanwhile, the acquisition will also provide JUBILEE the benefit of the in-country presence that BMR has established. "This gives us the opportunity to fast-track our entrance into Zambia for other targeted projects", JUBILEE CEO LEON COETZER said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Glencore shrinks job of copper head amid DRC probe - Bloomberg (GLN) 16/01/18 07:04:00

GLENCORE reduced the role of its billionaire head of copper, ARISTOTELIS MISTAKIDIS, shaking up the business after a review in the DRC raised questions about accounting and management. MISTAKIDIS will lose control of industrial copper operations including mines and focus on the trading side of the business, sources said. Responsibility for GLENCORE's copper assets will move to MIKE CIRICILLO, who now oversees copper smelting and refining. The shake-up reduces MISTAKIDIS's responsibilities after he and two other executives resigned from the board of GLENCORE's KATANGA MINING in Nov. A review by KATANGA led to a restatement of its financial reporting, and a commitment from GLENCORE to restructure the management of its own copper business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Polyus says $887m deal with Fosun dropped - Mariaan Webb () 16/01/18 07:04:00

Russia's POLYUS yesterday said an agreement to sell a 10% stake in the company to a consortium led by China's FOSUN INTERNATIONAL had been terminated. A condition precedent to the transaction was not met, following which the agreement to sell 12 561 686 of the ordinary shares in POLYUS for $70.6025/share had been terminated, the Russian group said. The deal was valued at $887m. The FOSUN consortium also had an option to acquire an additional 5% in POLYUS for $77.6628/share by end-May 2018. That option has also been terminated. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Lego teams up with Tencent to develop online games - Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen (NPN) 16/01/18 07:04:00

LEGO is teaming up with TENCENT HOLDINGS to jointly develop online games and potentially a social network aimed at Chinese children. LEGO has seen a slowdown in sales growth in recent years, but the Chinese market has been a bright spot with sales up 25%-30% in 2016. The Danish toymaker yesterday said the partnership with TENCENT aimed to create a safe online environment covering content, platforms and experiences tailored for Chinese children. "We've seen more and more Chinese children engage with the world digitally, and the partnership will bring them safe and imaginative digital LEGO content that also supports their needs of learning, development and entertainment", LEGO China head JACOB KRAGH said. The partnership includes developing a LEGO video zone for children on the TENCENT video platform, as well as developing and operating LEGO branded licensed games. It also includes LEGO BOOST - a building and coding set that lets children turn their brick creations into moving objects - and will explore developing a joint social network for Chinese children. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Samsung aims to double Africa's share of revenues in five years - Duncan Miriri () 16/01/18 07:04:00

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS plans to double the annual revenue contribution from its African markets to 20% of the group's global total in the next five years, SAMSUNG Africa president and CEO SUNG YOON said yesterday. He said the company would set up shops and other retail channels in more African countries and cut product delivery times. "We think Africa is extremely important for the future", he added. Demand for SAMSUNG products was being driven by growing African demand for bigger TV and mobile phone screens. Most customers were now buying 55-65 inch TVs, up from 32 inches about a decade ago. Meanwhile, an increase in connectivity across the continent, helped by higher investment in telecoms infrastructure, would further boost demand for devices in future, YOON said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SA white maize futures hit 11-month high on hot, dry conditions - Ed Stoddard () 16/01/18 07:04:00

South African white maize futures prices hit 11-month highs yesterday as a spell of hot, dry weather raised concerns about plantings and yields over a swathe of the maize belt. The contract for Mar. delivery rose over 2% to R2 123.80/T, its highest level in 11 months, before easing back to be 1.35% higher at R2 098/t. Grain SA last week said the western part of the maize belt had been hit by drought and farmers there had only planted 70%-75% of the area the had intended to put in the ground, with the growing season nearing its midpoint. Weather conditions across a swathe of the maize belt have remained mostly hot and dry since then. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Acacia Mining's Q4 output down on Tanzania export ban - Zandi Shabalala () 16/01/18 07:04:00

ACACIA MINING yesterday said Q4 output fell by a third y/y due to a ban on exports of gold and copper concentrates in Tanzania. The miner said output in the quarter to end-Dec. contracted by 30% to 148 477oz y/y, and by 22% q/q. This brought FY gold production to 767 883oz, ahead of its expectations of 750 000oz. ACACIA shut its flagship Bulyanhulu mine in Sep. as it bled cash due to the government export ban that was introduced in Mar. Interim CEO PETER GELETA said the company continues "to support efforts towards achieving a negotiated resolution with the Tanzanian government". ACACIA's cash balance at end-Dec. stood at $81m after a $15m outflow in Q4. All-in sustaining costs of producing an ounce of gold fell to 779/oz compared with 952oz y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


JSE could suspend Eskom bonds by end-Jan. - Robert Laing () 15/01/18 11:26:00

ESKOM's bonds face suspension on the JSE because the utility has failed to publish its interim results, the bourse said this morning. The JSE's rules require companies whose shares or bonds trade on its system to produce financial results every six months. ESKOM's interim results for the HY to end-Sep. needed to be published by Dec. 31 to meet the JSE's rules. ESKOM warned its bondholders on Dec. 23 that it was postponing releasing its results "until early next year in order to afford us the opportunity to review the impact of the 5.23% price increase as well as to allow the newly appointed board members sufficient time to review the financials". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Woolworths shares fall almost 10% after poor HEPS forecast - Robert Laing (WHL) 15/01/18 11:26:00

WOOLWORTHS' share price fell as much as 9% this morning after it said its interim HEPS were expected to decline by as much as 17.5%. The company said it expected to report on Feb. 22 that HEPS for the 26 weeks to Dec. 24 fell by 12.5%-17.5%. Overall sales for the period grew just 2.5%, failing to keep pace with inflation. The food section grew sales by 9.4%, while the fashion, beauty and home section suffered a 0.2% decline in sales. WOOLWORTHS expanded the retail space of its food stores by 6.8% from the y/y period. Excluding the added retail space, food sales grew 5.3%. Its fashion, beauty and home section increased its space by 3.6%. Excluding the new space, sales fell 3.4%. The DAVID JONES business in Australia reported a 3.8% drop in total sales. COUNTRY ROAD increased sales by 5.2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


JPMorgan earnings top estimates - Ben McLannahan () 15/01/18 11:26:00

JPMORGAN CHASE on Friday got the Q4 earnings season off to a brisk start, beating analysts' forecasts for profit despite a jump in provisions, a sluggish period for trading, and a loss relating to STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL. JPMORGAN said EPS for the quarter came in at $1.76, excluding significant items such as tax changes, on revenue of $24.2bn. The top line was lighter than forecasts of $25.5bn, but EPS was better than the forecast $1.69. During Q4, provisions for credit losses came to $1.3bn, up 51% y/y. The markets business was notably weak, with revenue from trading fixed-income products down 27% y/y. FY net profits of $26.5bn, excluding significant items, were a record. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US core consumer prices rise by most since Jan. 2017 - Mamta Badkar () 15/01/18 11:26:00

Core US consumer prices rose at the quickest pace in nearly a year in Dec., while retail sales cooled by continued to signal strong consumer spending, data showed on Friday. Energy prices weighed on the headline CPI, which rose by 0.1% in Dec. according to Labour Department data. That was below expectations for a 0.2% gain, and took the y/y increase to 2.1%. So-called core CPI, which strips out more volatile items, rose 0.3% m/m - the fastest pace since Jan. 2017. The increase in core inflation topped forecasts for a 0.2% rise, while y/y, core consumer prices rose 1.8%. The energy index fell by 1.2% in Dec. following a 3.9% rise in Nov., with gasoline prices falling 2.75. A separate report showed US headline retail sales were in line with estimates, up 0.4% in Dec. from the previous month when they had jumped 0.9%. So-called control retail sales rose 0.3% m/m. The data showed a decline in sales of clothing and accessories, sporting goods, and a 1.1% drop at department stores. Sales at furniture and home furnishing stores and online sales rose. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Airbus deliveries hit new record - Katie Martin () 15/01/18 11:26:00

AIRBUS said 2017 was another record year for deliveries, wrapping up what the company says was a "remarkable" period. The company said it delivered 718 aircraft to 85 companies over the year, a 4% rise over the previous record set in 206. "To cap this resounding annual production achievement, AIRBUS achieved 1 109 net orders from 44 customers", it said. "At the end of 2017 AIRBUS' overall backlog stood at 7 265 aircraft valued at $1 059tn at list prices". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Brazil stops funds from investing in cryptocurrencies - Joe Leahy () 15/01/18 11:26:00

Brazil has banned funds from buying cryptocurrencies, citing what it said was the as-yet indefinitive global debate over the legal nature of this form of exchange. Brazil's market regulator, the CVM, said cryptocurrencies could not be considered financial assets, thereby placing them out of reach of domestic funds according to national laws. It added, however, that funds wishing for indirect exposure to cryptocurrencies through foreign funds should await a further ruling from the CVM. The move comes as regulators are debating how to deal with cryptocurrencies, with South Korea planning to ban trading in them. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Moody's joins Fitch in junking Teva - Jessica Dye () 15/01/18 11:26:00

TEVA has received its second "junk" downgrade in as many months, as MOODY's lowered its rating on the Israeli pharmaceutical company by two notches citing its substantial debt burden and slipping earnings. Friday's downgrade leaves TEVA's rating at Ba2, from Baa3. "The downgrade of TEVA's ratings to speculative grade reflects the challenge of managing its significant debt burden while facing a prolonged period of earnings erosion. While TEVA's cost restructuring programme will help to partially offset declines, execution risk is high", MOODY's assistant VP MORRIS BORENSTEIN said. MOODY's set an outlook of stable on the company. In Nov., FITCH became the first major ratings agency to junk TEVA, citing its "significant operational stress at a time when it needs to reduce debt". S&P GLOBAL has assigned TEVA its lowest investment-grade rating at BBB-. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SoftBank says listing of mobile unit an option - Kana Inagaki () 15/01/18 11:26:00

SOFTBANK is in talks to list the shares of its Japanese telecoms business in Tokyo as founder MASAYOSHI SON seeks to further boost the tech group's investment clout, according to sources. SOFTBANK, which owns US mobile network SPRINT, is accelerating efforts for an IPO amid a bull equity market in Japan and ahead of other major IPOs being planned on the Tokyo bourse. SOFTBANK confirmed it was considering an initial public offering of the business, SOFTBANK CORP, on Monday in response to a report it was planning to list the subsidiary this year. The company said it was "always studying various capital strategy options" and that the "listing of SOFTBANK CORP. shares is one such option, but no decision has been made to officially proceed with this course". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Updated market indicators for 15/01/2018 () 15/01/18 11:26:00

At 11h26 on 15 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.33 ZAR/EUR 15.10 ZAR/GBP 16.97 Gold 1341.48 Platinum 996.00 Brent Crude Oil 69.80 All Share 60115.97


KPMG probe widens - Fin24 () 15/01/18 10:03:00

The investigation by the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors into KPMG has now extended beyond the initial investigation, the IRBA said on Friday. The regulator said its probe into KPMG is multi-faceted and has extended into a number of lines of investigation, beyond the initial investigation into the audits of LINKWAY TRADING and the SARS report. The IRBA pointed out that its investigation is completely independent of the Ntsebeza inquiry initiated by the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants. "In the KPMG matters, the IRBA can confirm that one of the lines of investigation is nearing completion and will be tabled at the upcoming investigating committee, while others are progressing satisfactorily", the IRBA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ramaphosa says no one should be nervous over land - Antony Sguazzin () 15/01/18 10:03:00

South Africans shouldn't be nervous about the ANC's decision to seek land expropriation without compensation, ANC president CYRIL RAMAPHOSA said at the weekend. "We will have a workshop or a conference on land and look at all its various aspects and beyond that we will come up with a clear policy, or direction on how this will be handled", he said in an interview broadcast on eNCA. The amount of land held by the government and disadvantaged racial gropus rose to 26.7% of the country's agricultural land in 2016, from 14.9% in 1994, according to a recent audit conducted by Agri SA. RAMAPHOSA said he would like a study of farms that have been reclaimed or redistributed to black South Africans, since 1994. "The real issue, though, is that most of the redistributed land is lying derelict. It's not being worked", he noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Carillion files for compulsory liquidation - Cat Rutter Pooley () 15/01/18 10:02:00

CARILLION has filed for compulsory liquidation after talks with lenders failed over the weekend. The government will be providing funding required by the liquidator - known as the official receiver - to maintain the public services carried on by CARILLION staff, subcontractors and suppliers. Auditor PWC is expected to be appointed by the courts as "special managers" to act on behalf of the official receiver and handle the liquidation of CARILLION's assets. CARILLION chair PHILIP GREEN said: "Over recent months huge efforts have been made to restructure CARILLION to deliver its sustainable future and the Board is very grateful for the huge efforts made by KEITH COCHRANE, our executive team and many others who have worked tirelessly over this period. In recent days however we have been unable to secure the funding to support our business plan and it is therefore with the deepest regret that we have arrived at this decision. We understand that HM Government will be providing the necessary funding required by the Official Receiver to maintain the public services carried on by CARILLION staff, subcontractors and suppliers". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Indonesia bourse delays afternoon trading after part of building collapses - Alice Woodhouse () 15/01/18 10:02:00

Indonesia's stock exchange has been evacuated after part of the building's interior collapsed during the lunch break, forcing the bourse to delay the opening of the afternoon trading session by an hour, according to local media reports. The bourse will suspend trading by one hour after the building was evacuated, Reuters said, citing a statement from the exchange. ABC South-East Asia correspondent ADAM HARVEY tweeted from the scene that the ceiling and masonry appeared to have fallen onto a crowded reception area, with "many casualties". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Bundesbank to include renminbi in currency reserves - Alice Woodhouse () 15/01/18 10:02:00

Germany's Bundesbank today said it will include the renminbi in its currency reserves, giving the Chinese currency's international stature a boost after 2017 saw its role in global payments diminished. Bundesbank board member ANDREAS DOMBRET made comments confirming plans for the currency's inclusion at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong on Monday. The ECB already holds renminbi as a reserve currency and the IMF has approved its inclusion in the Special Drawing Right Basket since 2016. However, the currency finished Nov. in sixth place among top global currencies used in international transactions made via the Swift global bank payment messaging network, with a share of just 1.8% of the total compared to 2.3% two years earlier. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Indonesia export growth falls short by half in Dec. - Hudson Lockett () 15/01/18 10:02:00

Growth in outbound shipments from Indonesia rose at roughly half the expected rate in Dec., helping to push the country back into a trade deficit for the second time in 2017. The dollar value of Indonesia's exports rose 6.9% y/y in Dec., coming in at around half the median forecast of 12.7% from analysts polled by Reuters and reflecting a marked drop from November's growth rate of 13.2%. Meanwhile, imports rose 17.8% y/y, ahead of an expected 17% rise and helping to push Indonesia back into a trade deficit of $270m after four months of surplus. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Renminbi strengthens as China's c.bank flags drop in liquidity - Hudson Lockett () 15/01/18 10:02:00

China's renminbi firmed as much as 0.6% to the strongest level in more than two years today as the country's central bank loaned out nearly Rmb400bn in response to what it described as a "relatively large" decrease in the banking system's liquidity. The statement from the People's Bank of China cited factors including the tax season's peak, reserve requirements for financial institutions and maturing loans and repos as reasons behind tightening overall liquidity and its decision to inject Rmb398bn into the banking system via its medium-term lending facility. The more tightly-managed onshore renminbi exchange rate firmed as much as 0.6% on Monday following the PBOC statement to Rmb6.4281/$, the strongest level since Dec. 9, 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Aspen receives approval for registration of Alula in China - Sens (APN) 15/01/18 10:02:00

ASPEN PHARMACARE today confirmed that the China Food and Drug Administration had approved the registration of ASPEN's infant milk formula brand, Alula. The CFDA in 2016 introduced new regulations stipulating that only CFDA approved brands will be allowed and sold into China after Jan. 1 2018. The approval authorises ASPEN to continue export to China of its infant milk formula, following the successful launch of the Alula infant milk formula brand in Oct. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


German criminal probe into Steinhoff could take 'several months' - Jan Cronje (SNH) 15/01/18 10:02:00

German authorities are still in the process of sifting through a cache of documents seized during a raid on a subsidiary of STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL. The public prosecutor's office of Oldenburg in Germany on Friday said the probe was ongoing, adding it could not say when it would be completed. Given the number of documents that have to be scrutinised, this could still take several months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Denel cans tender after legal threat - Lesetja Malope () 15/01/18 10:02:00

DENEL has allegedly cancelled an R80m tender that was issued under the auspices of a company that does not exist. DENEL canned the contract, which was awarded to a Portuguese entity, after a losing bidder threatened to take it to court. SEGERS CORPORATION SA recently sent DENEL a lawyer's letter requesting that the tender be scrapped or the arms manufacturer would face an urgent court interdict. The tender is for the overhaul of engines. The letter said DENEL AERONAUTICS issued the tender as a subsidiary of DENEL SA and not a division. A Companies and Intellectual Property Commission search revealed no existence of DENEL AERONAUTICS as a subsidiary of DENEL. SEGERS spokesperson THEUNIS CROUS said the company also suspected that there were a number of irregularities regarding the tender. "DENEL decided to give a tender to a foreign company rather than a South African level 1 small, medium or micro-sized enterprise... We suspect tender fraud as we now know the company that won the tender did not submit its tender by 2.30pm on the closing date", CROUS said. "Also strange for AB LOGISTICS, the company mandated to transport the engines, was that DENEL awarded the tender on a Thursday and, by Friday, they already had a permit to move the engines. To get a permit normally takes a week at the best. We suspect the tender process was just to show that they followed procedures. They had long ago negotiated this deal with OGMA, the Portugal company. We have lost a potential R80m order, and so has DENEL. All because of the greed of their officials and people behind this bizarre tender award", CROUS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Goldman Sachs said to join JPMorgan in taking Steinhoff loss - Dakin Campbell, Bloomberg (SNH) 15/01/18 08:38:00

JPMORGAN CHASE & CO may soon have company in disclosing a Q4 earnings hit tied to STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL. The GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP is likely to disclose a loss linked to STEINHOFF, according to sources. In 2015, the bank was part of a group of lenders that provided a loan to investment vehicles tied to CHRISTO WIESE. The vehicles pledged 628m of STEINHOFF's shares in collateral. It is unclear if GOLDMAN's loss is tied to that loan or possible others it made to executives or the company itself. In addition to GOLDMAN SACHS, CITIGROUP, HSBC and NOMURA participated in the loan to WIESE's investment vehicles. BANK OF AMERICA and JPMORGAN are also lending banks on the margin loan, sources said. GOLDMAN is scheduled to report Q4 results on Jan. 17. BOFA will announce results on the same day, while CITIGROUP is scheduled to report on Jan. 16. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


JPMorgan R1.7bn loan loss said to be tied to Steinhoff - Hugh Son, Bloomberg (SNH) 15/01/18 08:38:00

JPMORGAN CHASE & CO's equities business took a big hit from STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL last quarter. The bank recognised a $143m mark-to-market loss on a margin loan to a single customer in its stock-trading unit, it said on Friday. The bank did not identify the client or say what caused the loss. The writedown was tied to STEINHOFF, according to a source briefed on the matter. STEINHOFF recently said it is seeking "significant near-term liquidity" for some of its business units. The loan loss turned a potential 12% jump in Q4 equities revenue from a year earlier to little changed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SA investors want to join Dutch class action against Steinhoff - Lameez Omarjee (SNH) 15/01/18 08:38:00

Local investors are looking to join a Dutch class action suit against STEINHOFF, according to a report. Business Day on Friday reported that the Dutch Investors Association (VEB) had been approached by South African shareholders to join its class action launched on Dec. 7. This after STEINHOFF CEO MARKUS JOOSTE abruptly stepped down towards the end of 2017. The VEB is yet to respond to Fin24's queries on the matter. The Dutch class action is one of a number being considered by various European law firms and investment bodies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


PE manganese export terminal to be transferred to Port of Ngqura - Anine Kilian () 15/01/18 08:38:00

TRANSNET has confirmed that its manganese export facility at the Port of Port Elizabeth will be moved ot the neighbouring Port of Ngqura by Oct. 2023, where the commodity will continue to serve as an important catalyst for economic growth and development. During a site visit last week, Nelson Mandela Bay executive mayor ATHOL TROLLIP said the municipality would continue to cooperate with TRANSNET to attract greater manganese export volumes through Ngqura, while minimising potential negative impacts on livelihoods and convenience for the community. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US trade panel allows China aluminium sheet dumping probe to proceed - Reuters () 15/01/18 08:38:00

The US International Trade Commission on Friday said in an initial finding that imports of aluminium alloy sheet metal from China harm US producers, allowing a US probe to proceed into whether the product was being dumped or unfairly subsidized. Employing a seldom-used tactic aimed at speeding up the imposition of duties, the US Commerce Department in Nov. "self-initiated" anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations of the imports, which are typically used in construction and in transportation and electrical equipment. It estimated it would impose anti-dumping duties of about 56.54% to 59.72% in the case. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Glencore issues invitation to tender for supply of steel to SA mine - Creamer Media Reporter (GLN) 15/01/18 08:38:00

GLENCORE has issued an invitation to tender for the supply of leach vats structural steel at its opencast Rhovan mine, near Brits in the North West. Interested parties have until Jan. 24 to register, with a site meeting scheduled for Jan. 25. GLENCORE specified that the scope of work would be for all structural fabrication and installation activities for the new leach vats. The estimated quantities are 750t of structural steelwork, 270t of platework, 95t of scraper wear rails, 1 200 m of filtering pipes, 650 m² of grating and 1 000 m of handrails. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Goldplat, Rand Refinery close in on settlement in dispute - Natasha Odendaal () 15/01/18 08:38:00

GOLDPLAT has entered into an MoU with RAND REFINERY regarding a proposed full and final settlement agreement over long-outstanding fees owing and payable to its subsidiary, GOLDPLAT RECOVERY, by RAND REFINERY. The MoU contains terms agreed to for inclusion in an agreement, including agreement on an undisclosed amount to be paid by RAND REFINERY, in a full and final settlement of the dispute. The long-standing dispute between the parties was over a binding MoU for the processing of a batch of silver sulphide material. In Apr., GOLDPLAT said the ultimate recovery amount was in the range of R13.5m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


PTM widens Q4 loss as accounts due mount - Henry Lazenby () 15/01/18 08:38:00

PLATINUM GROUP METALS has widened its net loss for Q1 to end-Nov. to $12.44m, or $0.08/share, compared with a net loss of $2.45m or $0.03/share y/y. During the fiscal first quarter, the company recognised closure and care-and-maintenance costs for the Maseve mine amounting to $5.92m, compared with nil in the y/y period. PTM has made the decision to exit conventional platinum mining by agreeing to sell its position in the Maseve mine to ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUM in a deal valued at around $74m, the proceeds of which will be used to repay a majority of the company's secured debt. PTM said accounts payable and accrued liabilities totalled $7.72m, comprising contract severance and closure costs, care and maintenance costs, drilling expenses, engineering fees, accrued professional fees and regular trade payables. Accounts receivable at Nov. 30 2017 totalled $630 000. PTM has secured a further $5m bridge loan from SPROTT RESOURCE LENDING PARTNERSHIP, of which it has already drawn $2.75m to fund direct expenditures relating to the closure and ongoing care and maintenance of the Maseve mine, reasonable corporate overhead expenditures and outstanding amounts owing to the secured lenders. Amounts due to lenders before closing of the RBPLAT deal total around $107.75m, including the $2.75m portion of the new bridge loan drawn to data and a termination fee for the Maseve mine production payment obligation of $15m, if paid by end-Mar. PTM said that all of the $74m RBPLAT proceeds are to be applied to the company's secured debt. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Indonesia lays groundwork for transfer of Grasberg to local control - Reuters () 15/01/18 08:38:00

Indonesian regional and central government officials on Friday signed an agreement with state holding company PT INALUM that lays the foundation for the transfer of FREEPORT-MCMORAN's Grasberg mine to local control. Indonesia and FREEPORT agreed in principle in Aug. to set up the US company's rights to Grasberg under a new mine license system from an existing contract of work, and the American miner said it would divest up to 51% of its local unit to "Indonesia interests". Under the agreement inked on Friday, Papua Provincial Government and the Mimika Regency will jointly own rights to a 10% share in PT FREEPORT INDONESIA once they have been divested. INALUM, which holds ownership of all state-owned mining companies, has been nominated to acquire an additional 41.64% in FREEPORT INDONESIA, which would take the country's share of PTFI to 51%, up from 9.36% at present. The 10% to be held by Papua and Mimika would be part of this INALUM holding, government officials have said previously. FREEPORT's divestment may involve liquidation of a JV that FREEPORT INDONESIA formed with RIO TINTO in 1996. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Workers threaten countrywide strike at Dis-Chem - ANA (DCP) 15/01/18 08:38:00

The National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers on Friday said it was currently preparing for a strike at DIS-CHEM PHARMACIES across SA over the recognition of its organisational rights. NUPSAW, an affiliate of the South African Federation of Trade Unions, said part of the action will take place at the DIS-CHEM warehouse in Midrand. The strike is expected to start on Wednesday. The union said the company refused to grant it organisational rights in terms of Section 21 of the Labour Relations Act. The dispute was referred for conciliation to the CCMA in Dec. but the matter remained unresolved. A certificate of non-resolution concerning organisational rights was then issued by the CCMA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


VW plans to double output from Kenya plant - George Obulutsa () 15/01/18 07:25:00

VOLKSWAGEN plans to double output at its Kenyan assembly plant and could build a strong model there, Kenya's presidential office said without giving a timeline. The automaker set up a vehicle assembly plant in 2016, resuming output in Kenya after a 40-year break. The plant has started by assembling VW's Vivo model. President UHURU KENYATTA was told by VW's South Africa chief THOMAS SCHAEFER "the firm was exploring producing a second model in Kenya, possibly a hatchback... while doubling production of the VW Polo Vivo to at least 300 vehicles". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SA's audit regulator says part of KPMG probe nearing completion - Nqobile Dludla () 15/01/18 07:25:00

An investigation into the South African arm of KPMG is progressing "satisfactorily" while part of it is nearing completion, Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors CEO BERNARD AGULHAS said on Friday. Information requested from KPMG remains outstanding and the regulator continues to engage with the company to obtain it to complete these investigations, AGULHAS said. He said most of the information required from SARS has been received. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Kenya cuts local communities' share of oil revenue - Duncan Miriri () 15/01/18 07:25:00

Kenya has cut the share of revenue communities receive from local oil discoveries to 20% from an earlier offer of 30%, a senior government official said on Friday. The move will hit the county of Turkana, where TULLOW OIL discovered commercially viable quantities of crude in 2012. Full production of the oil, estimated at 750m barrels, is expected in 2021. In draft legislation last Nov. Nairobi seemed to have acquiesced to the community's demand for a 30% share of revenue. However, that version of the law was later withdrawn, with the government citing "typographical errors". A new draft is due to be introduced to parliament next month and ANDREW KAMAU, principal secretary for petroleum at the Ministry of Energy, said the new bill will offer 15% of the revenue to the county government and 5% to the community, with the rest going to the national government. The government estimates that at the peak of production, based on current oil prices, it will earn around $1.2bn a year from oil exports, KAMAU said. It also plans to acquire an additional 15%-20% stake in the blocks where discoveries have been made, by exercising its "back-in" rights, which typically allow a state to buy back in to blocks with proven reserves. It plans to fund the purchase of that stake via a listing of shares on the London and Nairobi stock exchanges and the issuance of debt before the end of this year. On Thursday, Kenya invited bids for engineering and design of a $2.1bn pipeline to move the crude. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nigerian bourse suspends trading on Seven-Up shares - Chijioke Ohuocha () 15/01/18 07:25:00

Nigeria's bourse has suspended the shares of SEVEN-UP BOTTLING CO. following a takeover bid from majority shareholder AFFELKA to minority holders, the exchange said on Friday. SEVEN-UP shareholders have passed a resolution to back the takeover bid by AFFELKA which will see it delisted from the bourse, the bourse operator said in a notice. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Okavango posts record diamond sales - Tanisha Heiberg () 15/01/18 07:25:00

Botswana's OKAVANGO DIAMOND COMPANY posted a 4% jump in sales to $567m in 2017, the highest annual sales since its formation in 2013, it said last week. The state-owned company sold 3.41m ct of diamonds last year, MD MARCUS TER HAAR said, adding that 2017 was characterised by healthy demand and prices in H1, weakening from July through Nov. ODC, which held 10 tenders in 2017, sells 15% of the production of DEBSWANA, a JV between the government and DE BEERS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Mauritius' SBM Holdings to take 75% of Kenya's Chase deposits, liabilities - Maggie Fick () 15/01/18 07:25:00

Mauritius' SBM HOLDINGS will acquire 75% of the value of certain deposits of Kenya's CHASE BANK plus matched liabilities, the Central Bank of Kenya said on Friday. The central bank has been seeking a strategic investor for CHASE, which has been under receivership since Apr. 2016 after failing to meet its financial obligations. The central bank last week said SBM had made a binding offer for some of the bank's assets and liabilities. Depositors at CHASE will have access to 75% of their deposits in the next few months. These deposits were not blocked or contested in court cases related to the bank's receivership. Central bank governor PATRICK NJOROGE said SBM also intended to take up the maximum number of CHASE staff and branches bit did not give details. NJOROGE said the central bank has not found a solution for the remaining 25% of CHASE not acquired by SBM. He did not give a value for the stake purchased by SBM. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nigerian regulators set deadline for 9mobile takeover bid - Camillus Eboh () 15/01/18 07:25:00

Nigerian regulators have set a Jan. 16 deadline for receipt of binding offers from prospective bidders to acquire 9MOBILE, the Nigerian Communications Commission said on Thursday. The NCC alongside the central bank approved the deadline after 9MOBILE's board requested a time extension, the regulator said. It added that BARCLAYS AFRICA will review bids submitted before the deadline and make recommendations to 9MOBILE. "The winner will now apply to NCC in order to commence the processes for securing the regulatory approvals... to give full effect to the transfer", the regulator said. HELIOS INVESTMENT PARTNERS has submitted a bid to acquire 9MOBILE. Nigeria's GLOBACOM and BHARTI AIRTEL's local subsidiary have also submitted bids. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Flour Mills of Nigeria to start share sale today - Chijioke Ohuocha () 15/01/18 07:25:00

FLOUR MILLS OF NIGERIA plans to start marketing a share sale to existing investors aimed at raising 49.86bn naira on Jan. 15, the bourse said last week after granting approval. The company will offer 1.47bn shares at 27 naira apiece, an 18.2% discount to Thursday's market price of 33 naira. It will offer nine new shares for every 16 already held via the rights issue. FLOUR MILLS shares have gained 15% so far in Jan., valuing the company at 87bn naira. The offer ends on Feb. 21. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


ABSA PMI falls for first time in four months - Mfuneko Toyana () 15/01/18 07:25:00

SA's seasonally adjusted ABSA PMI fell for the first time in four months in Dec. with business activity and new sales declining sharply, a survey showed on Friday. The index - compiled by the Bureau for Economic Research - fell to 44.9 in Dec. from 48.6 in Nov. "The deterioration was broad-based with all five subcomponents of the headline index falling compared to November's level. The dismal PMI reading suggests that the South African manufacturing sector ended the year on the backfoot", ABSA said. The index tracking expected business conditions in six months' time rose to 61.9 in Dec., from 50. in Nov. "This suggests that, in the absence of any adverse shocks, the sector could perform better in 2018", ABSA analysts said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 15/01/2018 () 15/01/18 07:25:00

At 07h24 on 15 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.35 ZAR/EUR 15.07 ZAR/GBP 16.96 Gold 1340.96 Platinum 990.50 Brent Crude Oil 69.80 All Share 60083.13


First editor for Business Insider SA appointed - Fin24 (NPN) 12/01/18 12:41:00

HELENA WASSERMAN has been appointed as the inaugural editor of Business Insider SA. MEDIA24 today said WASSERMAN is a seasoned financial journalist and editor with more than 20 years' experience on some of SA's leading business titles. Launched in 2007, Business Insider is the largest business news site in the US and one of the fastest-growing news brands in the world. PHILLIP DE WET has been appointed as associate editor. He is currently associate editor of Mail & Guardian. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


German parties reach breakthrough on potential new grand coalition - Guy Chazan () 12/01/18 12:41:00

ANGELA MERKEL's conservative bloc and left-of-centre rivals the Social Democrats have achieved a breakthrough in their exploratory talks on forming a new grand coalition, potentially bringing an end to the political deadlock that has gripped Germany since inconclusive elections in Sep. German media reported that the breakthrough came in marathon talks between MERKEL, HORST SEEHOFER, leader of the CDU's Bavarian sister party, and the Social Democrats, led by MARTIN SCHULZ. The three will recommend to their parties that they now start official coalition talks. Any move to launch formal talks will first have to be endorsed by the SPD at a special party conference on Jan. 21. And a coalition agreement between the three parties will also be voted on by the SPD's 400 000 members, many of whom are deeply reluctant to see the party team up with MERKEL's bloc. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China exports best expectations, driving up trade surplus - Hudson Lockett () 12/01/18 12:41:00

China's exports rose more than expected in Dec., but import growth slowed dramatically. The dollar value of outbound shipments from China rose 10.9% y/y in Dec., slowing from November's rate of 12.3% but comfortably besting a median forecast of 9.1% growth from economists surveyed by Reuters. Imports grew far less than expected, with a y/y rise of just 4.5% undershooting expectations of a 13% climb and down substantially from the prior month's pace of 17.7%. This boosted China's trade surplus by about $14bn from the previous month to $54.7bn at end-2017, well above a median forecast of $37bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US completes probe of steel imports, giving Trump 90-day deadline to respond - Edward White () 12/01/18 12:41:00

The US Commerce Department has submitted the results of a high-level probe into the effect of steel mill product imports on national security to President DONALD TRUMP, giving him 90 days to decide on any potential action. The department said that Secretary of Commerce WILBUR ROSS had submitted the rersults to TRUMP, but did not make them public despite the investigation's completion. "After the President's decision is announced, the Department will publish a summary of the report in the Federal Register and make the report available to the public after removing any business confidential or classified material", the statement said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Peru cbank cuts rates for fifth time in a year - Hudson Lockett () 12/01/18 12:41:00

The Central Reserve Bank of Peru cut interest rates for the fifth time in less than a year yesterday after consumer inflation fell to a seven-year low in Dec. The central bank cut its policy interest rate by 25 bps to 3%, extending an easing cycle that has brought rates 125 bps down in total since the first cut in May 2017. Headline CPI continued to drop further below the central bank's 2% target in Dec., touching a seven-year low of 1.4% y/y growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


S&P downgrades Brazil on slow political progress - Jessica Dye () 12/01/18 12:41:00

S&P sent Brazil deeper into junk territory yesterday, saying it had advanced more slowly than expected "in putting in place meaningful legislation to correct structural fiscal slippage and rising debt levels on a timely basis". S&P lowered its long-term sovereign credit rating on Brazil by one notch from BB to BB-. It initially junked Brazil in 2015 while former president DILMA ROUSSEFF was still in power. Despite some progress under new president MICHEL TEMER, many political obstacles remain to putting the country back on solid fiscal footing, S&P said. It set a stable outlook on Brazil's rating, saying the country's "comparatively solid external profile and the flexibility and credibility of its monetary and exchange rate policy help anchor the rating at BB- over the next year, balancing economic and fiscal weaknesses and uncertainty about the 2018 presidential elections". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SocGen to book $450m charge in Q4 - David Keohane () 12/01/18 12:41:00

SOCIETE GENERALE will book a charge of $450m in Q4, in part due to a hit from US tax reform. The bank said the US tax reform would cost it $307m this quarter, largely due to a reduction in the value of deferred tax assets. DTAs are worth less because of sweeping changes to the US tax code signed into law by President DONALD TRUMP days before Christmas. The French lender added that from 2018, "the decrease of the federal tax rate will have a favourable impact on the profitability of group operations in the US". SOCGEN, which is due to report FY figures on Feb. 8, also said that it would take a hit of €200m in operating expenses in the quarter, due in part ot a French tax audit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Carrefour to buy stake in private-sales site Showroomprivι - Mamta Badkar (SNH) 12/01/18 12:41:00

CARREFOUR has said it will acquire a stake in SHOWROOMPRIVE worth €79m from CONFORAMA, in a move to accelerate its digital strategy and enter the online private sales market. CARREFOUR will take a 17% stake in the company from CONFORAMA at a price of €13.50/share. The move will allow both to develop and omni-channel offering - which involves a system of ships, online and direct sales - and will cover areas such as commercial operations, marketing, logistics and data. CARREFOUR's equity investment will take the form of an off-market acquisition of the block of shares owned by CONFORAMA. The company's founders will retain 27.17% of the capital and 40.42% of the voting rights. CARREFOUR will hold 16.86% of the capital and 13.67% of the voting rights. Moreover, if CARREFOUR were to launch a takeover bid for SHOWROOMPRIVE within 18 months of the completion of the deal, it would have to make an additional payment to CONFORAMA. CONFORAMA is a subsidiary if STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ukraine to create group to regulate cryptocurrency market - Roman Olearchyk () 12/01/18 12:41:00

Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council chief yesterday announced plans to form a government working group to craft regulation on cryptocurrencies, citing a legal vacuum over the swiftly developing market that "poses a threat to the economy and security of the state". The comments made by OLEKSANDR TURCHYNOV come two weeks after an armed gang kidnapped and later released bitcoin businessman PAVEL LERNER in what local authorities have dubbed as a "bitcoin kidnapping and extortion". "According to the information from the leadership of the National Bank of Ukraine, the Security Service of Ukraine and the National Police of Ukraine, the lack of external and internal control over the cryptocurrencies turnover and anonymity of payments create prerequisites for their use in order to legalize criminal assets, to pay for prohibited goods, in particular, drugs and weapons, and provides for financing of terrorism, in particular, in the occupied territories of Ukraine", TURCHYNOV said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Europe's largest pension fund to drop tobacco, nuclear weapons investments - Owen Walker () 12/01/18 11:01:00

Dutch pension fund ABP - Europe's largest - plans to ax tobacco and nuclear weapons from its investment portfolio. The €405bn scheme joins a growing list of institutional investors in shunning stocks they deem harmful to the environment and to human health. The fund, which manages money on behalf of 2.9m members, yesterday said it will sell €3.3bn of tobacco and nuclear arms industry holdings in 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


MoneyGram shares jump on cryptocurrency move - Pan Kwan Yuk () 12/01/18 10:33:00

US money transfer group MONEYGRAM has become the latest to jump on the cryptocurrency bandwagon. The company yesterday said it has partnered with Ripple to test the use of XRP - a digital currency - to move its customers' funds. While the partnership might not lead to MONEYGRAM adopting XRP, the news was enough to send its shares up 12% in early trading. "XRP remains the most efficient digital asset for payments with transaction fees at just fractions of a penny, compared to BITCOIN fees of about $30 per transaction. Similarly, the average transaction time for XRP is 2-3 second with other top digital assets ranging from 15 minutes to an hour", MONEYGRAM said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US producer prices fall for fist time since Aug. 2016 - Adam Samson () 12/01/18 10:33:00

Wholesale prices in the US unexpectedly fell in Dec., according to new data published yesterday by the Labour Department. The headline producer price index fell 0.1% on a m/m basis in Dec., the first fall since Aug. 2016 and missing forecasts in a Reuters poll for a 0.2% uptick. Excluding the volatile food, energy and trade components, prices rose 0.1%, the weakest rise since Aug. 2017. The annual growth rate for the headline reading also cooled to 2.6%, from 3.1% m/m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Eurozone has moved into 'expansionary territory', says ECB - Claire Jones () 12/01/18 10:33:00

The eurozone's economy has moved into a full-fledged expansion, the region's top policymakers have said in a declaration that their sweeping measures to restore growth to the single currency area have had the desired effect. Minutes of the ECB's December policy vote show that favourable data on the economy had led policymakers to drop some of their references to the region's recovery and instead focus on what they now viewed as a "continued robust and increasingly self sustaining economic expansion". The minutes also suggest the strength of the expansion could in the months ahead lead policymakers to change their message and focus less on their monthly bond purchases and more on the combination of measures they plan to keep in place to revive growth and inflation. The Dec. vote saw president MARIO DRAGHI reveal that the ECB's staff had upgraded its forecast for growth to 2.4% in 2017 and 23% in 2018 - the most significant in the history of the bank's quarterly projections for growth and inflation. While staff projections showed inflation, at 1.7%, remaining under the ECB's target of just below 2% in 2020, policymakers were confident that price pressures would return. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nigel Farage says 2nd Brexit referendum might be good idea - Adam Samson () 12/01/18 10:33:00

Former UKIP leader NIGEL FARAGE yesterday said he is nearing the opinion that the UK should hold a second referendum on its EU membership. FARAGE said on Channel Five's The Wright Stuff television programme that "maybe just maybe I'm reaching the point of thinking we should have a second referendum... on EU membership. What is for certain is that the Cleggs, the Blairs, the Adonises will never ever ever give up. They will go on whinging, and whining and moaning all the way through this process". FARAGE added that, in his view, the percentage that would vote to leave "next time would be very much bigger than it was last time... and we may just finish the whole thing off". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


BoE proposes reforms to loosen regulatory reporting requirements on insurers - Caroline Binham () 12/01/18 10:33:00

The Bank of England is pushing ahead with plans to lighten the load of requirements for insurers under EU rules, following a lobbying effort from politicians and the industry as Brexit looms. The central bank's Prudential Regulation Authority published a consultation on Thursday that would ease how much regulatory reporting particularly smaller insurers must undertake under the regime, known as Solvency II, which came into force two years ago. "The PRA has sought to design the most extensive package of reforms possible without compromising its ability to supervise firms with the appropriate evidence base", the consultation, which runs until Apr., reads. The proposed reforms include restricting reporting for with-profit firms to those insurers that have relevant liabilities of at least £500m, and being more open to considering waivers from smaller insurers around quarterly reporting burdens. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Eurozone logs vigorous growth in Nov. industrial production - Adam Samson () 12/01/18 10:33:00

Eurozone industrial output grew at a rapid rate in Nov. in the latest reminder of the currency area's economic acceleration. The broad measure of eurozone industry rose 1% in Nov. from Oct., Eurostat said. That was better than the 0.65% forecast by economists in a FactSet poll, and stronger than the 0.4% recorded in Oct. Over the past 12 months, industrial output has climbed 3.2%. Production of capital goods led the way, rising 6.2% y/y, with production of intermediate and durable consumer goods increasing 4.6%. Energy production slipped 3.4%, while non-durable goods production fell 0.1%. In the EU more broadly, the gauge was up by 3.5%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


German economy grew last year at fastest rate since 2011 - Claire Jones () 12/01/18 10:33:00

Germany's economy expanded by 2.2% last year - the highest rate since 2011. The figure, published yesterday by the Federal Statistics Agency, confirms 2017 was a bumper year for the country. Economists had expected an even stronger performance, with an average forecast of 2.5%. On a calendar adjusted basis, growth clocked in at 2.5%, also the highest reading in six years. The economy was boosted by higher levels of consumption by German shoppers. Investment levels were also relatively high. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Trump tirade throws US immigration talks into turmoil - Sam Fleming () 12/01/18 10:33:00

Talks on a bipartisan US immigration deal have been thrown into turmoil after reports that DONALD TRUMP asked why people from "shithole countries" were being allowed to enter America. TRUMP was also said to have told lawmakers that America should instead be welcoming more immigrants from countries such as Norway. "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries here?" TRUMP was quoted as saying in a White House discussion about whether the US should offer protection to people from certain countries in Africa, as well as Haiti and El Salvador. The White House neither confirmed nor denied the alleged vulgar remarks. "Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries but President TRUMP will always fight for the American people", spokesperson RAJ SHAH said. "Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President TRUMP is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


JSE reviewing day of volatile trading - Carin Smith (JSE) 12/01/18 10:33:00

The JSE is aware of the recent volatility in the share prices of certain property companies and has noted media reports regarding the possible reason for this volatility, SHAUN DAVIES, director of market regulation at the bourse operator said. Fin24 yesterday reported that property stock prices in general suffered a deep dip in the morning on rumours that US-based VICEROY RESEARCH was investigating a local property company. VICEROY RESEARCH released an expose on STEINHOFF in Dec., shortly after its CEO MARKUS JOOSTE abruptly stepped down amid an accounting scandal. "Market prices are sometimes influenced by rumours and speculation that are part of the normal information flow in financial markets. However, it is a market abuse offence in terms of the Financial Markets Act to make false statements about listed securities which mislead investors", DAVIES said. He said as part of the JSE Market Regulation Division's routine surveillance procedures it is reviewing the trading activity in those shares which were very volatile the last few days and of which the share price movements appear to be unrelated to any information from the relevant companies. "If our review of the trading indicates that it would be necessary to establish the source of any price sensitive information that may have been distributed amongst investors and whether such information was factually correct, we will advise the Directorate of Market Abuse at the Financial Services Board accordingly in order for them to consider conducting further investigations", DAVIES added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


CompCom grants conditional approval for Sinopec's Chevron SA buy - Henry Lazenby () 12/01/18 08:27:00

The Competition Commission has given conditional approval to SINOPEC's proposed $900m acquisition of a controlling stake in CHEVRON SA, the company said yesterday. In considering the transaction, the Commission said it is unlikely to substantially prevent or lessen competition in any of the identified markets. SINOPEC expects the Competition Tribunal to set down a date for a hearing to consider the deal shortly. Should the transaction be successful, the proponent of the deal, SINOPEC subsidiary SOIHL HONG KONG HOLDING, will gain control of CSA's CapeTown refinery, which has a nameplate capacity of 100 000 bpd, a network of about 850 service stations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


BCX CEO appointed to iamtheCODE board - Anine Kilian () 12/01/18 08:27:00

BCX CEO IAN RUSSELL has been appointed to the board of Africa-led global female coding movement iamtheCODE. iamtheCODE is designed to mobilise governments, businesses and investors to support young women in science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and design through learning how to code, creative learning and problem solving. Over the past year, BCX has invested more than R100m in skills development programmes to drive access to affordable education in the coding and data science fields. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


BHP is building an EV hub it doesn't want to keep - Bloomberg (BIL) 12/01/18 08:27:00

Electric vehicles could hold the key to BHP finally finding a buyer for its unwanted Nickel West operations. The company is accelerating plans to transform Nickel West into a linchpin of the global supply chain for EV batteries. The switch in focus promises to woo new suitors after an aborted 2014 attempt to sell the business. BHP began work to build a nickel sulphate plant at Nickel West in recent weeks and is considering a slate of further expansions to make it the largest source of the material and a hub for other battery ingredients. It's aiming to sell 90% of output into the battery supply chain by about 2021, from less than a third at the end of 2017. Around 40%-45% of existing nickel mine supply is suitable for processing into a battery-grade chemical product, UBS GROUP AG analyst LACHLAN SHAW said. "BHP's Nickel West fits into that category". Nickel West is weighing an expansion to double output at the $43m nickel sulphate project and looking at options to add cobalt sulphate production. The reboot could add 20 years to the life of a business previously seen as potentially closing early next decade. The unit's repositioning for the battery market would likely be most attractive for a smaller operator, SHAW said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Walkabout executes lithium exploration MoU in Namibia - Natasha Odendaal () 12/01/18 08:27:00

WALKABOUT RESOURCES has executed a binding MoU with a local Namibian company for a staged earn-in to an exclusive prospecting licence that will expand the company's current lithium exploration ground in that country. WALKABOUT, via Namibian entity AARDVARK MINERALS, will earn an initial 51% through sole funding exploration, to licence EPL5691 in the Orange River pegmatite belt, adjacent to the 100% owned WALKABOUT licence EPL6308. The earn-in can be increased to 75% with the establishment of a maiden JORC resource on the licence, which will form part of the highly prospective Eureka lithium project. The MoU is subject to standard due diligence, which is expected to be completed prior to the commencement of exploration activities in the area. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Indonesia hopes to finalise Freeport contract talks by June - Reuters () 12/01/18 08:27:00

Indonesia hopes to finalise contract talks with FREEPORT-MCMORAN over the Grasberg copper mine by June, although divestment issues are still unresolved, an industry official said yesterday. The parties formed a framework agreement in Aug. to transfer the company's rights to Grasberg to a new mine license system form an existing contract of work. Under the change, FREEPORT promised to divest 51% of its Indonesian unit to the government. However, details of the divestment still need to be ironed out by FREEPORT, the State Owned Enterprises Ministry and the Finance Ministry. Other issues under consideration include the development of another domestic copper smelter, an investment stability agreement and the xtension of FREEPORT's operations up to 2041. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Gold to gain from retail, geopolitical risks, hedging - Megan van Wyngaardt () 12/01/18 08:27:00

The gold price is expected to rise in the year ahead, driven by stronger interest from Asian retail investors and consistent interest in global gold ETFs, according to Thomsom Reuters GFMS. The firm noted that the efficient frontier theory further supported additional investment in gold, as well as the desire to hedge against an equities meltdown. It also outlined that geopolitical tensions were again expected to be an important factor supporting gold prices, while US monetary policy tightening would continue to weigh on gold. Thomson Reuters' predictions factored in three federal funds rate hikes for 2018, though it should be noted that two issues threaten that schedule - inflation and tax reform. "On balance, we believe that the gold price is likely to enjoy stronger tailwinds than headwinds this year", the research firm said. Gold traded around $1 350/oz last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Parliament gearing up for Steinhoff probe - Jan Cronje (SNH) 12/01/18 08:26:00

Parliamentary hearings into STEINHOFF are set to start in late Jan., according to YUNUS CARRIM, chair of parliament's finance oversight committee. CARRIM yesterday said hearings into what happened at STEINHOFF to cause its stock price to shed over 80% would be held jointly with Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts. "Depending on outstanding administrative issues, the hearings will be on 30 or 31 January", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


PRASA management fails to show up at wage talks - Aidan Jones () 12/01/18 08:26:00

Unionised workers at PRASA have been given permission to embark on a protected strike. PRASA management failed to show up this week to a meeting intended to settle a wage dispute, GroundUp reported. PRASA signed a wage agreement with unions on May 17 last year and, according to the United National Transport Union, has failed to adhere to the terms of this agreement. "PRASA is so messed up at the moment. It's no wonder they missed the date", UNTU spokesperson SONJA CARSTENS said. The dispute was between UNTU, SATAWU and PRASA. PRASA spokesperson NANA ZENANI said the utility had received the notice of a conciliation meeting on Dec. 13, and had told the CCMA and the unions on Dec. 18 that the negotiating team would be on leave on Jan. 10. The unions had initially agreed to postpone the hearing and then had changed their minds, ZENANI claimed. UNTU's general secretary, STEVE HARRIS, said UNTU had not agreed to the postponement. UNTU would now get a mandate from its members at PRASA on whether or not they want to embark on an indefinite protected strike. This process would be finalised by Jan. 24. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Novus moves to save water - Fin24 (NVS) 12/01/18 08:26:00

NOVUS HOLDINGS has taken action to reduce its reliance on municipal water, having spent in excess of R1.7m on various water-saving initiatives at its PAARL MEDIA CAPE division since early 2017. "We implemented a robust water saving plan in June 2017 and since then, we have managed to reduce our water consumption by up to 80% on certain processes", said KELVIN PILLAY, MD of PAARL MEDIA CAPE. The company has installed a new water reservoir in the Paarl plant that will allow production to continue for a maximum of 62 hours without using an external water source. It is also installing three 20 kilolitre water tanks that will be plumbed directly into the building's water lines. Ablution facilities have also been fitted with water-saving devices and plumbing has been amended to optimise the use thereof. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Vusi Khanyile resigns from STAR board - Fin24 (SRR) 12/01/18 08:26:00

STEINHOFF AFRICA RETAIL yesterday announced that VUSI KHANYILE has resigned as an independent non-executive director of the board with effect from Jan. 10. KHANYILE is the executive chair of THEBE INVESTMENT CORPORATION. STAR furthermore announced that DANIEL VAN DER MERWE has been appointed as a member of the HR and remuneration committee, and JOHANN BERNARD CILLIERS as a member of the nominations committee - both with effect from Jan. 10. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Cell C increases WhatsApp bundle price - Business Report (BLU) 12/01/18 07:18:00

CELL C has announced it will be raising the price of its WHATSAPP bundle from next month. The previous price of R12 for the bundle will see users now having to fork out R15. The bundle offers a fair usage cap of 600MB and is valid for 30 days. CELL C launched its WHATSAPP bundle in Oct. 2014. It provides users with free text, image sending or voice messages over WHATSAPP. "CELL C is the only network to offer customers a dedicated, value for money WHATSAPP bundle. The price increase is effective on WHATSAPP bundles across all sales channels", the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Lewis ordered to submit acquisition affidavit - Luyolo Mkentane (LEW) 12/01/18 07:18:00

The Competition Tribunal has ordered LEWIS GROUP to submit an affidavid pertaining to its acquisition of UNITED FURNITURE OUTLETS. This after trade union SACCAWU made submissions at the tribunal hearing in Pretoria yesterday, arguing a link existed between LEWIS retrenching hundreds of workers and thereafter acquiring UFO. However, LEWIS, which has more than 700 stores, retorted that it was not strange for businesses to retrench and acquire on the other hand. The Competition Commission said there were no competition concerns arising from the proposed merger between LEWIS and UFO, adding that it was unlikely that a link existed between LEWIS retrenching and then acquiring UFO, which was established in 2004 and has a retail footprint of 30 stores. SACCAWU said LEWIS had retrenched around 400 workers since Dec. 2016, in anticipation of the UFO deal. Competition Tribunal chair NORMAN MANOIM concurred that they did not have information on the LEWIS decision to start retrenchments and the timing of the acquisition, and whether the two issues were linked. He then ordered LEWIS to submit an affidavit to that effect. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SA economy may grow 2% in 2018 - Gigaba - Ed Stoddard () 12/01/18 07:18:00

The economy may grow 2% or more this year if government takes the right policy decisions, Finance Minister MALUSI GIGABA said yesterday. Speaking at a business gathering in East London, GIGABA said: "There are certain decisions we need to take, and if we take them, the economy can exceed our expectations this year... We need to ensure that MOODY's does not downgrade us in February this year. We will outline a programme to stabilise the debt at the same time as we outline a programme to grow the economy and create jobs". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nov. manufacturing output up 1.7% y/y - Mfuneko Toyana () 12/01/18 07:18:00

SA's manufacturing production rose 1.7% y/y in Nov., after expanding by a revised 2.3% in October, Statistics SA said yesterday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast manufacturing volumes would rise by 0.45% y/y in Nov. Factory production on a m/m basis was up 0.9% and rose 0.5% in the three months to Nov. compared with the previous three months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Moody's not anticipating Angolan debt default - Alexander Winning () 12/01/18 07:18:00

MOODY's assumes the Angolan government does not intend to default on its debt after ambiguous working in official statements, the ratings agency said in a research report. Angola this month unveiled plans to restructure its foreign debt and devalued the kwanza after the collapse in global oil prices from 2014 had battered its economy. MOODY's said the new kwanza regime and the government's desire to renegotiate debt underscored existing pressures on the country's credit ratings, which include falling economic growth and liquidity risks. It said it expected Angola's debt-to-GDP ratio to rise and for higher inflation to weigh on growth, although it added the country's current account was likely to improve over time. It said it had discussed the recent policy changes with the Angolan government. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Kenya Airways CEO sees 10% revenue bump from direct US flights - Duncan Miriri () 12/01/18 07:18:00

KENYA AIRWAYS expects its daily direct flights to the US that it launches for the first time in Oct. to boost annual revenue by 10% from 2019, CEO SEBASTIAN MIKOSZ said yesterday. KENYA AIRWAYS, which is 7.8% owned by AIR FRANCE KLM, has started taking bookings for the flights to New York that will carry 234 passengers each way on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Bidvest acquires Cannon Asset Managers - Nqobile Dludla (BVT) 12/01/18 07:18:00

BIDVEST FINANCIAL SERVICES yesterday announced it has acquired CANNON ASSET MANAGERS as part of an acquisition drive to expand into investment management. BFS said it will take a controlling stake in CANNON from CITADEL HOLDINGS. "Our acquisition of CANNON is a key building block in the expansion of our financial services business", BFS MD JAPIE VAN NIEKERK said. He did not disclose how much BFS was paying for the business. CANNON specialises in investments that span domestic and global asset classes. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Zambia sees mining revenue rising on higher copper price - Chris Mfula () 12/01/18 07:18:00

Zambia expects to collect more revenue from mining companies this year compared to 2017 after copper prices rose above $7 000/t, the Zambia Revenue Authority said yesterday. ZRA Commissioner-General KINGSLEY CHANDA said the authority was targeting a revenue-to-GDP ratio of 17% this year, higher than the 16.8% of 2017. CHANDA said the tax authority collected net revenue amounting to 39.1bn kwacha, which was 4.1% above the annual budget target of 37.6bn kwacha. The 2018 net revenue target had been set at 44.6bn kwacha, he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


One killed in protest at RBPlat shaft - Tanisha Heiberg (RBP) 12/01/18 07:18:00

ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUM said one person was killed and a conveyor belt was burnt during overnight protests at one of the platinum producer's shafts in the North West province. "An individual within the crowd was shot and killed by live ammunition. Based on preliminary evidence, including video footage, it is believed that the shooting was from within the group of protesters. The deceased was not employed by RBPLAT", the company said in a statement. The incident took place on Wednesday night and a company spokesperson said operations were continuing at the mine. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 12/01/2018 () 12/01/18 07:18:00

At 07h18 on 12 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.37 ZAR/EUR 14.92 ZAR/GBP 16.77 Gold 1329.10 Platinum 989.00 Brent Crude Oil 69.11 All Share 59606.02


India bans PwC from auditing listed companies for 2 years - Simon Mundy () 11/01/18 10:39:00

India's securities regulator has banned the global accountancy firm PWC from auditing listed companies in the country for two years, after it failed to spot a $1.7bn fraud at defunct SATYAM COMPUTER SERVICES. In a damning report, the Securities and Exchange Board of India wrote that PwC had neglected to check "glaring anomalies" in the financial details reported by SATYAM, whose downfall was one of India's worst financial scandals in recent years. For about five years beginning in 2002, SATYAM inflated its revenue by accounting for 7 561 fake invoices. The fraud persisted in part because PwC "did not independently check the veracity of the monthly bank statements", SEBI said. Instead, it relied on assurances from SATYAM "without any further examination or inquiry into the matter and ignored the balance confirmations received directly from banks which were showing true balance". As well as the auditing suspension, SEBI ordered PwC to disgorge wrongful gains of around Rs130m. PwC said it was "disappointed", adding that it would seek a stay on the order before it became effective at end-Mar. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Updated market indicators for 11/01/2018 () 11/01/18 10:39:00

At 10h38 on 11 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.45 ZAR/EUR 14.88 ZAR/GBP 16.80 Gold 1317.20 Platinum 970.00 Brent Crude Oil 69.03 All Share 59495.61


Richemont sales rise at fastest pace in 4 years - Corinne Gretler, Bloomberg (CFR) 11/01/18 10:39:00

RICHEMONT today reported its fastest holiday sales growth in four years, boosted by demand in Asia. Revenue rose 7% excluding currency shifts in the quarter through Dec., the luxury goods group said. Analysts predicted 5.9%. Still, wholesale revenue fell as retailers struggled to reduce inventory. RICHEMONT does not report profit for its fiscal third quarter. Total revenue amounted to €3.12bn, just ahead of the €3.1bn estimate. Revenue in Asia Pacific, which accounted for nearly 40% of total sales in H1, gained 11%. Analysts forecast 12% for that region. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Angola president sacks Dos Santos son as head of sovereign wealth fund - Herculano Coroado () 11/01/18 10:39:00

Angolan President JOAO LOURENCO yesterday removed the son of his long-serving predecessor JOSE EDUARDO DOS SANTOS as head of the country's $5bn sovereign wealth fund, the latest in a series of moves that sidelined DOS SANTOS allies. LOURENCO announced he was replacing the board of the fund, including its head JOSE FILOMENO DOS SANTOS, after an external inquiry into the fund's performance and governance. CARLOS ALBERTO LOPES, a former finance minister, was appointed as the new board chair. LOURENCO in Dec. dismissed the former president's daughter ISABEL DOS SANTOS as chair of state oil company SONANGOL, replacing her with CARLOS SATURNINO, an oil industry veteran. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China's premier expects 6.9% GDP growth for 2017 - Alice Woodhouse () 11/01/18 10:39:00

Chinese Premier LI KEQIANG said the economy performed better than expected in 2017 and expects annual GDP growth of around 6.9%. In comments reported by state news agency Xinhua from a speech given last night, LI said the Chinese economy had performed above expectations in 2017 as trade reserved two years of declines. China had an FY GDP target of "around 6.5%" for 2017. LI said the economy's strength came as a result of the government shunning strong stimulus policies and its push for supply-side reforms. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Bitcoin dives as S Korea prepares cryptocurrency ban - Alice Woodhouse () 11/01/18 10:39:00

Bitcoin slid as much as 14% today after South Korea's justice minister said the government was working on a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading amid a clampdown on virtual currencies in one of the world's most exuberant makets. The price of bitcoin fell below $13 000 after Justice Minister PARK SANG-KI said there ware "great concerns regarding virtual currencies" and that his ministry was preparing a bill to ban trading on exchanges. Bitcoin fell as much as 14% to a low of $12 800 on the Bitstamp exchange in afternoon trading in Asia following the comments. A bill to ban cryptocurrency trading would need to be passed by the country's parliament and could face opposition. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China forex regulator disputes report on Treasuries purchasing policy - Hudson Lockett () 11/01/18 10:39:00

China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange today called into question the accuracy of a Bloomberg report that Beijing was considering slowing or halting its purchases of US debt. The regulator said that "in recent days there have been some media reports" that China was considering slowing or halting its purchases of US Treasuries. "We believe this information may have been attributed to the wrong source or could be fake news". It added that the government departments which manage China's reserves "are all responsible investors, and related investment activities have promoted the stability of international financial markets and the preservation and appreciation of China's foreign exchange reserves". Bloomberg yesterday reported, citing unnamed sources, that senior government officials in Beijing had recommended slowing of halting such purchases while reviewing China's forex holdings. That report spared a sell-off of Treasuries that saw yields on 10-year notes climb to a 10-month high. Yields on said sovereign bonds were down 2 bps in Asia trading this morning at 2.537%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


S Korea raids major cryptocurrency exchanges - Song Jung-a () 11/01/18 10:39:00

South Korea's leading cryptocurrency exchanges have been raided by local tax authorities as the government steps up its crackdown on the world's third-largest digital currency market. The move comes as the country is considering taxing capital gains from cryptocurrency trading as fevered demand has driven South Korean traders to pay premiums of more than 40% over international rates for bitcoin. Bithumb and Coinone today said officials from the National Tax Service visited their offices on Wednesday and gathered some information about cryptocurrency trading. "They asked for some data such as cryptocurrency trading volume, our exchange's sales and whether we are paying corporate tax", a Coinone spokesperson said. Coinone is also under police investigation since late Dec. over the margin trading service which allows traders to short sell digital currencies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ping An Real Estate, Landsea plan $1.5bn fund for China developments - Hudson Lockett () 11/01/18 10:39:00

The real estate unit of PING AN INSURANCE GROUP and Hong Kong-based developer LANDSEA GREEN PROPERTIES have announced plans for a $1.5bn fund to support joint developments in major Chinese cities. LANDSEA said it and PING AN REAL ESTATE were planning to jointly invest in long-term rental apartment projects in top-tier Chinese cities including Beijing andShanghai, as well as second-tier cities like Nanjing, with target asset management scale for a joint fund to this end set at around Rmb10bn. The parties had agreed that LANDSEA woudl manage the apartment projects and that the fund would eventually exit said developments by way of real estate investment trusts "after the steady operation of each project". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ferrero nears $2.8bn deal for Nestle's US chocolate business - Arash Massoudi () 11/01/18 09:53:00

Italy's FERRERO is on the verge of formalising a $2.8bn deal to acquire NESTLE's US confectionery business. FERRERO prevailed in an auction process over US rival HERSHEY and private equity RHONE CAPITAL and is set to sign off on a deal on Sunday, according to sources. The deal will move FERRERO closer to rivals HERSHEY and MARS in the US market, which NESTLE is existing after deciding it was unwilling to make further investments to keep pace with the competition. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Coca-Cola hopes to put fizz back in Diet Coke sales with brand revamp - Jessica Dye () 11/01/18 09:53:00

COCA-COLA is hoping to make millennials thirsty for their no-calorie Diet Coke beverage with a "full brand restage" in North America, including the introduction of four new flavours. While Diet Coke will still be available in its classic formulation, it will also now come in flavours including Ginger Lime, Fiesty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange and Twisted Mango. The brand will also get a new look, with the revamped beverage line set to hit store shelves in mid-Jan. COCA-COLA's most recent quarterly results, published in Oct., showed that Diet Coke sales volumes fell in the mid-single digits over the three-month period in North America, while sales of Sprite, coffee and tea grew. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Bitcoin energy demand in 2018 could match Argentina - Mamta Badkar () 11/01/18 09:53:00

Electricity consumption for bitcoin this year could be as great as or even exceed that used by global electric vehicles in 2025 and Argentina, MORGAN STANLEY said yesterday. Bitcoin is mined by solving complex mathematical problems whose solutions are used to validate new transactions that are added to the blockchain ledger. All that mining requires a large amount of computational energy use. "Bitcoin power demand in 2018 (c.120-140TWh equating to 0.6% of world consumption, or consumption of Argentina), will, in our view, be bigger than our projected global EV demand in 2025 (c.125TWh), but is still small on an absolute basis and will not likely have a material impact on utility stocks any time soon", MORGAN STANLEY analysts wrote. The noted that bitcoin demand "may represent a new business opportunity for renewable energy developers and that many utility companies like NEXTERA, IBERDROLA, ENEL and even Big Oil is moving into the renewables space". MORGAN STANLEY estimates the cost of creating an individual Bitcoin at between $3 000 to $7 000. Low cost regions likely to be favoured for mining include Mexico, Norway, China, Canada and the US. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


NYC sues Big Oil over climate change - Attracta Mooney () 11/01/18 09:53:00

BP, CHEVRON, CONOCOPHILLIPS, EXXONMOBIL and ROYAL DUTCH SHELL are facing a lawsuit for "billions of dollars" after New York City accused the oil majors of contributing to climate change. Mayor BILL DE BLASIO said the city had filed a lawsuit, seeking damages from the five companies to "protect New Yorkers from the effects of climate change". He also announced a goal for its $189bn pension funds to pull out of fossil fuel companies. NYC's five pension funds hold $5bn in the securities of over 190 fossil fuel companies. "We're bringing the fight against climate change straight to the fossil fuel companies that knew about its effects and intentionally misled the public to protect their profits", DE BLASIO said. The city said the mayor and comptroller SCOTT STRINGER would submit a "joint resolution to pension fund trustees to begin analysing ways to divest from fossil fuel owners in a responsible way that is fully consistent with fiduciary obligations". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US crude stockpiles fall, gasoline and distillates keep rising - Jessica Dye () 11/01/18 09:53:00

US crude inventories fell again, while stockpiles of gasoline and distillate fuels continued to rise. Data from the US Energy Information Administration yesterday showed crude stockpiles falling by 4.9m barrels, steeper than the 3.89m barrel draw that analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected. Gasoline inventories gained by 4.1m barrels, putting them, near the top of the average range. Analysts were looking for a smaller 2.6m barrel build. Inventories of distillates grew by 4.3m barrels, well above the 1.45m barrel gain analysts were expecting. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Sanjeev Gupta buys smelter from Rio Tinto - Neil Hume () 11/01/18 09:53:00

British industrialist SANJEEV GUPTA has outlined his ambitions to build a global aluminium business after reaching an agreement to acquire Europe's biggest smelter from RIO TINTO for $500m. GUPTA said the purchase of the 280 000t/year Dunkerque smelter was part of a €2bn plan to build a manufacturing business in northern France producing components for the automotive industry. GUPTA said the GFG ALLIANCE, his family's privately-owned conglomerate, wanted to capitalise on the trend to build lighter vehicles that are more fuel efficient by developing manufacturing activities around the smelter, which employs almost 600 workers and is powered by nuclear energy supplied by EDF. "It's a profitable business, certainly in today's market, but in the long-term it needs to add value to the aluminium to remain profitable", GUPTA said. RIO is also seeking buyers for its Isal smelter in Reykjavik and its Pacific Aluminium business as it looks to focus on its best performing assets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Brazil inflation ends 2017 below official target range - Andres Schipnai () 11/01/18 09:53:00

Inflation in Brazil eased in Dec. with the annual rate ending the year at 2.95%. While this was above analysts' forecasts, it remains the lowest annual rate since 1998. Brazil's measure of CPI rose 0.44% in Dec. compared to the previous month, the highest spike in 2017, statistics agency IBGE said yesterday. Consumer prices then closed the year for the first time below the central bank's inflation target range of 4.5% plus or minus 1.5 percentage points. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Repsol considering €4bn sale of stake in Gas Natural - Michael Stothard () 11/01/18 09:53:00

REPSOL is considering selling its 20% stake in Spanish utility GAS NATURAL, and has been contacted by private equity group CVC about a possible deal. REPSOL issued a statement via Spain's market regulator saying it had received interest from several investors, including CVC, about buying the stake, which would be worth around €4.1bn at current market prices. It said that as part of its strategic plan for 2016-2020 it regularly analyses different options for the Gas Natural stake, but that no decision has been made. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


UK manufacturing carves out longest run of expansion since 1997 - Gavin Jackson () 11/01/18 09:53:00

Britain's manufacturing sector expanded for a seventh consecutive month for the first time in over 20 years during Nov., according to industrial production figures published by the Office for National Statistics. The sector grew by 0.4% during the month, up from a rate of 0.1% during Oct. and higher than consensus forecasts of 0.3% growth. Overall industrial production, which includes utilities and the North Sea oil and gas fields, also expanded by 0.4%, above the 0.3% consensus forecast. During the three months to end-Nov., manufacturing output was 3.9% higher y/y. The UK's manufacturing sector has been supported by stronger global growth and the post-Brexit referendum fall in the exchange rate recently. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Norway's oil fund looks to begin investing in private equity - Richard Milne () 11/01/18 09:53:00

Norway's $1.1tn sovereign wealth fund should be able to invest in unlisted equities in a big potential shift in strategy, according to a recommendation from its manager. The sovereign wealth fund would first consider investing in private equity funds or alongside them as part of a gradual approach, NORGES BANK INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT said. The oil fund should be able to own more than 10% of an unlisted company as it is able to do with its unlisted property investments, according to advice from the country's finance ministry. The fund is currently only able to own less than 10% of listed companies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Toyota, Mazda announce $1.6bn plant for Alabama - David Shephardson () 11/01/18 08:51:00

TOYOTA MOTOR CORP and MAZDA MOTOR CORP yesterday said they will build a $1.6bn joint assembly plant in Alabama that will employ some 4 000 workers. TOYOTA president AKIO TOYODA and MAZDA CEO MASAMICHI KOGAI joined Alabama Governor KAY IVEY in Montgomery at an event ot announce the decision. The plant will be built in Huntsville, and will produce 300 000 vehicles a year. It should open on a 2 500 acre former cotton field in 2021, about 30km from TOYOTA's engine plant in Huntsville. TOYOTA plans to build Corolla vehicles at the plant, while MAZDA will build crossover SUVs. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Hyundai invests in ride-hailing firm Grab - Joyce Lee () 11/01/18 08:51:00

HYUNDAI MOTOR today announced it had invested in Singapore-based ride-hailing firm GRAB, in the company's first foray into the rapidly growing sector as it tries to diversify following a sales slump in China. The parties will jointly develop services in Southeast Asia, including one utilising HYUNDAI's eco-friendly models such as the IONIQ Electric. They did not disclose the value of HYUNDAI's investment and a spokesperson for the company declined to comment further. GRAB's latest fundraising round already includes investors such as DIDI CHUXING, SOFTBANK and TOYOTA TSUSHO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


L4L announces Holdsport management restructure - Sens (L4L) 11/01/18 08:51:00

Following the acquisition by LONG4LIFE of HOLDSPORT in Nov. 2017, and in line with the former' s decentralisation philosophy, the management of the HOLDSPORT operating divisions will report directly to the LONG4LIFE executive. Pursuant to this restructure, KEVIN HODGSON will resign from his role as CEO and director of HOLDSPORT, with effect from Mar. 1. He will continue to support L4L's Sport and Recreation unit in a consulting capacity, working alongside BRIAN JOFFE and the executive team. HODGSON retains a significant stake in L4L and is supportive of its long-term strategy. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Datatec share drops almost half on Wednesday morning - Nich Hedley (DTC) 11/01/18 08:51:00

DATATEC's share price fell as much as 44% to a low of R31.61 yesterday morning from Tuesday's R56 closing price. The drop equated to R24.39, which is more than the R23 in cash or shares that shareholders on its register on Tuesday are scheduled to receive. Due to the hefty tax South Africans are now charged on dividends - raised to 20% from 15% in the tax year under way - DATATEC offered its shareholders the alternative of receiving 67.2 new shares for every 100 shares held in lieu of R23 cash before tax. The scrip alternative, however, was limited to 63.5m new shares. The special dividend followed DATATEC's decision to distribute $350m of the money it received from the sales of various subsidiaries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Parliament eyes Mar. deadline for impeachment process rules to be final - Linda Ensor () 11/01/18 08:51:00

A subcommittee of Parliament's rules committee is hoping to finalise parliamentary rules for the impeachment of a sitting president by the end of Mar. The subcommittee met yesterday to take forward the process begun several years ago to formulate impeachment process rules. It was prompted into action by a ruling of the Constitutional Court that it do this without delay. The Court handed down judgment late in Dec. in a case brought by the EFF, the UDM and COPE. The parties asked for an order declaring that the National Assembly had failed to put in place mechanisms and processes to hold President JACOB ZUMA accountable, for failing to implement the remedial action ordered by former public protector THULI MADONSELA in relation to the misuse of state resources on the upgrade of his Nkandla residence. The parties also sought an order compelling the National Assembly to convene a committee to investigate whether the president was guilty of any impeachable conduct under section 89 of the constitution. In a majority judgment, the Court ruled that a prerequisite for the removal of the president was the holding of a factual inquiry into whether there had been a serious violation of the Constitution or the law, serious misconduct or the inability to perform the functions of office. The judgment also found that parliamentary committees and ad hoc committees were not suited for this purpose. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Court approves postponement of silicosis case - Lameez Omarjee () 11/01/18 08:51:00

The Supreme Court of Appeal has granted a postponement of the silicosis class action appeal as parties try to settle out of court. This is according to a statement issued by the Occupational Lung Disease Working Group. The South Gauteng High Court in May 2016 ruled in favour of miners who contracted silicosis in the mines and wanted to launch a class action suit. In Sep. 2017, Bloomberg reported that the mining companies had set aside $390m for a settlement, but an agreement had not yet been finalised. ALAN FINE, spokesperson for the working group, explained that if a settlement agreement is reached, the case would likely not go forward. For now that is, however, just speculation. The appeal was to have been heard between Mar. 19 and 23 this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SA iStore to replace affected iPhone batteries - Fin24 () 11/01/18 08:51:00

South Africans will have to fork out R249.78 to replace ageing iPhone batteries that are slowing down older phones. Owners of iPhone SE, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7 and 7 Plus who suspect that their battery might need to be replaced should visit www.myistore.co.za/help-centre to make a technical appointment from today. The customer's iPhone will be assessed in store, and if eligible under this programme, will be sent for battery replacement. Online booking is essential. iStore said the in-store technical appointment fee of R200 usually applicable to non-iStore customers will be waived for this battery replacement programme for a limited time only, provided that an appointment has been booked online. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Aspen CEO defends earnings amid post-Steinhoff share jitters - Janice Kew (APN) 11/01/18 08:51:00

ASPEN PHARMACARE CEO STEPHEN SAAD yesterday said FY earnings are "completely clear" and the company has nothing in common with scandal-hit STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL. Responding to a slump in the share price, the company said it was aware of speculation that VICEROY RESEARCH, which published a report into STEINHOFF's accounts last month, is preparing a similar dossier on ASPEN. ASPEN said it has had no contact with VICEROY and "is not aware of any information of a price-sensitive nature that requires communication to shareholders". The shares pared losses and closed 4.6% lower at R250.13 in Johannesburg, the lowest since Feb. 2016. "It is sad that unscrupulous operators can abuse the fear in the market for their own greed", SAAD said, adding that "STEINHOFF is as similar to ASPEN as A is to S in the alphabet". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Foreign investors allowed to own 49% of Air India in privatisation plan - Kiran Stacey () 11/01/18 08:50:00

Foreign investors will be allowed to own 49% of AIR INDIA when it is privatised, New Delhi announced yesterday. The Indian government said it would allow foreign companies to take a non-controlling stake in the struggling airline as part of long-running plans to sell it off. SINGAPORE AIRLINES is one of the foreign companies which is most likely to bid. Meanwhile, Indian ministers also decided to make it easier for foreign retailers to set up in India, without having to partner with local companies. New Delhi said foreign investors would no longer require government approval to invest more than 49% in an Indian single-brand retail business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


LG to start operating US washing machine factory in Q4 2018 - Joyce Lee () 11/01/18 08:50:00

LG ELECTRONICS plans to start operating its new washing machine factory in the US in Q4 2018, CEO JO SEONG-JIN said today. The start date for the Tennessee factory now being constructed has been moved forward from a previous target of Feb. 2019, JO said on the sidelines of a trade show. In November, the US International Trade Commission recommended tariffs to keep LG and SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS from selling inexpensive washers in the US market, a step that would benefit US appliance maker WHIRLPOOL. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Business seems more confident - Megan van Wyngaardt () 11/01/18 07:43:00

Business sentiment in SA showed yet another m/m improvement, with SACCI reporting a 1.3 index point uptick in its Business Confidence Index for Dec. The index now stood at 96.4, following on the improved business mood in Nov. and was nearly seven index points higher than the lowest 2017 BCI level of 89.6 in Aug. It was still below the 97.7 starting point for 2017. "The current improvement in the business mood is only partially explained by the BCI as political developments taking place in the Southern African region are contributed to raise expectations. The anticipation for more policy certainty and sustainable growth orientated domestic economic policy, global economic growth and a probable fresh approach towards business and investor challenges, should further augment the business mood", SACCI said. Four of the 13 subindices that comprise the BCI had a positive m/m impact in Dec., while five subindices moved sideways and four were negative. Meanwhile, five of the seven real economic subindices had either neutral or positive m/m impacts on the index in Dec., and implied improving activity in the short term. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Silicosis trust has awarded quarter of settlement to qualifying former mineworkers - Natasha Odendaal (ANG) 11/01/18 07:43:00

A trust formed in 2016 to compensate a group of former ANGLO AMERICAN SA and ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI employees who suffer from silica-related illnesses has already distributed around R102m of the R395m settlement. The Qhubeka Trust was established in Mar. 2016 following the successful conclusion of a lengthy compensation battle by two attorneys on behalf of 4 365 former mineworkers who may be suffering from silica-related occupational lung diseases. The trust has until Apr. 2019 to complete medical assessments of all claimants and make the first tranche of compensation payments to qualifying claimants. To date, about 2 350 of the 4 365 claimants have undergone the medial assessments. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Barrick, Premier ink wide-ranging Nevada focused pact - Henry Lazenby () 11/01/18 07:43:00

BARRICK GOLD has signed a comprehensive exploration and development agreement with PREMIER GOLD MINES that include toll-milling and exploration earn-in options for both companies at the McCoy-Cove and Rye projects. Under the terms of the agreement, BARRICK will have an option to earn a 60% stake in the exploration portion of PREMIER's McCoy-Cove property by spending $22.5m in exploration before Jun. 30 2022. Further, PREMIER will retain 100% ownership over the Cove deposit portion of the McCoy-Cove property that includes the high-grade Helen, 2201 and CSD/CSD Gap deposits. PREMIER will also have an option to acquire a 100% interest in BARRICK's Rye Vein property, subject to a back-in right by BARRICK, by spending $3m in exploration before Dec. 31 2019. BARRICK will hold an option to earn a 60% stake in the JV property subject to it making a firm commitment to spend $6m in exploration before Jun. 30, 2019, with PREMIER as operator at the direction of a steering committing, following which BARRICK will have the option to become the operator. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Rosneft decides against bid for Alrosa's gas assets for now - Reuters () 11/01/18 07:43:00

ROSNEFT has decided against bidding for gas assets being sold by ALROSA, at least for now, the Russian energy company said yesterday, saying the auction terms were unacceptable. ALROSA plans to sell its gas assets in Russia's Yamalo-Nenets region in an auction on Feb. 19 and has set a starting price of 30bn roubles. ROSNEFT and subsidiary BASHNEFT had applied to the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service for clearance to take part in the auction. ROSNEFT spokesperson MIKHAIL LEONTYEV said the company had misgivings about the resources of the deposits. It also did not agree with the sales terms, according to which the future buyer would not be able to log claims with the seller in the event the resource turns out to be lower than initially stated. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Port Hedland may clear ships as storm builds off Australia - Reuters () 11/01/18 07:43:00

Vessels may be cleared from Australia's Port Hedland as early as today as a safety precaution because of a tropical storm, port manager Pilbara Ports Authority said yesterday. It said the port may start clearing vessels this morning if the tropical low builds overnight into a cyclone off the Western Australia coastline. Port Hedland is used by BHP, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP and HANCOCK PROSPECTING. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Output, exports from Cerrejon fell in 2017 - Reuters (AGL) 11/01/18 07:43:00

Production and exports at Colombia's Cerrejon thermal coal mine fell in 2017 for the third consecutive year as heavy rainfall affected operations. Output reached 31.9mt in 2017, 0.3% below the previous year. Exports totalled 31.7mt, a drop of 2.4% compared with 2016, the mine said. Cerrejon belongs in equal parts to BHP, ANGLO AMERICAN and GLENCORE. Colombia produced 65.1mt of coal in the first nine months of 2017, 4.4% lower y/y. It set a production target above 90mt for 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Lewis, SACCAWU square up over job losses - Luyolo Mkentane (LEW) 11/01/18 07:43:00

LEWIS GROUP and SACCAWU are battling it out at the Competition Tribunal after the former retrenched hundreds of employees before acquiring high-end furniture retailer UNITED FURNITURE OUTLETS for R320m in 2017. The union is fighting the deal, saying around 400 workers were retrenched in 2016 to "smoothen up" the transaction. SACCAWU officials submitted during a Competition Tribunal hearing in Pretoria yesterday that the retrenchments, which started in earnest in Dec. 2016, were continuing in "different provinces of the country". The union believes that LEWIS wielded the axe on workers as an attempt to reduce the duplication of functions once the merger was concluded. The Competition Commission said this was unlikely, and it has also recommended that the Tribunal approve the merger on condition that the merging parties would not retrench employees as a result of the deal for two years from the date of the merger. Tribunal chair NORMAN MANOIM said they did not know the timing of the retrenchments in relation to the timing of the transaction, but the Commission countered this, saying it was unlikely there was a link between the two issues. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Kibo takes another step as advances MCPP - David McKay (KBO) 11/01/18 07:43:00

The Tanzania government would sign an MoU with KIBO MINING by end-Jan. which would pave the way for a power purchase agreement - a document without which the company's Mbeya Coal to Power Project cannot proceed. Whilst acknowledging the progress, KIBO CEO LOUIS COETZEE made the point that the MoU were merely a means to an end. "We should be very clear on the fact tat the most important date at this stage is not the date on which the MoU is signed... but the date on which we have a final PPA in hand", COETZEE said. This followed a meeting with the Tanzanian Ministry of Energy on Jan. 8. "At the meeting on Monday, the commitment of all stakeholders was secured for a firm expedited PPA date, demonstrating positive progress", COETZEE added. He noted that the government proposed some amendments to the MoU "to create a streamlined process and procedure". No details of the changes were made public, but COETZEE said they had been required to secure the MoU. It was now hoped that the PPA would be in hand by the close of Q1 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Tharisa set for robust 2018 as Q1 output numbers hit fresh records - David McKay (THA) 11/01/18 07:43:00

THARISA kicked off its 2018 FY in rude health taking mining volumes from both chrome and PGMs to fresh highs whilst even the PGM basket price cooperated with improvements in the palladium price. Q1 chrome concentrate production came in at 365 800t, a 1.5% rise on the previous quarter's record while speciality chrome concentrate output totalled 88 000t, a 5.5% rise q/q. PGM output at 38 800oz was described as solid. Commenting on its Q1 review, THARISA said the chrome market was in good shape. "The market fundamentals for chrome remain sound with continued growth forecast for the global stainless steel industry", it said. "PGM basket prices continued to reflect improvements in spot palladium and rhodium prices with palladium comprising 16.6% and rhodium comprising 9.4% of the THARISA basket", the company said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 11/01/2018 () 11/01/18 07:43:00

At 07h43 on 11 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.41 ZAR/EUR 14.85 ZAR/GBP 16.76 Gold 1319.29 Platinum 972.00 Brent Crude Oil 69.03 All Share 59979.63


Naspers said to plan R2.5bn backing to Swiggy in India - Loni Prinsloo, Bloomberg (NPN) 10/01/18 10:04:00

NASPERS is in talks to lead an investment of up to R2.5bn in India's SWIGGY to increase its stake in the online food-delivery company. NASPERS plans to team up with TENCENT to put together the new financing round, sources said. The talks come after LARRY ILLG, the head of NASPERS' new investments unit, told investors last month that order volumes at SWIGGY have more than doubled y/y and that the global food delivery industry is still at an early stage of development. NASPERS invested an initial $80m in SWIGGY in May. That preceded a €660m purchase of shares in Germany's DELIVERY HERO in Sep. SWIGGY is the largest food delivery business in India. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Old Mutual restructuring gets nod from Minister Patel - Linda Ensor (OML) 10/01/18 10:01:00

Economic Development Minister EBRAHIM PATEL has welcomed OLD MUTUAL's decision to make SA the primary base for all of its emerging market activities, a move that comes with a commitment to public interest undertaking including a R500m development fund. PATEL made his comments yesterday, a day before the Competition Tribunal considers the Competition Commission's recommendation to approve OLD MUTUAL LTD's takeover of control of OLD MUTUAL PLC. PATEL said the move "back home" of one of SA's premier financial institutions would help to inject investor confidence in the economy, and was "a well-timed signal that we can grow the economy in the period ahead and unlock the country's potential of job creation and economic inclusion". The public interest commitments made by OLD MUTUAL include undertakings not to retrench any workers as a result of the transaction and to ensure that the company achieves best-of-class empowerment status within a prescribed period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Renminbi steadies after PBoC signals greater flexibility - Edward White () 10/01/18 10:01:00

The renminbi steadied today after dipping on Tuesday after the People's Bank of China signalled greater flexibility for foreign currency trading. The offshore renminbi closed 0.6% lower yesterday after reports the central bank had suspended the use of countercyclical adjustment factor. The offshore renminbi was flat today at Rmb6.5335 against the dollar. In other markets, the US currency was steady after firming on Tuesday - the dollar index, measuring the greenback against a basket of peers was off 0.1%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Philippines trade deficit hits highest on record - Alice Woodhouse () 10/01/18 10:01:00

The Philippines' trade deficit rose to its highest level on record in Nov. as export growth slowed. The trade deficit widened to $3.78bn from $2.84bn in Oct., according to the country's statistics agency, the largest on record based on data from Reuters dating back to 1957. The figure was also higher than a median of economists' estimates of $2.68bn compiled by Bloomberg. The value of exports rose 1.6% y/y in Nov., the slowest pace for 2017 and short of forecasts of 9% growth. This was also below the 6.6% growth recorded in Oct. The value of outbound shipments rose to $4.96bn on double-digit growth for six out of the ten major commodities as the exports of electronic products rose 12.7% to $2.88bn. Imports climbed 18.5% to $6.37bn, coming in higher than a median forecast of a 9.7% increase and higher than the 13.1% growth seen in the previous period. Inbound shipments of electronics products accounted for 27.7% of total imports. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Sainsbury's lifts profit guidance - Cat Rutter Pooley () 10/01/18 10:01:00

A good Christmas and better than expected cost savings from the integration of the ARGOS business boosted SAINSBURY's, which today raised its FY profit expectations. Grocery sales outperformed clothing and general merchandise, rising 2.3% in the 15 weeks to Jan. 6 - the group's third quarter - compared to a 0.3% rise y/y. That was below the 3% climb in like-for-like sales rival WM MORRISON reported yesterday. Total like-for-like sales excluding fuel rose 1.1% at SAINSBURY's, ahead of sales performance in Q2 but still slower than its Q1 growth rate. Total retail sales grew 1.2%, down from 1.6% y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Brussels warns UK companies of shut-out in event of no-deal Brexit - Alex Barker () 10/01/18 10:01:00

The EU is systematically warning UK companies of a regulatory chill after Brexit as it seeks to accelerate the private sector's preparations for a no-deal UK exit. Even as negotiators neared a breakthrough in Brexit divorce talks, EU regulators issued a flurry of "be prepared" memos to about 15 industries in Nov. and Dec., ranging from drugmakers and seafarers to hauliers and airlines that rely on UK operating licences. The documents call on companies to be ready for the UK to become "a third country" on Mar. 29, 2019, with no automatic right to operate in the single market. They further warn that operating licences will automatically lapse after Brexit and that many groups may have to create EU entities for continuity of business. The warnings triggered an angry response from Brexit secretary DAVID DAVIS, who accuses the EU of measures that could jeopardise existing contracts or force British companies to decamp to the continent if the two sides fail to reach a deal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Updated market indicators for 10/01/2018 () 10/01/18 10:01:00

At 10h00 on 10 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.40 ZAR/EUR 14.80 ZAR/GBP 16.76 Gold 1310.75 Platinum 957.00 Brent Crude Oil 69.15 All Share 60092.18


Rand will average R13.10/$ in 2018 - BMI - Robert Laing () 10/01/18 10:00:00

The rand will weaken to average around R13.10 to the dollar during 2018, from the R12.40/$ where it started the year, BMI Research said today. "A challenging macroeconomic and political environment, alongside increasingly uncompetitive real interest rates, will see the unit steadily depreciate" to about R14.10/$ in 2019, BMI said. It said scope for further rand strength is undermined by what it believes was an overly optimistic reaction to CYRIL RAMAPHOSA's successful nomination as ANC president. "RAMAPHOSA's selection is undoubtedly a positive step towards reform for the region's largest economy, but he will face still opposition from traditionalist candidates that have been successfully nominated to other key posts within the party leadership. This opposition will slow the pace of any reform agenda, potentially disappointing foreign investors", BMI said. "We therefore see a strong likelihood that sentiment towards the rand will sour within the next six months as investors realise they have overestimated the potential for reform under a RAMAPHOSA-led government". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Rio Tinto set to sell Dunkerque aluminium smelter to UK's 'Man of Steel' - Neil Hume () 10/01/18 09:11:00

RIO TINTO has accepted an offer for its Dunkerque aluminium smelter from SANJEEV GUPTA, the acquisitive UK industrialist. The planned purchase is the latest in a spree of deals by GUPTA, who over the past few years has emerged from relative obscurity to build a business empire ranging from power plants and mines to steel mills and car component makers. RIO and LIBERTY HOUSE refused to comment on the deal, which was first reported by Metal Bulletin. The sale agreement will trigger a three-month consultation period with French workers and other stakeholders. Once that has been completed, the transaction can proceed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Kodak surges on cryptocurrency, blockchain pivot - Jessica Dye () 10/01/18 09:11:00

KODAK is hoping to capture the magic of two buzz-worthy technologies: cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Shares of EASTMAN KODAK shot up 40% to $4.40 yesterday after it announced it had partnered with WENN DIGITAL to launch a blockchain-based image-rights management platform, KODAKONE, and KODAKCOIN, a "photo-centric cryptocurrency to empower photographers and agencies to take greater control in image rights management". "Utilising blockchain technology, the KODAKONE platform will create an encrypted, digital ledger of rights ownership for photographers to register both new and archive work that they can then license within the platform. With KODAKCOIN, participating photographers are invited to take part in a new economy for photography, receive payment for licensing their work immediately upon sale, and for both professional and amateur photographers, sell their work confidently on a secure blockchain platform", KODAK said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US oil output to reach 11m bpd by end-2019 - EIA - Gregory Meyer () 10/01/18 09:11:00

US crude oil output is expected to top 11m bpd by the end of 2019, the government forecast yesterday, breaking previous records as higher petroleum prices trigger a drilling revival in shale fields. The Energy Information Administration's first short-term forecast for 2019 is a ominous portent for an otherwise buoyant oil market. The price of WTI was $62.67/barrel yesterday, up 1.5% and the highest since Dec. 2014. Brent briefly crossed the $69/barrel mark in Tuesday trading before falling back to settle 1.53% higher, at $68.82/barrel. The EIA also sharply raised its outlook for US oil output in 2018, now seeing production averaging 10.3m bpd, or nearly 1m bpd more than in 2017. For 2019, EIA expects crude oil production will average 10.85m bpd, as it rises towards the end of the year. The EIA also pointed to strong increases in oil demand. Total US petroleum and other liquid fuels consumption was forecast to average 20.3m bpd in 2018, up 2.4% from 2017, and another 340 000 bpd, or 1.7% in 2019. Worldwide, the agency sees oil consumption rising by about 1.7m bpd in both 2018 and 2019, led by China and India. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


M&S aims to trim tech bill with new IT plan - Scheherazade Daneshkhu () 10/01/18 09:11:00

MARKS AND SPENCER is to cut its tech bill by reducing suppliers and focusing its IT business on TATA CONSULTANCY SERVICES as principal tech partner. The retailer said it would save £30m a year by 2021 - at a one-off cost of £25m - under what it described as a new technology transformation programme. CEO STEVE ROWE said the new IT plan would make the business "faster, simpler and more focused on achieving a seamless customer experience". M&S said that 250 tech staff would transfer to the IT services company, which is part of India's TATA conglomerate. Another 30 staff would have "individual conversations" about their jobs. The group will report on Christmas trading on Thursday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Boeing deliveries soar in 2017 - Peggy Hollinger () 10/01/18 09:11:00

BOEING signalled another good year for the aircraft market in 2018 despite predicting a slowdown in passenger traffic, after unveiling a record number of deliveries in 2017 and continued buoyant orders. BOEING marketing head RANDY TINSETH said demand for single-aisle aircraft continued to be "very, very strong", with passenger traffic growing more rapidly than airline capacity for the eighth year in a row. BOEING announced 763 deliveries and 912 orders net of cancellations, a tally it expected to enable it to maintain its position as the world's largest aircraft manufacturer. AIRBUS is expected to record between 700 and 720 deliveries and has logged orders before cancellations of around 1 000 - it reports figures next week. BOEING's single-aisle 737 family continued to dominate both categories, with 529 of the narrowbodies delivered to customers and net orders of 745 recorded during the year. TINSETH said the group had also recorded a "very good year" for widebodies, with orders for all variants from the ageing 74 to the newer 787s. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Gecamines calls for overhaul of country's mining - Henry Sanderson () 10/01/18 09:11:00

GECAMINES has called for an overhaul of the DRC's mining code, saying it does not allow the country to benefit from its natural resources. The state-owned miner said the commodities boom that started in 2007 benefited foreign investors more than the Congolese state and local producers. It was therefore following talks in parliament about reforms of the 2002 Mining Code and supported its overhaul. The World Bank-backed 2002 Mining Code was designed to promote transparency and open up the mining sector, after years of private deals that followed the fall of dictator MOBUTO SESE SEKO in 1997. The code also allowed GECAMINES to assume a prominent role as the "gatekeeper to the mots desirable mining assets". That has meant most foreign mining companies have had to partner with the state-owned miner to operate in the DRC. GECAMINES has maintained that many of its partnerships with foreign mining companies have provided no dividends since the companies have consistently reported financial losses. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


AMD slips after Microsoft stops 'Meltdown' patches for PCs with its chips - Adam Samson () 10/01/18 09:11:00

AMD shares came under pressure in pre-market trading in New York yesterday after MICROSOFT said it had temporarily halted patches for the security bugs known as Meltdown and Spectre for PCs that use some of its processors. MICROSOFT said it had received reports from some PC users that the recent updates to Windows were placing them in an "unbootable state". The updates are part of a plan to protect PCs from the Meltdown and Spectre flaws in processor design. MICROSOFT said it investigated the customer reports and "determined that some AMD chipsets do not conform to the documentation previously provided to MICROSOFT to develop the Windows operating system mitigations to protect against the chipset vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown". MICROSOFT said it was working with AMD to come up with a solution. The news sent AMD sliding 2.7% in pre-market trading. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Turkey plans to issue new 10-yr dollar-denominated bond - Kate Allen () 10/01/18 09:11:00

Turkey is issuing a 10-year, dollar-denominated bond today, with initial pricing indications pointing to a yield of 5.4%. CITI, DEUTSCHE BANK and HSBC are acting as bookrunners. Turkey last issued dollar-denominated 10-year paper a year ago, with a $3.25bn debt-raising in Jan. 2017. That bond was trading at 5.09% yesterday morning. In contrast, its lira-denominated debt was trading at above 11% for the same maturity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China signals greater renminbi flexibility with reported policy shift - Gabriel Wildau () 10/01/18 09:11:00

The People's Bank of China has suspended use of a mechanism it created to support the renminbi exchange rate and push back against capital flight, reflecting increased confidence that the risks of disorderly depreciation have faded. The PBoC has suspended use of a "countercyclical adjustment factor" to calculate its daily guidance for the renminbi exchange rate, according to a report by Bloomberg. In Aug. 2015, the central bank changed the way it sets the central parity rate for renminbi's value against the US dollar. The PBoC allows the market, or spot, rate to rise or fall by no more than 2% from the midpoint it publishes each morning before the market opens. That changes was designed to give market forces greater influence over the exchange rate. Instead of setting the midpoint through an opaque and unpredictable process, the central bank pledged to use a simple formula based on the previous day's spot close plus overnight changes in the dollar's value against a basket of global currencies. Bloomberg reported that the central bank instructed market-making banks to suspend use of the countercyclical factor. The Chinese currency was 0.4% weaker in after-hours trading on Tuesday. The reported move likely reflects official confidence that depreciation pressure has diminished. After suffering its worst year on record in 2016, the Chinese currency regained almost all of its lost ground last year. After falling through most of 2015 and 2016, China's forex reserves have risen for 11 consecutive months. At end-Dec., they hit their highest level since Sep. 2016 at $3.14tn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Eurozone jobless rate hits lowest level in almost nine years - Claire Jones () 10/01/18 09:11:00

The eurozone's unemployment rate has hit its lowest rate for almost nine years. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell to 8.7% in Nov., down from 8.8% in Oct., Eurostat said yesterday. It is the lowest rate since Jan. 2009 and brings unemployment below the pre-crisis average. Substantial divergences remain - in Germany and Malta, unemployment is just 3.6%. In Greece, it remains above 20%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


German industrial and trade data blast through forecasts - Nicholas Megaw () 10/01/18 08:09:00

German industrial output rose by 3.4% m/m in Nov., its largest monthly rise since Sep. 2009. Some rebound was expected after holidays and unseasonable weather affected output the previous month, but the extent of the rise was well above the 1.8% consensus forecast. That took the y/y rise to 5.6%, from 2.8% the previous month. Separate data on foreign trade suggested the country's producers aren't struggling to find buyers for their increased production. Exports grew 4.1% m/m, while imports rose 2.3%, bringing Germany's overall seasonally adjusted trade surplus to €22.3bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Hyundai Motor considering plant in Southeast Asia after China setback - Hyunjoo Jin () 10/01/18 08:09:00

HYUNDAI MOTOR said it is considering building a car plant in Southeast Asia with Indonesia and Vietnam possible locations - part of efforts to diversify after a sales slump in China. A diplomatic row between Beijing and Seoul last year over the latter's planned deployment of US anti-missile defense system THAAD has hurt HYUNDAI and other South Korean companies that are highly reliant on the Chinese market. The carmaker expects its China sales to reach about 900 000 vehicles in 2018, a recovery from levels last year, vice chair and heir apparent CHUNG EUI-SUN said. The company did not disclose estimate for 2017 China sales but sales of 900 000 would be far below its production capacity of 1.65m vehicles in its biggest market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Boeing sees higher-than-expected airline passenger growth - Alwyn Scott () 10/01/18 08:09:00

BOEING CO yesterday said it expects the number of passengers carried by worldwide airlines to rise by 5.5%-6% this year, faster than historic levels of about 5%, but slower than the growth logged in 2017. The forecast, based on BOEING's study of capacity increases planned by airlines, is down from growth of around 7.25% in 2017. But passenger growth likely will outpace capacity this year, as it has over the last eight years, RANDY TINSETH, BOEING VP of marketing, said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Sovereign Foods abattoir cleared as listeriosis outbreak source - Lameez Omarjee () 10/01/18 08:09:00

SOVEREIGN FOODS yesterday issued a statement indicating that a ban on its abattoir in Hartbeespoort was lifted, after it had been cleared by the Department of Health as being the source of the listeriosis outbreak. The ban was originally placed on the abattoir in Dec. 2017, after environmental health practitioners from the city of Tshwane traced chicken from an affected patient back to it. The abattoir can now resume with food preparation. "We are pleased that the prohibition has been lifted and the abattoir has been declared clean", SOVEREIGN FOODS head of production BLAINE VAN RENSBURG said. VAN RENSBURG added that steps are being taken to ensure that products are "safer" than they already are. SOVEREIGN will install new carcass washing points "above and beyond" legislative requirements. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


World Bank predicts just 1.1% GDP growth for SA in 2018 - Jan Cronje () 10/01/18 08:09:00

SA's economy is expected to grow by just 1.1% in 2018 - one of the lowest rates in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Bank. Of the 43 countries that make up SSA, only two - Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe - were forecast to have lower growth rates than SA in 2018. The World Bank said SSA's growth would likely average around 3.2% in 2018, about 0.1% higher than the world average of 3.1%. Ivory Coast is forecast to expand by 7.2% this year, Senegal by 6.9%, Ethiopia by 8.2%, Tanzania by 6.8% and Kenya by 5.5%. Nigeria and Angola were forecast to grow at 2.5% and 1.6%, respectively. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Trump's tax cut to lower rate for BAT - Fin24 (BTI) 10/01/18 08:09:00

BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO yesterday said its effective tax rate was set to drop following the passage of the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed by President DONALD TRUMP in late Dec. BAT said while the passage of the act would not affect its underlying tax rate for the year to end-2017, it anticipates benefiting from a "non-cash exceptional tax credit as a result of the revaluation of deferred tax balances arising from the acquisition of REYNOLDS AMERICAN". It did not say what the credit would amount to. "For the year to December 31 2018 we currently anticipate that the changes will reduce the group's effective tax rate percentage to the high twenties", BAT said. "All other things being equal, this would result in a benefit of 6% to full-year 2018 earnings per share, supporting our commitment to high single digit earnings growth and increased investment in the roll-out of next generation products". The US tax cut could lift BAT's EPS by 6% in 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


New vehicle sales inch up in 2017, but exports down - Irma Venter () 10/01/18 08:09:00

After spending three years in negative territory, new vehicle sales in SA finally managed to inch forward in 2017, growing by 1.8% to 557 587 units, compared with 2016. New vehicle sales fell by 11.4% in 2016, 4.1% in 2015 and 0.7% in 2014. Data published by the Department of Trade & Industry showed that new passenger car sales rose by 1.9% in 2017 y/y, to 368 068 units. Sales of new bakkies, vans and minibuses rose by 2.6% to 163 346 units. The local new truck market failed to deliver the same cheer, with medium truck sales down 6.4% y/y to 7 785 units and heavy truck sales down 1.6% to 18 387 units. New vehicle exports from SA, at 329 053 units, were down 4.6% on the 344 820 units exported in 2016. Domestic production fell from 600 007 units in 2016 to 588 000 units. Assuming continued improvement in the global economy, NAAMSA expected 2018 exports to improve by around 11% to reach 366 000 units. Domestic production was expected to rise by 8% to 635 000 units. NAAMSA expected new vehicle sales to grow by 2.6% in 2018, to reach 572 000 units. Growth was expected in all segments of the market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Aspen denies knowledge of probe by US research group - ANA (APN) 10/01/18 08:09:00

ASPEN PHARMACARE yesterday dismissed reports that its books were under scrutiny by an independent US research group, VICEROY RESEARCH, for possible accounting irregularities in its 2017 FY. This comes after speculation regarding a possible report into ASPEN being undertaken by VICEROY, the group which published an expose on STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS recently. "ASPEN shareholders are advised that it has had no contact with VICEROY RESEARCH and, as such, is unable to confirm that this speculation is correct. ASPEN furthermore advises that it is not aware of any information of a price sensitive nature that requires communication to shareholders and that trading in the current financial year has been consistent with the prospects communicated to shareholders in the 2017 financial year results". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


NUMSA rejects proposed curbs on right to strike - ANA () 10/01/18 08:09:00

NUMSA yesterday said it rejected proposed changes to SA's labour laws which it argued would limit the right to strike. The government this year intends to implement changes to the Labour Relations Act and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, and implement a national minimum wage bill, setting an amount of R20/hour. The Department of Labour has been holding public consultations on the proposals and has set Jan. 10 as the deadline for submissions on the changes. "Together these changes are an attack on the working class and their families because they reduce the hard won rights which workers fought and died for under apartheid", NUMSA said. Among other concerns, the union said the proposal to hold secret ballots during strikes was "a cleverly disguised way of attacking our constitutional right to strike". It also rejected the provision giving the minister of labour the power to get a court interdict to suspend a lengthy strike, and said the proposed national minimum wage of R20/hr would do little to reduce the racial wage gaps created by decades of apartheid. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


EPP closes first tranche of M1 portfolio acquisition - Anine Kilian (EPP) 10/01/18 08:09:00

ECHO POLSKA PROPERTIES has closed the €358.7m first tranche of its acquisition of the Poland-based M1 portfolio. The company last month announced it would acquire the portfolio, which comprises 12 shopping centres and retail parks, for €692m. The first tranche of the deal comprised the acquisition of the M1 Czeladz, M1 Krakow, M1 Lodz and M1 Zabrze shopping centres. The first tranche was financed by way of debt, redeployment of the capital received on the sale of certain offices and the subscription by an entity managed by OAKTREE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT and LVS II LUXEMBOURG II for €112.5m of EPP shares at €1.27/share. The remaining two tranches will be finalised over the next three years. The M1 portfolio comprises single-level and fully leased properties situated on large motorway fronting sites. All the centres are anchored by AUCHAN HYPERMARKETS, as well as a variety of international and domestic brands with an average rent to sales ratio below 9%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Jubilee raises funds to support metals expansion strategy - Natasha Odendaal (JBL) 10/01/18 07:11:00

JUBILEE METALS has secured investment from MITON GROUP and an international wealth group arranged through VEDDIS. The company successfully completed a placing of 125m new ordinary shares of 1p each in JUBILEE at a price of 3.6p apiece, to raise £4.5m. The financing, in collaboration with the project financing arrangements with RIVERFORT GLOBAL CAPITAL, will provide both the key equity and project funding support for the expansion envisioned in JUBILEE's global metals strategy. JUBILEE CEO LEON COETZER said the company "is now poised for rapid expansion in other commodities and into other countries". It aims to secure low-risk, low-capital intensive and long-term production from mine waste and is planning to diversify its portfolio to include platinum, chrome, cobalt, copper, zinc, vanadium and gold to hedge income risk. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Workers at Colombia's Cerrejon mine could strike over wages - Reuters (AGL) 10/01/18 07:11:00

Union workers at Colombia's Cerrejon coal mine could strike if disagreements at wage negotiations are not resolved by Jan. 19, the main union's president said yesterday. "It is very possible that we won't reach agreement", ALDO AMAYA, president of the Sintracarbon union, said. The union has demanded a 12% wage hike in the first year, while the company has offered 5.2% as well as a bonus to each employee and health and education benefits. Cerrejon's offer is above the 4.09% inflation for last year, but AMAYA said its offer does not meet union demands given strong coal prices in recent months. Cerrejon belongs in equal parts to BHP, ANGLO AMERICAN and GLENCORE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


India's mineral output at risk as leases are set to expire - Ajoy K Das () 10/01/18 07:11:00

With 348 noncoal mining leases set to expire in 2020 and a lack of preparedness by provincial governments in holding fresh auctions, the country's mineral production in the next few years is at serious risk. The Federation of Indian Mineral Industries has cautioned that raw material availability to downstream industries could be at risk if mining leases are not issued in specific timeframes. Taking note of the immediacy of the issue, the Mines Ministry said "with 348 mining leases slated to expire by 2020, the provincial governments need to gear their machinery to commence auction of these operational mines from July 4, 2019, to avoid any disruption in production from these mines". Provincial governments have been directed to submit action plans to the Mines Ministry, which should detail any fresh exploration that may be required within the leasehold areas, finalise geological assessment reports and identify specialised agencies that will be empanelled in the case of new exploration projects in the leasehold area. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


NRD Capital acquires Mike's Kitchen - Business Report () 10/01/18 07:11:00

NRD CAPITAL, an emerging leader in the franchise private equity space, is expanding its footprint in SA with its first acquisition in the country - and on the African continent - MIKE's KITCHEN. NRD recently revealed its largest investment to date, valued at $335m, with the purchase of RUBY TUESDAY INC. "With well-established brands that can be differentiated from their competitors, we are able to identify significant growth opportunities, while taking a long-term view of investing in people, product, and the customer experience. Essentially, we acquire equity within both franchise and non-franchise concepts that offer compelling unit economics and solid opportunities for franchisees", NRD CAPITAL said. NRD's entry into SA forms part of a long-term strategy. Over the next five years, the firm plans to acquire and develop multiple brands in SA, and across the African continent more broadly, creating new jobs and business opportunities, through leveraging the power of franchising. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Diamond price lift to bolster De Beers' Gahcho Kue in 2018 - Miningmx.com (AGL) 10/01/18 07:11:00

A 4% increase in diamond prices would provide a boost to diamond mines especially at the Northwest Territories operation Gahcho Kue which is owned by DE BEERS. CBC News reported, citing independent analyst PAUL ZIMNISKY, that there will be price hikes for both rough and polished diamonds. Rough stones gained 2% in 2017 on average, but polished prices fell. "It will definitely move the needle for production companies", ZIMNISKY said. Commenting on Gahcho Kue, ZIMNISKY said: "In 2018, I expect them to access the ore that has fewer diamonds, but higher quality diamonds and the higher quality diamonds are going to be worth more." The mine, a JV between DE BEERS CANADA and MOUNTAIN PROVINCE DIAMONDS, was forecast to produce an average of 4.5m carats annually - a target that was met by early Oct. for 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Angola's kwanza depreciates 10% - Joe Brock () 10/01/18 07:11:00

Angola's kwanza depreciated around 10% on Tuesday after the central bank abandoned its dollar peg, and traders said the currency would weaken further in coming months as it remained far from market value. The central bank sold €83.6m at around 221.26/euro at its first forex auction since switching from a dollar peg to a currency trading band. The kwanza was trading at 199/€ prior to the auction, resulting in a 10% devaluation at the sale. The relaxing of currency rules is the latest in a string of policy and personnel changes since President JOAO LORENCO came to power in Sep. The central bank also said it had changed its benchmark exchange rate so that it is based on the kwanza/euro price, and other currency levels would be determined by where they were trading against the euro. The kwanza was quoted at 185.5/$, compared with 166/$ prior to the forex auction. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


DRC mining revenues through Sep. 2017 up 9% - Aaron Ross () 10/01/18 07:11:00

The DRC collected $489.2m in revenues from the mining sector in the first nine months of 2017, up more than 9% y/y, the finance ministry said yesterday. The ministry said revenues from the oil and gas sector rose nearly 71% over the same period. However, oil and gas revenues in Q3 2017 fell 35%, offsetting a strong second quarter. The two sectors together account for around 95% of the country's export revenues. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Algeria bans imports of cell phones, veg to curb trade deficit - Hamid Ould Ahmed () 10/01/18 07:11:00

Algeria has temporarily banned the import of 900 products including cell phones, household appliances and vegetables in a bid to cut a ballooning import bill following a fall in energy earnings. The import ban, which took effect on Sunday, also applies to furniture, all vegetables except garlic, some meats and fruits, cheeses, chocolates, pastries, pasta, juice, bottled waters and some building materials. It replaces an import licence system introduced two years ago. The value of Algeria's imports fell only 2.1% in the first 11 months of 2017 from a year earlier to $42.8bn, according to official figures. Under the new ban, the government hopes the import bill will fall to $30bn this year from a projected $45bn for all of 2017 and $46.7bn the previous year. To help cut the bill the government raised taxes and customs duties by 30% on some of those products from Jan. 1 as part of measures aimed at securing new funding sources for the economy and reforming a subsidy system that covers almost everything. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Amplats reaches deal with tribal leader in community fund row - Ed Stoddard (AMS) 10/01/18 07:11:00

A local tribal leader has agreed to a more transparent structure for a R175m community trust funded by ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM, a move that aims to curb unrest around the company's most profitable mine. The changes relate to the MAPELA TRUST, which was set up to fund development projects in communities around AMPLATS' Mogalakwena operation, AMPLATS' main cash spinner. The structure of the fund has proved a flashpoint, with local communities saying the way cash was spent was not transparent and too much authority was given to the local chief, known as KGOSHI, to determine where money was invested. Lawyers representing communities said a deal between AMPLATS and the tribal chief had been reached. Under the new structure, four of the MAPELA TRUST's nine trustees will be elected directly by local communities instead of just two that were picked by the chief to represent them. The other trustees include an independent chair, the KGOSHI, a member of a traditional council, a member elected by village chiefs and a senior AMPLATS representative. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 10/01/2018 () 10/01/18 07:11:00

At 07h11 on 10 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.33 ZAR/EUR 14.74 ZAR/GBP 16.69 Gold 1310.21 Platinum 958.00 Brent Crude Oil 69.15 All Share 60113.65


Updated market indicators for 09/01/2018 () 09/01/18 11:05:00

At 11h05 on 09 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.45 ZAR/EUR 14.86 ZAR/GBP 16.84 Gold 1314.00 Platinum 961.50 Brent Crude Oil 67.87 All Share 60141.70


Mauritius inflation jumps in Dec. - Jean Paul Arouff () 09/01/18 11:05:00

Mauritius' y/y inflation rate rose to 4.2% in Dec. from 3.6% in the prior month, the statistics office said this morning. Food and non-alcoholic drinks and transport costs were the main contributors to the increase in CPI in Dec., the agency said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Copper hits two-week low, zinc at highest in more than a decade - Reuters () 09/01/18 11:05:00

Copper hit a two-week low on Monday, weighed down by a stronger dollar and as the market consolidated following sharp gains in Dec., while zinc again reached its highest in more than a decade on supply concerns. The dollar rose against the euro, making dollar-priced metals costlier for non-US investors. Copper speculators raised their net "long" or buy positions by 13 604 contracts to 113 124 contracts in the week to Jan. 2. In zinc, the cash contract on the LME traded at a $26 premium to the three month benchmark CMZNo-3, up from a $10 discount on Dec. 12. LME copper ended up 0.1% at $7 125/t, having hit its lowest in two weeks at $7 105/ Prices on Dec.28 topped out at $7 312.50/t, the highest since Jan. 2014. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Volt raises $4.7m to develop Tanzania graphite project - Natasha Odendaal () 09/01/18 11:05:00

VOLT RESOURCES has raised $4.7m to support the fast-tracking of the Stage 1 development of its flagship Bunyu graphite project, in Tanzania. The company exercised 235.6m listed options at $0.02, with the shortfall of 24m options jointly underwritten and taken up by EMPIRE CAPITAL PARTNERS and COVE CAPITAL under an option underwriting agreement. The Stage 1 feasibility study is expected to be completed in Q1 2018. VOLT aims to develop Bunyu Stage 1 to process 400 000t/y of ore and produce a nominal 20 000t/y of graphite products. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Morrisons Christmas sales rise 3% - Katie Martin () 09/01/18 11:05:00

WM MORRISON enjoyed a near 3% boost to like-for-like sales over the Christmas period, claiming to have done it with "friendliness even at the busiest times". The 3% y/y rise in the 10 weeks to Jan. 7 came with a sharper rise during the peak of the festive rush, with sales up by 3.7% over the later six weeks of that period. Shoppers appear to have been treating themselves, with sales from the premium range up by 25%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Shire to split ops ahead of decision on ADHD-division IPO - Cat Rutter Pooley () 09/01/18 10:36:00

SHIRE yesterday confirmed it will spin out its neuroscience business into a separate division ahead of a decision later this year on whether to list the unit. Shire said a strategic review started in Aug. had concluded the neuroscience business "warrants additional focus and investment", and there was a "strong business rationale" for splitting into two units - a neuroscience division and a rare disease arm. SHIRE will report "operational performance metrics" for the two units separately from this quarter, which began in Jan., but added that a second stage of the review would "[continue] to evaluate all strategic alternatives, including the merits of an independent listing for each of the two divisions". SHIRE said it would give an update on the outcome of that phase of the review in H2 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SNB reports bumper profits after franc decline - Ralph Atkins () 09/01/18 10:36:00

The Swiss National Bank today said it expects to report profits of around SFr54bn, thanks to a weaker franc and buoyant global stock markets. The steep rise in profits - up from SFr24.5bn y/y - highlights the turnaround at the SNB since the start of 2015, when it was forced to abandon its attempts to cap the value of the Swiss franc. The sharp rise in the Swiss currency three years ago led to the SNB reporting a loss of SFr23.3bn in 2015, largely as a result of losses on its foreign currency positions. In a statement today, the central bank said it expected profits of SFr49bn for 2017 on its foreign currency positions. There would also be a SFr3bn valuation gain on its gold holdings. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Axovant plunges after halting development of key drug - David Crow () 09/01/18 10:36:00

New York biotech firm AXOVANT, which is developing treatments for dementia, yesterday said it was abandoning one of its main drugs, sending its shares down 46%. The company said the drug, intepirdine, "did not meet its primary efficacy endpoints' during a mid-stage study of patients with a condition known as dementia with Lewy bodies. It comes after the same drug flunked a large trial of Alzheimer's patients in Sep. "Based on the totality of intepirdine data to date, there is no evidence to support its further development", AXOVANT CEO DAVID HUNG said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Juncker calls for EU budget boost after Brexit - Mehreen Khan () 09/01/18 10:36:00

European Commission president JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER has urged the EU's 27 member states to pay more money into the continent's joint budget, which will have a black hole of billions of euros after Brexit. JUNCKER is pushing EU governments to lift the imposed cap of 1% of EU gross national income on the bloc's common budget, calling the cash the equivalent of just "one cup of coffee a day" for the European taxpayer. The new EU budget, which will run for at least five years from 2020, will be left with a Brexit gap of as much as €13bn from 2021. Brussels wants the new pot of money to future-proof the EU to newer spending challenges including migration, cash to protect the eurozone against economic crises and climate change. JUNCKER urged member states to reach a budgetary agreement before the European parliament holds elections in 2019. The previous round of budget talks - which covered 2014-2020 - took nearly 18 months and many EU summits to agree. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Vauxhall to cut 250 more jobs - Peter Cambpell () 09/01/18 10:36:00

VAUXHALL will cut 250 jobs at its Ellesmere Port plant, on top of the 400 jobs it shed late last year, as the factory slims down to try and ensure its long-term survival under PEUGEOT ownership. The Cheshire site will move from two shifts to a single shift in Apr. in a bid to make itself more competitive. The workforce will have dropped from 1 900 to 1 200 by the end of the redundancies. VAUXHALL and its parent brand OPEL were bought by PSA PEUGEOT CITROEN last year, after losing money under GENERAL MOTORS' ownership since 1999. In Oct., the company announced it would shed 400 roles through voluntary redundancy and early retirement. Last Thursday it told the Unite union it would extend this to a further 250 roles from Apr. to Sep. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


GoPro cuts jobs, exits drone business - Pan Kwan Yuk () 09/01/18 10:36:00

GOPRO unveiled a major restructuring of its business on Monday after it unexpectedly issued a big sales warning for the holiday quarter. The company said it was cutting more than 254 jobs - a fifth of its workforce - and existing its drone business following a sharp decline in Q4 sales. For the quarter to end-Dec., GOPRO said it now expects revenue to come in at $340m - a 37% drop from the $540.6m reported y/y and a much steeper decline than the fall of $472m the market had forecast. GOPRO attributed the sales warning to the $80m hit it is taking from its price protection policy on its Hero camera range, as well as the Karma drone. Price protection is the money that GOPRO has to refund to retailers who purchase cameras at a higher price whenever the company lowers the suggested retail price. As a result of hefty discounting, the company now forecasts Q4 gross margin to be between 24% and 26%, down from the 39.2% recorded last year. It did not talk about how Q4 earnings would be affected, but noted that the restructuring plans announced yesterday will result in a $23m-$33m hit to its Q1 results. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Portuguese unemployment sinks to 12-yr low - Peter Wise () 09/01/18 10:36:00

Unemployment in Portugal fell to 8.4% in Oct., the lowest monthly rate in more than 12 years, the country's statistics office said yesterday. A provisional forecast for Nov. projected a further drop to 8.2%. The jobless rate has been falling steadily since peaking at more than 17% in 2013. The October figure is the lowest unemployment level recorded in Portugal since Feb. 2005. If the provisional estimate for Nov. is confirmed it would be the lowest since Dec. 2004. However, youth unemployment remains stubbornly high, increasing from 25.1% in Sep. to 25.6% in Oct. - the highest rate in the EU after Spain and Italy. The Bank of Portugal estimates the economy to have grown by 2.6% in 2017 and forecasts expansion of 2.3% this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Eurozone economic confidence hits highest level since 2000 - Nicholas Megaw () 09/01/18 10:36:00

Economic confidence across the eurozone has hit its strongest level in more than 17 years, according to official figures that suggest both consumers and businesses are benefiting from the region's healthy recent performance. The European Commission's headline economic sentiment indicator advanced from the previous month's 114.8 to 116.0 in Dec., its strongest level since Oct. 2000. Confidence in the industrial sector leaped further than the most optimistic economists surveyed by Reuters had expected, from 114.8 to 116.0. Service businesses were also more cheery than forecast, with the sub-measure for that sector hitting its highest level since the summer of 2007. Consumer confidence was at its highest level since Jan. 2001. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Eurozone retail sales spring back faster than expected - Katie Martin () 09/01/18 10:36:00

Retail sales rose by 1.5% on the month to Nov. in both the euro area and the EU, Eurostat said yesterday, from a decline of 1.1% in the previous month's reading. The acceleration beat forecasts for a rise of 1.3%. Non-food products led the way, with a rise of 2.3% on the month in the euro area. Eurostat notes that Portugal's monthly rise of almost 4% was the most rapid in the region, followed by Slovenia, Germany and Croatia. Estonia provided the only decrease, or 0.2%. The monthly rise took the y/y gain to 2.8%, 0.6 percentage points above forecasts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Noble fetches lower than expected price for US gas, power unit - Neil Hume () 09/01/18 10:36:00

NOBLE GROUP has completed the disposal of its US gas and power business, but for a much lower than expected price. The company yesterday said it has sold NOBLE AMERICAS GAS AND POWER to MERCURIA for $168m. That compares with the $250m the company originally hoped to receive. "Following the closing, the amount paid by the buyer to NOBLE AMERICAS CORPORATION was subject to adjustment determined in accordance with the terms and conditions of the stock purchase agreement", NOBLE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Altice announces separation of US, European ops - Hudson Lockett () 09/01/18 09:37:00

Ailing cable group ALTICE has announced an organisational shake-up that will see its US business spun off and its European operations restructured into three units, as well as a $1.5bn cash dividend to be paid immediately before separation with plans for a $2bn share buyback to follow. The company yesterday said its board had approved plans to separate ALTICE USA from parent ALTICE NV, to be achieved through spinning off the latter's 67.2% stake in the former through distribution in kind to existing shareholders. The two companies would be led by separate management teams but founder PATRICK DRAHI would retain control of both, serving as chair of the board of ALTICE USA and president of the board at ALTICE NV, which will be renamed ALTICE EUROPE. The company also said the board of ALTICE USA had approved in principle payment of a $1.5bn cash dividend to all shareholders immediately prior to the separation's completion, with formal approval of said dividend and the setting of a record date expected to occur in Q2 2018. The board also authorised a share repurchase programme of $2bn effective following completion of the separation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Rhτne Capital battles Ferrero, Hershey for Nestle's US candy business - Arash Massoudi () 09/01/18 09:37:00

RHONE CAPITAL, a US-based private equity group, has placed a binding offer to acquire NESTLE's US confectionary business, joining a $2.5bn race that includes Italy's FERRERO and THE HERSHEY COMPANY. Final round bids for the unit were made in recent days and a decision is expected this month. As part of its bid, RHONE is working with JIM SINGH, the former CFO at NESTLE, according to sources. Two of these sources said they expected FERRERO to have the strongest shot at clinching a deal given its growing interest in the US market. Last year FERRERO agreed to acquire FERRARA CANDY from its private equity owner and has expressed an ambition to expand its business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Eon sells Uniper stake to Finland's Fortum for €3.78bn - Tobias Buck () 09/01/18 09:37:00

German utility EON yesterday confirmed it is selling its 47% stake in UNIPER to FORTUM for €22/share. The price is below the market value of UNIPER's shares, which closed at €25.85 on Monday. EON had agreed to sell its stake to FORTUM last Sep. "This transaction enables us to sell our entire UNIPER stake at an attractive price for EON", group CEO JOHANNES TEYSSEN said. "EON will now focus fully on its customers and core businesses in the new energy world. The course has been set for profitable growth". EON's proceeds from the sale will total around €3.76bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US ends protected status for El Salvadorans - Mamta Badkar () 09/01/18 09:37:00

Nearly 200 000 migrants from El Salvador that have lived in the US for 16 years will have to leave the country, the Department of Homeland Security said yesterday. The DHS is ending Temporary Protection Services for El Salvadorans who were granted temporary stay in the US following devastating earthquakes in 2001 that resulted in the deaths of more than 1 000 people and destroyed infrastructure. The programme - set to end in Mar. - allowed the migrants temporary stay for an 18-month period that has been extended under every administration since. While the designation has been ended, officials said El Salvadorans will have until Sep. 9 2019 to plan their return or find an alternative lawful legal status to keep them in the country. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Facebook strikes music licensing deal with Sony/ATV - Anna Nicolaou () 09/01/18 09:37:00

FACEBOOK has struck a licensing deal with music publishing company SONY/ATV to pay songwriters when their music is used in videos on the social media platform, as well as on INSTAGRAM and OCULUS. FACEBOOK reached similar deals with UNIVERSAL MUSIC just before Christmas. The agreements eliminate headaches for fans whose clips were being taken down for copyright infringement. It could also position FACEBOOK more squarely against YOUTUBE, which has been the dominant destination for music videos. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Steinhoff woes resume on ECB bond sale - Robert Laing (SNH) 09/01/18 09:37:00

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL closed 13.67% lower in Frankfurt yesterday after the ECB's latest list of bonds it owns showed it had entirely divested from the retailer. The rand was trading at R14.82 to the euro this morning, indicating STEINHOFF is likely to fall by around 11% to R7.70 when the JSE opens. The ECB does not disclose the price at which it buys or sells its investments. Reuters estimated the central bank cut losses in STEINHOFF at less than half its original investment. At one point last week, STEINHOFF's bond was worth as little as 45% of the value at which it was issued in Jul. 2017, when the ECB bought it. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


MTN bolts past 20Gbps mobile connection on 5G test - Kyle Venktess (MTN) 09/01/18 09:37:00

MTN and ERICSSON trialled the first test for 5G in Africa during the first week of 2018, with a live demonstration on Monday. This follows the signing by the two companies of an MoU at AfriCom 2017 to collaborate on the rollout of 5G technologies in SA. The 5G trial with MTN achieved over 20 Gbps with less than 5ms latency, which is the highest achieved on a mobile network in Africa. The 5G trial is based on commercially available baseband hardware and 5G mobility is supported. MTN chief technology and information officer BABAK FOULADI said the company was researching how 5G can meet the needs of its customers. MTN boosted its coverage of 3G around SA to 97% in 2017, up from 95% the prior year, while the company's 4G coverage rose 63% to 75% in 2017. The company said after the rollout of 5G, it would take around 6-12 months before chipset manufacturers and electronic vendors launched devices that could cater for 5G connections. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


New Look facing insurance cover woes - Fin24 (BAT) 09/01/18 09:37:00

NEW LOOK, the UK fashion brand controlled by CHRISTO WIESE's BRAIT SE, has been dealt a blow after an insurer cut cover for its suppliers, according to reports in the British media. The Guardian yesterday reported that credit insurer EULER HERMES is understood to have halted the sale of protection against insolvency to the fashion retailer's suppliers. Meanwhile, The Times over the weekend reported that another insurer had reduced the coverage levels it was offering to NEW LOOK's suppliers, but not withdrawn them completely. MOODY's in Dec. downgraded NEW LOOK's credit rating, noting that it "reflects our expectations that, after a particularly weak second quarter, results in the second half of the company's fiscal year will also fall well short of last year". BRAIT owns 81% of NEW LOOK's shares, according to recent filings. WIESE, in turn, owns 34.6% of BRAIT's stock. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


UK retail sales pick up in Dec. - Gemma Tetlow () 09/01/18 09:36:00

Households devoted more of their budgets to clothing, food and online purchases at the end of 2017 than a year before, according to figures on consumer spending. Two sets of figures published today by BARCLAYCARD and the British Retail Consortium show that nominal consumer spending was higher in Dec. 2017 than in the same month a year earlier. Both sets of data also suggest there was faster growth in spending on clothing than on many other items, and that online spending rose more significantly than spending in shops. The BRC figures suggest food spending also rose relatively quickly. Based on purchases made using their cards, BARCLAYCARD says nominal spending was 4% higher between Nov. 19 and Dec. 23 2017 y/y. This was faster than price growth over the year to Nov., which was 3.1%. Spending in pubs and restaurants grew particularly rapidly, rising more than 8% against a year earlier. The BRC figures show that retail sales between Nov. 26 and Dec. 30 were 1.4% higher compared with the previous year. Online spending on BARCLAYCARDS was 14.1% higher in Dec. 2017 y/y, compared with a 0.3% rise in in-store spending. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Samsung projects record Q4 earnings on strong chip prices - Song Jung-a () 09/01/18 09:36:00

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS has projected another record quarterly earnings on firmer memory chip prices. The company estimated operating profit for the last three months of 2017 at Won15.1tn, up 63.8% y/y. That fell short of the Won16tn forecast by analysts polled by Reuters and marked a new record for the company, which reported a Won14.53tn operating profit in the third quarter. The company expected to register sales of Won66tn for the fourth quarter, up 23.8% y/y. For FY2017, SAMSUNG's operating profit jumped 83.3% to Won53.6tn as sales grew 18.7% to Won239.6tn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ramaphosa calls for unity as rift over Zuma widens - Reuters () 09/01/18 07:29:00

ANC president CYRIL RAMAPHOSA yesterday called for unity as factions within the party become increasingly divided over the future of President JACOB ZUMA. There is widespread speculation that RAMAPHOSA and his allies are lobbying ANC members to oust ZUMA as head of the state within weeks. Markets have rallied since RAMAPHOSA narrowly defeated NKOSAZANA DLAMINI-ZUMA in an ANC leadership contest last month as investors bet he will tackle corruption and implement economic reforms. ZUMA's term doesn't officially end until 2019 when national elections will be held but he could be removed early through a motion of no confidence in parliament or at a meeting of the ANC's NEC. The NEC will meet this week. "We must rid ourselves of factionalism. We do not want a divided African National Congress", RAMAPHOSA told ANC leaders at a celebration of the party's 106th birthday in KZN at the weekend. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Parliament to review rules on removing President - Reuters () 09/01/18 07:29:00

Parliament on Sunday said it would review its rules relating to removing the country's president, after the Constitutional Court ruled on Dec. 29 that lawmakers had previously failed to hold President JACOB ZUMA to account. A parliamentary subcommittee will meet this week to discuss a draft procedure on the section of the constitution relating to the removal of a president and the draft will then be debated in the house, the National Assembly said in a statement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Adani Australia port must refinance soon or face rating cut - Bloomberg () 09/01/18 07:29:00

An Australian deep water port linked to one of the world's biggest planned coal mines should lock in refinancing within six months of a loan maturing in Nov. to safeguard credit ratings on its debt, according to S&P GLOBAL RATINGS. Adani Abbot Point Terminal has to refinance around A$326m of the loan due in Nov., S&P said. The ratings agency currently has a BBB- credit score and stable outlook on the port's rated debt securities. "We expect the refinance to be completed on time... If it's within the six months of the maturity and nothing's happening we start getting a big concerned, which is where we need to start taking some actions", S&P analyst MEET VORA said. ADANI began courting lenders for a new five-year, A$250m loan for the port last Sep. - the proceeds of which may be used to refinance part of the loan that's maturing later this year, according to a source. The company is still searching for lenders willing to finance its new loan. MOODY's expects ADANI to be able to refinance the loan but says that failure to do so would be a near-term risk for the terminal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ivanhoe's DRC mines connected to grid - Megan van Wyngaardt () 09/01/18 07:29:00

IVANHOE MINES yesterday said its Kakula mine development site, 10km south of Kamoa's initial Kanosoko mine site, in the DRC, started receiving power from the national grid in Dec. Kakula's development is being fast-tracked with a prefeasibility study under way. An updated mineral resource estimate for Kakula, which is being prepared based on drilling completed to the end of Dec., is expected to result in a significant upgrade and expansion of the Kakula mineral resource. Results from drill holes completed to the end of Dec. will form the basis of the new estimate that will encompass the entire strike length of the Kakula discovery, which now extends beyond 12 km. The new resource estimate will enable IVANHOE and JV partner ZIJIN MINING GROUP to assess early and expand production scenarios by incorporating resources from Kakula West and Kansoko to support the main Kakula development plan. Meanwhile, IVANHOE also noted that ongoing upgrading work at the Mwadingusha hydropower plant in the DRC has almost tripled its interim power output from 11MW to 32MW, representing 45% of the plant's designed capacity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Workers at Lomas Bayas mine call of strike plans - Reuters (GLN) 09/01/18 07:29:00

Unionised workers at Chile's Lomas Bayas copper mine have called off plans to start a strike this week after accepting a contract offer from GLENCORE. Employees approved the company's proposal for a 2% wage hike and a $10 750 bonus, union president PEDRO VALDIVIA said. The union had threatened to go on strike on Jan. 10 if no agreement was reached. Lomas Bayas produced 67 000t of copper between Jan. and Oct. of 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


New rules in place for SMS insurance spam - Business Report () 09/01/18 07:29:00

Getting charged for opting out of insurance spam will soon become a thing of the past following new rules passed by the Financial Services Board. The rules will now allow one to opt out of insurance marketing SMS's for free. This will come into effect in July 2018. Recipients of insurance spam via a phone call, SMS or voice message must have the option to opt out of future direct marketing from the company in question, without having to pay for the request. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Angola to hold forex auction today as it ends dollar peg - Joe Brock () 09/01/18 07:29:00

Angola will hold a forex auction today, the first since the central bank announced it would shift from a currency peg to a trading bank, two banking sources said yesterday. A forex auction was supposed to take place on Friday but it was delayed until today, the people said, adding that they expected the kwanza to depreciate between 20% and 30% under the new rules. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Tanzania inflation down in Dec. - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala () 09/01/18 07:29:00

Tanzania's inflation rate fell to 4.0% y/y in Dec., down from 4.4% in November due to slower food price increases, the statistics office said yesterday. The m/m inflation was 0.2% in Dec., compared with 0.5% in Nov. "The speed of price change for commodities in the year ending December 2017 has decreased compared to the speed of price change recorded in the year ended in November 2017", EPHRAIM KWESIGABO, director of the National Bureau of Statistics said. Food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation decreased to 6.2% in Dec. from 7.4% in Nov. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Uganda private sector activity slows on rise in input costs - Elias Biryabarema () 09/01/18 07:29:00

Uganda's private sector economic growth slowed in Dec. m/m, hurt by a surge in company input costs. The MARKIT STANBIC BANK Uganda PMI fell to 54.3 from 54.9 in Nov. MARKIT said its data had showed "a further increase in overall input costs" , with slightly under a third of all surveyed firms reporting ballooning costs. Input price inflation was recorded across all monitored sectors. Growth was posted on several indicators, including new orders, which rose amid an "easing in political tensions in key trading partners". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 09/01/2018 () 09/01/18 07:29:00

At 07h29 on 09 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.37 ZAR/EUR 14.82 ZAR/GBP 16.81 Gold 1318.87 Platinum 964.00 Brent Crude Oil 67.87 All Share 60038.39


Lucapa recovers another 100ct+ diamond at Angola mine - Creamer Media Reporter () 08/01/18 11:57:00

The Lulo diamond mine is continuing to yield large diamonds, with LUCAPA DIAMOND COMPANY today reporting that it had recovered its ninth 100ct-plus diamond at the Angola mine. LUCAPA reported the discovery of a 103ct light brown diamond and an 83ct Type IIa diamond. In Nov., Lulo yielded two exceptional Type IIa D-colour gems, weighing 129ct and 78ct. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Gem Diamonds recovers two large diamonds at Letseng - Anine Kilian () 08/01/18 11:57:00

GEM DIAMONDS has recovered two large high-quality D-colour type IIa diamonds from its majority-owned Letseng mine in Lesotho. The recovered diamonds include a 117ct and a 110ct stone. Letseng is the highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Dialog Semiconductor says Q4 revenue ahead of forecast - Edward White () 08/01/18 11:57:00

DIALOG SEMICONDUCTOR said its sales rose by more than a quarter in the final three months of 2017, beating the forecast it issued in Nov. The company said it expects to post Q4 revenues of $463m, 27% higher than the same period in 2016. The result was higher than the $415m-$455m range it forecast in Nov. DIALOG said its FY2017 sales were around $1.35bn - compared to final revenue of $923m in 2016 and $1.11bn in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Novo Nordisk makes bid for Belgian biotech firm - Nicholas Megaw () 08/01/18 11:57:00

NOVO NORDISK has made a €2.6bn bid to purchase Belgian biotech firm ABLYNX, publicly announcing the offer on Monday after its initial private overtures were rejected. The Danish group said it had offered up to €30.50/share for ABLYNX, a 60% premium of its share price on Dec. 6, before its first approach. It said it "has made a concerted and good faith effort to engage in discussions with ABLYNX" and "regrets that the board of directors of ABLYNX has so far declined to engage in any discussions, despite the proposal which have been put forward". The latest offer includes an upfront payment of €28/share and one contingent value right with potential cash payments of up to €2.50/share based on progress in upcoming drug trials. ABLYNX's main asset is caplacizumab, a treatment for the rare bleeding disorder acquired Thrombotic Thromboxytopenic Purpura, and NOVO NORDISK said a deal offered a "compelling opportunity" to combine caplacizumab with its own existing haematology business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


German manufacturing orders slip in Nov. - Adam Samson () 08/01/18 11:57:00

German manufacturing orders edged lower in Nov., marking the first fall since July 2017 on the back of a decline in domestic and international demand. The gauge fell 0.4% in Nov. from Oct. on a seasonally and working day adjusted basis, below the 0.5% rise that was forecast by economists in a Reuters poll. The Oct. reading was also revised up to an increase of 0.7% from 0.5% previously, according to data released by the Federal Statistics Office. November's fall came as domestic orders fell 0.4% and foreign orders dipped 0.5%. Orders from the eurozone rose 0.7%, while those from other countries were down 1.2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


TP ICAP snaps up commodities broker SCS - Katie Martin () 08/01/18 11:57:00

TP ICAP is still on the acquisition trail, announcing today that it has bought US broker SCS COMMODITIES. SCS generated revenues of $14.3m in 2016, with 26 brokers. Up to now, it has been 98% owned by its five partners. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. TP ICAP said "primary" SCS partners "who are responsible for generating revenues" will stay on board and continue to develop the business. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SA's net forex reserves rise in Dec. - Mfuneko Toyana () 08/01/18 11:57:00

SA's net foreign reserves rose to $42.927bn in Dec. from $42.689bn in Nov., the SARB said this morning. Gross reserves also rose, to $50.722bn from $50.297bn, central bank data showed. The forward position decreased to $1.196bn from $1.732bn previously. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Updated market indicators for 08/01/2018 () 08/01/18 11:57:00

At 11h57 on 08 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.39 ZAR/EUR 14.85 ZAR/GBP 16.77 Gold 1316.75 Platinum 965.00 Brent Crude Oil 67.80 All Share 59787.02


India predicts 6.5% GDP growth for fiscal 2018 - Simon Mundy () 08/01/18 09:38:00

India's government has forecast 6.5% growth in GDP for the FY to end-Mar., implying a quickening pace in H2 of that period as the economy bounces back from recent policy shocks. Economists say growth in the current fiscal year has suffered from the aftershocks of the cancellation of high-value banknotes in Nov. 2016, followed by the disruptive introduction of a new national goods and services tax in July 2017. Indian GDP growth was estimated by the Central Statistics Office at 5.7% and 6.3%, respectively, in the first and second quarters of the current fiscal year. This means that a significant acceleration would be needed to bring the FY figure to 6.5%, which would still be well below the 7.1% growth estimate for fiscal 2017. The government forecast growth of over 7% in sectors such as financial services and transport. But manufacturing output was forecast to grow at 4.6%, down from 7.9% in the prior year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Morgan Stanley to take $1.25bn hit from US tax reforms - Ben McLannahan () 08/01/18 09:38:00

MORGAN STANLEY has joined a chorus of companies warning of one-off hits from America's tax reforms, saying on Friday that Q4 earnings would be weakened by a $1.25bn charge. The bank said the sweeping changes to the US tax code would lead to a gross charge of around $1.4bn for the period, primarily for the remeasurement of tax credits known as deferred tax assets. The net hit would be about $1.25bn, the bank said, once certain positive effects were included. MORGAN STANLEY's disclosure on Friday brings it in line with GOLDMAN SACHS, BANK OF AMERICA and CITIGROUP, which have all put out rough estimates of the new tax regime on their Q4 financials. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Eurozone inflation falls to 1.4% - Nicholas Megaw () 08/01/18 09:38:00

Inflation in the eurozone slipped further away from the ECB's target in Dec., highlighting the challenge facing the central bank as it looks to maintain price rises while winding down its quantitative easing programme this year. Average consumer prices rose 1.4% y/y in Dec., down from 1.5% in Nov. and in line with consensus forecasts. Volatile energy, food, alcohol and tobacco prices were the main drivers of the decline, with inflation in services remaining steady and industrial goods picking up slightly. Friday's data showed core inflation also strugging to rise, remaining steady at 0.9%. Separate data on factory gate prices provided one potential area for optimism. Producer price inflation over the month of Nov. was twice as strong as expected, at 0.6%, bringing the y/y rate to 2.8%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Italy Q3 deficit falls to joint-lowest since 2008 - Nicholas Megaw () 08/01/18 09:38:00

Italy recorded its joint-lowest Q3 budget deficit since the financial crisis in the three months to Oct., figures showed on Friday. In the third quarter Italy's deficit ran to 2.1% of GDP, according to ISTAT - down from 2.4% in the same period in 2016 and in line with the government's forecast for the FY. While the economy has strengthened markedly, Italy's unemployment rate is still well above the eurozone average - particularly for young people - while a weak banking system means the economy remains vulnerable. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


UK productivity growth at quickest pace since 2011 during Q3 - ONS - Gavin Jackson () 08/01/18 09:38:00

The amount produced by a UK worker in an hour rose at the fastest rate in six months during Q3 2017, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics. Output per hour rose by 0.9% compared to the prior quarter, the biggest increase since Q2 2011 when productivity grew by 1%. The figures also showed that growth in UK workers' productivity over the past decade was the least since the 1820s. The most recent growth in productivity was due to the number of hours worked falling rather than an acceleration in the growth of output. A breakdown of productivity growth by sector, published alongside the figures, showed that since the financial crisis the slowdown has been driven by a lower rate of productivity in finance and in non-manufacturing production, a category that includes utilities and the UK's north sea oil fields. The breakdown further showed a shift in workers from more productive sectors of the economy into lower productivity jobs had held back productivity growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


LG operating profit forecast to jump - Bryan Harris () 08/01/18 09:38:00

Profits at LG ELECTRONICS are forecast to have increased more than 84% last year from the prior year, the company said this morning. Operating profit from 2017 is estimated to come in at Won2.4tn, up from Won1.3tn in 2016. LG had a mixed year with a robust performance in its home appliance business but a weak showing in its mobile division. Total sales for 2017 are estimated to have jumped more than 10% to Won61tn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Aussie govt forecasts 20% fall for iron ore in 2018 - Hudson Lockett () 08/01/18 09:38:00

The Australian government's statistics office has forecast the price of iron ore to drop 20% in 2018, reflecting lower expectations than some private estimates. The Office of the Chief Economist forecast in the Dec. edition of its Resources and Energy Quarterly that the price of iron ore would fall 20% in real terms during 2018 to $51.50/t, down from an estimated $64.30 at end-2017. The government estimate contracts with private forecasts including that of UBS, which predicted in Dec. that the price of one tonne of iron ore would remain essentially level from 2017 at $64/t this year. The OCE also forecast a further fall for iron ore of 9.2% in 2019 to $46.70/t. IT said it expected ongoing volatility in early 2018 as conflicting forces influenced iron ore's price, but added that beyond H1 2018, "the iron ore price is forecast to decline to US$49 a tonne, reflecting growing supply from low-cost producers in Australia and Brazil, and moderating demand from China as steel production eases". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China SOE leverage to decline further in 2018 - Moody's - Edward White () 08/01/18 09:38:00

Chinese state-owned enterprises' leverage will broadly continue to decline in 2018 as Beijing's reforms take effect, but energy and property companies are among those likely to buck the trend, MOODY's said. MOODY's said two-thirds of the 53 Chinese SOEs it rates are forecast to see declines in adjusted debt/EBITDA, with the portfolio's aggregate average leverage forecast to decline "to 5.4x in 2018 from 5.5x in 2016 and 5.7x in 2015". The leverage improvement is underpinned by SOE reforms targeted at increasing the organisation's efficiency and profitability and supply side reform aiming to reduce Chinese corporates' leverage and costs, as well as cutting excess capacity in some industries, the agency said. "Both reform programs will increase EBITDA and curb debt growth", MOODY's analysts said. However, a basket of energy and property firms are among the 18 companies MOODY's rates which it says are likely to see their leverage widen further this year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China Resources Beer confirms price hikes - Alice Woodhouse () 08/01/18 09:38:00

CHINA RESOURCES BEER today said it is "moderately adjusting" the prices of some products in response to higher costs following a jump in its share price on Friday on reports that Chinese beer producers had raised prices. Shares in CHINA RESOURCES BEER jumped as much as 11.8% in Hong Kong on Friday on reports that some Chinese beer makers had increased the prices of some products. Beijing News reported TSINGTAO BREWERY and other brewers had raised prices on some products by 10%-20% as a result of higher raw material and labour costs. CHINA RESOURCES BEER today said it was "moderately adjusting" the prices of some products in some regions on higher raw materials, packaging, labour and other costs. TSINGTAO said prices of some of its products would rise due to an increase in packaging costs, but not by more than 5% on average. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


PBoC researchers warm to interest rate hike 'in short term' - Hudson Lockett () 08/01/18 09:38:00

Researchers at China's central bank have agreed that higher interest rates could be appropriate in the near future thanks to improvements in industrial prices and enterprise profitability, according to state media. The China Daily today said top researchers at the People's Bank of China had recently agreed that higher rates would "help to squeeze asset bubbles and restrain debt expansion, as a tool to be used with broader oversight of financial activities". The state-run daily wrote that a possible interest rate hike "along with the key lever of cutting the overcapacity of industrial producers, would further improve producers' investment returns by curbing debt expansion regardless of the costs of borrowing, according to the officials". The central bank last raised rates for its Medium-term Lending Facility and reverse repos by five basis points on Dec. 14 following an overnight rise of 25 bps by the US Federal Reserve overnight. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Netflix shares jump on Letterman talk-show debut date - Jessica Dye () 08/01/18 08:43:00

NETFLIX shares rose 1.4% to a new all-time high of $208.73 on Friday after the company announced a Jan. 12 premier date for the new show from DAVID LETTERMAN, as well as its first guest - former US president BARACK OBAMA. NETFLIX announced other high-profile guests for the show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, including JAY-Z, HOWARD STERN, TINA FEY, MALALA YOUSAFZAI and GEORGE CLOONEY. The show will differ from NETFLIX's usual binge-able original content in that new episodes will be released once a month, rather than all at once. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Deutsche Bank says US tax reform will dent 2017 profits - Olaf Storbeck () 08/01/18 08:43:00

US tax reform will wipe out around €1.5bn in DEUTSCHE BANK's 2017 profits, the German lender said on Friday, as lowering the federal tax rate from 35% to 21% reduces the value of the group's deferred tax assets. DEUTSCHE said the non-cash tax charge, which will be booked in Q4 2017, will result in a "small full-year after tax loss". Analysts on average were expecting DEUTSCHE BANK to report around €1.3bn in net profit. DEUTSCHE said it expects to report a positive income before income tax for the FY, but warned that Q4 IBIT will be negative, as restructuring costs and litigation charges will stand at around €500m in the quarter. It said the non-cash tax charge would dent its fully loaded CET1 equity ratio by around 10 bps, compared to a fully loaded CET1 ratio of 13.9% forecast by analysts for the end of 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US factory orders rise for 4th straight month - Mamta Badkar () 08/01/18 08:43:00

US factory orders climbed for the fourth consecutive month in Nov., marking its longest such run since March. Factory orders rose 1.3% or $6.5bn to $488.1bn in Nov. from the previous month, when they climbed by a revised 0.4%, the US Census Bureau said. That topped economists' forecasts for a 1.1% rise. Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircrafts slipped 0.2%, declining for the first time in five months. Business spending had picked up last year on anticipation of a tax overhaul and stimulus pledged by President DONALD TRUMP. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US services sector growth cools in Dec. - Pan Kwan Yuk () 08/01/18 08:43:00

Growth in the US services sector cooled more than expected in Dec., pulling back following strong gains earlier in the fall. The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing gauge cam in at 55.9 last month, compared to November's reading of 57.4. While that confounded some expectations for the index to edge up to 57.6, the reading remains well above the 50 point line that separates growth from contraction. The services sector makes up around 80% of US GDP. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US economy creates 148 000 jobs in Dec. - Mamta Badkar () 08/01/18 08:43:00

The US economy created fewer jobs in Dec. than economists had forecast while wages edged up in line with expectations. Non-farm payrolls rose by 148 000 in Dec., short of economists' forecasts for 190 000 - the slowest pace since a string of hurricanes battered the US, weighing on the job market in Sep. However, November's figures were revised up to show 252 000 jobs created in Nov., the Bureau of Labour Statistics said on Friday. The report showed that after revisions, job gains have averaged 204 000 over the last three months adding to evidence that the economy is close to full employment. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1% for the third straight month and at levels last seen 17 years ago. Average hourly earnings edged up, rising 0.3% from the previous month when they increased by a downwardly revised 0.1%. Wages were up 2.5% y/y, in line with forecasts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ramaphosa is rich, so he will not steal - Mantashe - Claudi Mailovich () 08/01/18 08:43:00

The ANC now has a president who is rich and would therefore not be tempted to steal, ANC chair GWEDE MANTASHE said on Friday. CYRIL RAMAPHOSA made his wealth as a businessman prior to being elected ANC president in Dec. Apparently emboldened by his election as party chair in Dec., MANTASHE took a swipe at President JACOB ZUMA, saying: "We have elected a president who is rich. We have a president who has money and [is] wealthy and will not be tempted to steal. He is the president of the ANC". Pressure has been mounting for the ANC's national executive committee to recall ZUMA as president of the country before its maiden meeting on Jan. 10, but the SABC reported MANTASHE as having said the issue was not on the agenda for the meeting. MANTASHE criticised ZUMA supporters who have repeatedly said the president was not going anywhere. "When there is a leadership of the ANC, there is basic requirement that leadership must analyse the movement broadly. Weakness of the last two or three years has been the personification of politics. We can't talk personal politics, we must talk ANC". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Gloomy mood of business and consumers in spotlight today - Robert Laing () 08/01/18 08:43:00

The persistent pessimism of South African business and consumers will be in the spotlight today, with several releases delayed by the summer holidays scheduled for publication. The SARB will release December's forex reserve figures this morning. After rising to $50.3bn in Nov. from $48.9bn in Oct., December's figures are expected to have held about level. The ABSA PMI is also scheduled for release at 11am. INVESTEC economist KAMILLA KAPLAN on Friday said she expected the poll to show the pessimism of local factory managers improved slightly to around 49 points in Dec., from 48.6 in Nov. The SA Chamber of Commerce and industry is scheduled to release its Dec. business confidence index at 11.30am. TRADING ECONOMICS forecasts that business confidence weakened to 94.2 points in Dec. from 95.1 points in Nov. The Bureau for Economic Research is scheduled to release its FNB-sponsored consumer confidence index for Q4 at 1pm. The BER said on its website that there was no Q3 survey as retailers seemed to have viewed their customers as too miserable to bother polling. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Mpumalanga communities get 16.1% stake in Nkomati coal mine - Sizwe Sama Yende () 08/01/18 08:43:00

Rural communities in Mpumalanga have been granted a 16.1% stake in a coal mine following a ground-breaking agreement reached after SENTULA MINING secured a R151m loan from the INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. The agreement will put an end to tensions between the owners of the Nkomati anthracite mine and the surrounding tribal communities near Komatipoort, who have over the years accused the mine's management of overlooking locals when employing staff, of degrading their farming land and of blasting too close to their houses. SENTULA owns 60% of the mine via subsidiary BENICON COAL, and the rest is owned by the Mpumalanga Growth Development Agency, an SOE. MEGA played a major role in securing a stake in the mine for residents following engagements with them over the past two years. MEGA CEO XOLA SITHOLE said the advancement of the IDC loan would be undertaken once various conditions were met. These include Nkomati's submission of all relevant environmental management approvals to the IDC and the warehousing of the 16.1% of the issued share capital of Nkomati on behalf of the local communities. Once the warehousing arrangement is implemented, SENTULA's shareholding in Nkomati will be diluted by 9.66% to 50.34%, while MEGA will retain its 33.56%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Steinhoff to sell Gulfstream jet as funds ebb - Renee Bonorchis (SNH) 08/01/18 08:43:00

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL is selling one of its more high-flying assets as it seeks liquidity to keep itself afloat. The company is in talks with a potential buyer of a 2006 Gulfstream G550 private jet that's shuttled executives around the world, according to a source. The luxuriously appointed craft previously had a price tag of around $25m. The plane was put up for sale after the company announced on Dec. 5 that it had uncovered accounting irregularities. The company last week said it's seeking "significant near-term liquidity" for some of its business units. STEINHOFF said it took delivery of the jet in Apr. 2017. It was advertised by GLOBAL JET, an operator of business aircraft, for $24.75m in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SA, Nigeria woes to slow down Dangote cement volumes - Memory Mataranyika () 08/01/18 08:43:00

Weakness in its Nigerian and South African markets is expected to drag down DANGOTE CEMENT's overall volumes this year as competitors across the continent consolidate and streamline operations, industry analysts say. DANGOTE CEMENT has been rapidly expanding across Africa, but experts at EXOTIX CAPITAL have said in a research note on the African cement industry that DANGOTE CEMENT will hit the skids in its SA and Nigeria operations. "We expect a decline in DANGOTE group volumes of minus 8% year on year, weighed by weakness in key markets of Nigeria and South Africa, which offsets growth in others including Cameroon, Senegal and Ethiopia", EXOTIX said. DANGOTE's prospects are expected to further suffer from "an increase in operating expenses resulting from rising admin and distribution costs" as well as "higher net interest expenses on a higher debt" balance. Challenges for DANGOTE in other markets such as Tanzania, where weaker prices and high fuel costs remain key headwinds, are also expected. Imports restrictions in Ghana will also weigh down volumes. However, the EXOTIX analysts are expecting profit margins for DANGOTE to improve during the year, and have forecast an expansion in EBITDA to 46.8%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


ANC lauds exam results, but opposition, unions not impressed - ANA () 08/01/18 07:50:00

The ANC on Friday applauded a higher pass rate for the 2017 school ending examinations, but opposition parties said the results were much weaker when factoring in a high dropout rate. The ANC said the National Senior Certificate exam results announced on Thursday, which showed a 75.1% pass rate, up from 72.5% in 2016, were the outcome of "years of toil, dedication and determination by the learners, educators, parents and other education stakeholders over a concerted period of time". But the DA said the real pass rate was much lower at 37.3% if taking into account that many pupils had dropped out of school between the Grade 10 class of 2015 and those who ultimately wrote their final exams in 2017. "The situation has worsened from last year's real pass rate of 40.2%, suggesting that our schooling system is not a 'system on the rise' as claimed", DA Shadow Deputy minister of Basic Education NOMSA MARCHESI said. The SACP said it was concerned that school results in some provinces remained sub par. Trade union NEHAWU said it was worried about the high dropout rate and the poor examination results from rural areas. While 1.19m learners were enrolled for Grade 1 in 2006, the number of those who sat for the matrix exams last year was 651 707, meaning that 533 491 had dropped out along the way, NEHAWU said, adding that this lowered the actual 2017 pass rate to 41%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Libyan oil revenues up sharply in 2017, budget deficit halved - Aidan Lewis () 08/01/18 07:13:00

Libya earned $14bn in oil revenues in 2017, nearly three times more than in the previous year, allowing it to halve its budget deficit, the central bank said last week. Libya's budget deficit for 2017 stood at 10.6bn Libyan dinars, down from 20.3bn dinars the previous year. Oil revenues had totalled $4.8bn in 2016. Oil earnings accounted for more than 86% of Libya's total national revenues of 22.31bn dinars. Of 32.7bn dinars worth of state spending, 20.3bn dinars went on state salaries and 6bn dinars on subsidies. The Tripoli central bank said its figures did not include 22bn dinars of what it regards as unauthorised spending by the central bank in the east. Libya has been divided since 2014 between rival institutions and warring factions based in the east and west. The central bank in Tripoli has continued to control oil revenues, which account for nearly all the country's income, and to disburse them across the country. Oil production recovered to around 1m bpd last year, but this is still well below the more than 1.6m bpd Libya was pumping before the 2011 uprising. Foreign reserves have fallen to an estimated $67.5bn, compared to $123.5bn in 2012, according to the World Bank. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


OPEC oil cut adherence rises in Dec. - Alex Lawler () 08/01/18 07:13:00

OPEC deepened compliance with an oil supply-cutting deal in Dec. due to a further decline in Venezuelan output and extra cuts by Gulf exporters, a Reuters survey found. Adherence to the curbs rose to 128% from 125% in Nov., the survey found. The United Arab Emirates for the first time since the deal took effect in Jan. 2017 pumped below its OPEC targt, joining Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. OPEC is reducing output by around 1.2m bpd as part of a deal with Russia and other non-OPEC producers. The pact will run until the end of 2018. The survey shows no sign of producers upping production to cash in on higher prices or to replace the decline in Venezuela. Saudi Arabia trimmed output by 60 000 bpd, according to sources in the survey who cited stable to lower exports and lower refinery processing, putting supply further below the kingdom's OPEC target. Meanwhile, Libyan output slipped by 30 000 bpd, hampered by damage to a pipeline in a suspected attack and other outages. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 08/01/2018 () 08/01/18 07:13:00

At 07h12 on 08 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.30 ZAR/EUR 14.81 ZAR/GBP 16.70 Gold 1320.21 Platinum 968.00 Brent Crude Oil 67.80 All Share 59717.20


UK new car sales post biggest drop since 2009 - Reuters () 08/01/18 07:12:00

British new car sales recorded their biggest drop since 2009 last year, falling by more than 5% due to uncertainty over potential new diesel charges and weakening consumer confidence since Brexit, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said on Friday. Registrations ended 2017 at around 2.54m vehicles, according to provisional data - a fall of up to 7% y/y. Demand for diesel vehicles fell 17% as consumers were put off by potential new charges, pushing up average CO2 emissions for new cars for the first time in two decades as some switched to petrol. Sales in Dec. fell 13.9% and SMMT CEO MIKE HAWES said further declines were likely over the next few months. "The first quarter is going to be tough and March (last year) in particular was an all-time record month. We ain't going to get that next March", HAWES said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Mountain Province prices plunge on finer rough diamonds sold - Henry Lazenby () 08/01/18 07:12:00

The value per carat realised at the tenth tender sale of diamonds produced at MOUNTAIN PROVINCE DIAMONDS' 49%-owned Gahcho Kue mine has fallen to the lowest level since sales started 12 months ago. The company recorded sale proceeds of $19.1m for the 10th tender sale, from the sale of 364 000ct of rough diamonds, compared with revenues of $19m derived from the sale of 288 000ct of diamonds sold during the ninth tender sale held in Nov. The value per carat dropped to $53/ct, down 20% on the previous tender sale. MOUNTAIN PROVINCE advised that the decrease in average price realisation compared with the 9th sale is mainly owing to a finer size distribution of goods. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China aims to supersize coal sector via mergers - Reuters () 08/01/18 07:12:00

China on Friday said it plans to create several "super-large" coal mining companies by the end of 2020 as it ramps up years of efforts to streamline the sector and slash outdated capacity. China's National Development and Reform Commission said that by the end of 2020, the country plans to form a number of mega-miners, each with the capacity to produce 100mt/year of coal, which will compete on the global market and help to modernise the sector. Last year, China had more than 4 000 coal mines with a total capacity of 3.41bn tonnes a year, the National Energy Administration said in Nov. Only six of China's coal mining companies are currently capable of producing more than 100mt/year, according to the China National Coal Association. Among the steps proposed on Friday, the NDRC said it would encourage the coal industry to undertake more dealmaking with chemical coal, shipping and iron and steel firms. It also called for the continued phase-out of outdated production by encouraging small-scale, inefficient mines to close, it said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Sale of Lafarge Africa's SA unit may be on the cards - Tawanda Karombo () 08/01/18 07:12:00

LAFARGE AFRICA could put up its South African unit for sale this year and potentially use the proceeds to strategically shore up and stabilise its Nigerian business, experts have said, signalling potential mergers and acquisitions in the continent's rapidly growing cement industry. The cement industry in SA has increasingly become competitive while in the rest of the African market, major players are seen consolidating their markets. But experts at EXOTIX CAPITAL say there is a "lack of sufficient visibility on the South African business" by LAFARGE AFRICA. They add that LAFARGE AFRICA "continues to struggle amid a tougher operating environment and internal operating challenges". "Our view is that LAFARGE AFRIC could channel proceeds from any potential sale of LAFARGE SOUTH AFRICA HOLDINGS towards stabilising and de-risking the Nigeria business, particularly as LAFARGE SOUTH AFRICA faces headwinds from a weak operating environment and intensifying competitive pressures", EXOTIX CAPITAL said. "We do not have tangible information of moves from competitors or from the major shareholders itself about LAFARGE SA being put up for sale. But this is a highly dynamic and competitive industry and anything is possible, even at the top of the market", said one regional executive at a cement company. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Sudan's bread prices double after govt cuts wheat subsidies - Khaled Abdelaziz () 08/01/18 07:12:00

Bread prices in Sudan have doubled, the country's Bakeries Union said on Friday, a few days after the government eliminated subsidies under its 2018 budget. The price of one loaf of bread rose from 0.5 Sudanese pounds to 1 pound, the union said, after the prices of wheat flour rose. Sudan's government has begun a series of economic reforms in line with IMF recommendations aimed at putting the country's ailing economy back on track. State Minister for Finance MAGDI HASSAN YASEEN late last month said the competition between companies importing wheat would prevent such an increase in the prices. The government would buy locally produced wheat at "encouraging prices", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Rand expected to weaken as fiscal worries return - Vuyani Ndaba () 08/01/18 07:12:00

The rand is likely to weaken over 12% this year, hit by doubts about how much ANC president CYRIL RAMAPHOSA can do for SA's ailing economy. The rand is expected to weaken to 13.85 against the dollar by the end of the year, according to a Reuters poll published on Friday. That is a smaller decline than the 14.30 predicted during 2018 in the previous poll. "I am not sure how the budget is going to work, how free education is going to play out. I am not sure what downgrades are going to happen based on that information" , EFCONSULT economist FRANK BLACKMORE said. The rand has been buoyant, at 12.29/$, a level strategists say is just about fair value for the currency, after RAMAPHOSA was elected ANC leader in Dec. However, technical indicators suggest the currency is overbought. "It is still going to be a challenging year. There is some scope for the rand to appreciate, but investors will be looking closely at how quickly RAMAPHOSA will be able to make progress on structural reforms", RABOBANK strategist PIOTR MATYS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US private sector adds 250 000 jobs in Dec. - Pan Kwan Yuk () 05/01/18 10:22:00

The US private sector added far more jobs than expected in Dec., further underscoring the strength of the labour market. Non-farm private employers added 250 000 jobs, according to payroll processor ADP. The figure easily trounced forecasts for a gain of 190 000 and is the biggest monthly increase since Mar. The service sector drove the bulk of the gains, adding 222 000 jobs, the most since Jun. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Aldi reports bumper Christmas in UK - Katie Martin () 05/01/18 10:21:00

ALDI sold over 4m mince pies in the run-up to Christmas, helping the discount retailer to generate over £10bn in sales through the year in the UK and Ireland for the first time. The company also flogged over 6.8m bottles of wine and fizz, or 200 000 a day. Sales rose by 15% in the UK in December, compared to the same period in 2016. ALDI said that for store staff, it would meet the Living Wage Foundation's recommended pay rates of £8.75/hr, or £10.20 in London, from February. It claims to be the country's highest paying supermarket. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Toshiba closes at 2-month high after Westinghouse sale - Edward White () 05/01/18 10:21:00

TOSHIBA shares closed at their highest in two months on Friday after the company sold its US nuclear engineering unit. WESTINGHOUSE, which went bankrupt last year, was acquired by BROOKFIELD in a $4.6bn deal. TOSHIBA shares gained as much as 3.4% in early trading in Tokyo before pulling back to close up 2.2% on the day. The company's stock is still down 28% from late 2016. The sale is seen as a vote of confidence in the future of WESTINGHOUSE's nuclear services business, in spite of the problems at the two large new nuclear construction projects in the US that forced the company into administration. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


German retail sales beat estimates - Adam Samson () 05/01/18 10:21:00

Retail sales rose 2.3% in Germany in Nov. m/m on a calendar and seasonally adjusted basis, the Federal Statistics Office said this morning. The reading beat expectations in a Reuters poll of a 1% rise and represented a rebound from a 1% contraction in the previous period. "The headline likely is flattered by Black Friday sales - which [seasonal adjustments] can't adequately cope with - and the fact that November 2017 had one more shopping day than in 2016", said CLAUS VISTESEN, chief eurozone economist at PANTHEON MACROECONOMICS. But he said it was a "much welcome rebound" from October's reading that leaves him "more confident that overall consumption recovered in the fourth quarter" from a bump lower in the previous period. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


UK services companies signal further rise in cost pressures - IHS survey - Adam Samson () 05/01/18 10:21:00

UK services companies said they experienced the sharpest jump in operating costs in three months in Dec., according to a key survey that underscores the pressure rapid inflation is putting on British industry. The IHS MARKIT services PMI showed that the cost of doing business rose on the back of higher transportation costs, staff salaries and utility bills. Overall, services companies reported a rise in the rate of activity in Dec. from the previous month. IHS MARKIT's index for the sector rose to 54.2 from 53.8. "Service providers indicated another marked increase in their average prices charged, which was overwhelmingly linked to strong cost pressures", IHS said. "Businesses were paying more for food, fuel and higher salaries, trying to encourage talented staff in a landscape of tight labour market conditions and difficulties replacing skilled employees", IHS MARKIT senior economist CHRIS WILLIAMSON said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Insurers faced record $135bn in costs from natural disasters in 2017 - Munich Re - Olaf Storbeck () 05/01/18 10:21:00

German reinsurer MUNICH RE says natural disasters in 2017 exposed the global insurance industry to a record level of costs which give "a foretaste of what is to come". Hurricanes and earthquakes in the Americas, floodings in Asia and other natural disasters resulted in a total insurance bill of $135bn. The costs are almost three times above the 10-year average of $49bn and 8% higher than the previous records seen in 2005 and 2011. "Even though individual events cannot be directly traded to climate change, our experts expect such extreme weather to occur more often in future", MUNICH RE board member TORSTEN JEWORREK said, adding that some of the catastrophic events "are giving us a foretaste of what is to come". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Palladium hits new record high on supply crunch - Neil Hume () 05/01/18 10:21:00

Palladium hit a record high yesterday, boosted by a weaker dollar and concerns of a supply crunch. The metal traded as high as $1 099/oz, but later fell back to $1 095/oz. Palladium gained almost 60% last year. The metal's main use is in the catalysts used to curb harmful emissions from gasoline, or petrol-powered vehicles. Demand for the metal has exceeded supply for several years, driving down stocks of the metal. Inventories in warehouses managed by NYMEX fell 44% last year to just over 40 000oz. As a result, consumers have been trying to source the metal from other places. Holdings of palladium-backed ETFs fell 10% in Dec. and now stand at 1.26moz - their lowest level since 2010. In total, they fell 24% last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


ECB ups Deutsche's capital requirements - Laura Noonan () 05/01/18 10:21:00

The European Central Bank has increased the amount of capital DEUTSCHE BANK must hold to meet regulatory minimums for 2018 at a time when capital demands across the eurozone banking system are "stable". DEUTSCHE announced its new supervisory minimum capital requirement yesterday morning. The German lender must maintain a common equity tier one capital ratio of 10.65% on a phased-in basis, higher than its required 9.52% ratio for 2017. DEUTSCHE's actual CET1 ratio is 11.58%, boosted by an €8bn capital raise last year. It attributed the higher ratio to the phasing in of capital conversion ratio and the so-called GSIB buffer that the world's most systemically important banks must maintain. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Updated market indicators for 08/11/2017 () 05/01/18 10:21:00

At 10h21 on 08 November 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.33 ZAR/EUR 14.87 ZAR/GBP 16.71 Gold 1318.48 Platinum 960.00 Brent Crude Oil 67.95 All Share 59354.02


US policy reversal snuffs out marijuana trade momentum - Jessica Dye () 05/01/18 09:42:00

The US Department of Justice's reversal of Obama-era policy that helped pave the way for multiple states to legalise medical and recreational marijuana has investors passing on the green rush, for now. The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF was down more than 4% yesterday after reports that Attorney General JEFF SESSIONS would scrap a previously instituted "safe harbour" from federal prosecution in states that had legalised the drug. "It is the mission of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws of the United States, and the previous issuance of guidance undermines the rule of law and the ability of our local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners to carry out this mission", SESSIONS said. While numerous states have made marijuana legal in some form, it is still illegal under federal law, setting up a potential conflict that has injected a new dose of paranoia into the industry. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Trump administration proposes opening most US federal waters to oil drilling - Barney Jopson () 05/01/18 09:42:00

The TRUMP administration is overturning a long-standing tenet of US energy policy by proposing to open a huge swath of federal waters to oil and gas drilling. The US interior department yesterday responded to an executive order issued by DONALD TRUMP in Apr. 2017 by unveiling plans to make around 90% of federal waters available for drilling. The decision was quickly condemned by environmentalists and is set to meet resistance from even some Republican politicians in affected areas. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Argentina offers three-part bond - fastFT.com () 05/01/18 09:42:00

Argentina yesterday hit the international credit market again, offering a $9bn three-part US dollar bond to cover some of the government's financing needs. The sale includes three tranches of five, 10 and 30 years, with respective yields of 4.625% on $1.75bn, 6% on $4.25bn and 6.95% on $3bn. The bonds have expected ratings of B2 by MOODY's and B- by S&P. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Spotify touts 70m subscribers - Jessica Dye () 05/01/18 09:42:00

SPOTIFY yesterday said in a tweet that it now has 70m subscribers, passing the 60m milestone it reached in July. The announcement comes after the revelation that it has filed paperwork to list its shares on the NYSE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Apple confirms all Mac, iOS devices affected by chip flaw - Alice Woodhouse () 05/01/18 09:42:00

APPLE has said all iPhones, iPads and Mac computers are affected by a pervasive flaw in chip design that has led to two vulnerabilities, dubbed Meltdown and Spectre. APPLE yesterday said it had already released mitigations in iOS 11.2 and macOS 10.13.2 to defend against Meltdown and that the APPLE watch is not affected by Meltdown. It plans to release mitigations in web browser Safari to defend against Spectre. Tech companies are racing to plug the industry-wide security hole that stems from a common flaw in chip designs that could expose almost all computer users to the theft of at least some sensitive data. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Japan services growth slows in Dec. - Edward White () 05/01/18 09:42:00

Activity in Japan's services sector weakened to a three month low in Dec. amid a softer rise in new orders. The NIKKEI-MARKIT services PMI fell to 51.1 from 51.2 in Nov. IHS MARKIT economist JOE HAYES said the pace of expansion was the second lowest in 2017 and that growth in new orders was the softest since Sep. 2016. However, he noted an accelerated rate of job creation and strengthening business confidence. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


North, South Korea to hold talks next week - Bryan Harris () 05/01/18 09:42:00

North Korea and South Korea have agreed to hold high-level talks next week amid signs of warming relations on the peninsula. The talks will focus on the North's potential participation in the Winter Olympics in South Korea next month - an event Seoul hopes will contribute to peace in the region. The decision to hold talks comes shortly after the US and South Korea agreed to postpone annual military exercises until after the Olympics. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Discounts send UK shop prices sliding in Dec. - Alice Woodhouse () 05/01/18 09:42:00

UK shop prices fell further into deflationary terrritory in Dec. as retailers offered discounts on non-food products, the British Retail Consortium said this morning. The BRC-NIELSEN shop price index found prices fell 0.6% y/y in Dec., the deepest deflation since March. Non-food prices recorded their steepest contraction since Jan. 2017, dropping 2.1% y/y compared with a 1.1% fall in Nov. Food prices rose 1.8% in Dec., gathering pace from the 1.5% gain in Nov. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China brewers pop on report of price increases - Alice Woodhouse () 05/01/18 09:42:00

Chinese brewers fizzed today following a report they had raised the price of some products in the face of rising costs. SOUTHERN METROPOLITAN DAILY reported higher labour, materials and transport costs have forced CHINA RESOURCES SNOW BREWERIES and TSINGTAO BREWERY to raise the price of some products from Jan. 1. CHINA RESOURCES BEER, the parent company of CHINA RESOURCES SNOW BREWERIES, rose as much as 11.8% to a record following today's report. TSINGTAO's Hong Kong-listed shares surged as much as 23% to touch a two-and-a-half year high. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Brookfield Business Partners to buy Westinghouse - Ed Crooks () 05/01/18 09:41:00

WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC COMPANY has been sold by owner TOSHIBA to BROOKFIELD BUSINESS PARTNERS, a private equity group, for $4.6bn. The deal is conditional on approval from the bankruptcy court and regulators around the world. BROOKFIELD is funding the deal with around $1bn in equity and $3bn in long-term debt, with the remainder coming from pension and environmental liabilities that it is taking on. BROOKFIELD said WESTINGHOUSE had a strong market position as the largest service provider to nuclear power plants worldwide, earning the majority of its profits from long-term contracts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US gasoline, distillate fuel inventories surge - Jessica Dye () 05/01/18 09:41:00

A larger-than-expected gain in US gasoline and distillate inventories helped to push gasoline futures lower. Data from the Energy Information Administration yesterday showed that crude oil stockpiles fell by 7.4m barrels in the week ending Dec. 29. Analysts were expecting a draw of 5.14m barrels. Gasoline inventories rose by 4.8m barrels, more than double the expected 2.18m barrel gain. Distillates jumped sharply, up 8.9m barrels versus the 477 000 barrel increase analysts were looking for. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


UK health and safety regulator probing Forties pipeline outage - David Sheppard () 05/01/18 09:41:00

The UK Health and Safety Executive is carrying out an investigation into the shutdown of the Forties Pipeline System. The HSE said it had carried out inspections during repairs of a crack in an onshore section of the 450 000 bpd line near Aberdeen, but that investigations into the circumstances surrounding the incident were "ongoing". The pipeline, which is operated by INEOS, returned to full operation over Christmas and the New Year. INEOS had completed its purchase of the line from BP just two months prior to the discovery of the crack. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Koko reinstatement flies in face of rule of law - BLSA - Carin Smith () 05/01/18 08:37:00

The reinstatement of suspended ESKOM executives MATSHELA KOKO and PRISH GOVENDER "flies in the face of the rule of law", Business Leadership SA said yesterday. KOKO faced a disciplinary hearing over allegedly not declaring a conflict of interest while his stepdaughter was a director at IMPULSE INTERNATIONAL, a company which benefited from around R1bn worth of contracts awarded by ESKOM over 11 months. GOVENDER was implicated regarding monies paid to MCKINSEY in a contract which has been declared unlawful and void by ESKOM. In the view of BLSA, the reinstatements of KOKO and GOVENDER goes against the principle of holding executives accountable. It also weakens efforts by business and labour to work with government in restoring confidence in the local economy. In its views, KOKO's reinstatement shows a "poor grasp of governance" by Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN. BLSA called for a complete overhaul of those ESKOM board members and executives who are captured in its view. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ramaphosa win could boost luxury property, especially in Jhb - Carin Smith () 05/01/18 08:29:00

The election of CYRIL RAMAPHOSA as ANC president will likely have a positive impact on the confidence of SA's luxury property buyers, according to RORY O'HAGAN, CEO of the Luxury Property division at CHAS EVERITT INTERNATIONAL. O'HAGAN said this would likely be the case especially in Johannesburg where the luxury property sector is dominated by South African and African buyers seeking primary residences or secondary homes that are used for business rather than holiday purposes. "With [Johannesburg] being the financial capital of Africa, there is generally no real shortage of luxury buyers in Johannesburg, but they have been holding back over the past few months in the sense that they have been reluctant to spend more than about R10m to R15m, pending the outcome of the ANC conference", O'HAGAN said. "However, the orderly nature of the conference and the election of Mr RAMAPHOSA as the new ANC president seems to have broken the log-jam, and we have already received a flood of enquiries just in the past few days for homes in the R20m to R30m range". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Steinhoff shares rally, but investors urged to remain cautious - Lameez Omarjee (SNH) 05/01/18 08:29:00

The share price of STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL strengthened by as much as 30% yesterday in the wake of positive news from its POUNDLAND subsidiary. The share opened at R7.10 yesterday morning and briefly reached an intraday high of R9.30. It was trading at R8.52 by late afternoon, up 23.8% on the day. While STEINHOFF's shares have risen over the past two days, they are still trading around 80% down from a month ago. MUSA MAKONI, a trading specialist at EASY EQUITIES, said investors needed to be cautious despite the recent rally. He said shareholders will have to wait for the release of the company's restated financial statements, dating back as far as 2015, to more fully understand what happened at the group. Separately, STEINHOFF yesterday announced that current CFO BEN LA GRANGE had stepped down as CFO and as a member of the management board to "focus on the preservation and procurement of liquidity in the group" and help finalise its delayed 2017 financial results. He will be replaced as CFO by PHILIP DIEPERINK, who is currently the CFO of STEINHOFF UK. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


MAS appoints new CEO - Fin24 (MSP) 05/01/18 08:29:00

MAS REAL ESTATE yesterday announced that MORNE WILKEN has been appointed as its new CEO with effect from Jan. 1. This follows the resignation of LUKAS NAKOS, who ceased to be a director on Dec. 31. Finweek in Aug. 2017 reported that NAKOS would be stepping down as CEO of MAS as a court case brought by the regulator in the Isle of Man "relating to the collapsed LOUIS GROUP, a company from which he resigned in 2008, will take up a lot of his time". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Sirius expands German footprint with business park buy - Fin24 (SRE) 05/01/18 08:29:00

SIRIUS REAL ESTATE has acquired a business park for €9.2m in the city of Krefeld. The company specialises in business property, especially for the SME market in Germany. It is the third site that SIRIUS acquired in Krefeld. The business park has 10 398m² of "modern quality" office and warehouse space. It has an occupancy of 72% and an annualised rental income of €0.7m. "Krefeld is one of the many markets we know extremely well in Germany and we are confident of adding value to this, the latest of our Krefeld acquisitions", SIRIUS CEO ANDREW COOMBS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Jooste connection places Sun Met in firing line - Jan Cronje () 05/01/18 08:29:00

The Public Servants Association yesterday said it would protest the upcoming Sun Met horse race after it received information that horses co-owned by former STEINHOFF CEO MARKUS JOOSTE will be taking part. "In our view, JOOSTE will still be part of the horse racing fraternity and will continue to make millions while he managed to lose billion sin investments of public servants", PSA general manager IVAN FREDERICKS said. "JOOSTE has seen no repercussions for his actions, while public servants' hard-earned pension money cannot be recouped. We call on all public servants and other affected stakeholders to join the protest march to call for stronger action to be taken against JOOSTE". Sun Met did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The race is set to take place on Jan. 27 at the Kenilworth Racecourse. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Free tertiary education will be phased in, says minister - ANA () 05/01/18 08:29:00

Higher Education Minister HLENGIWE MKHIZE on Wednesday said free tertiary education will not be implemented immediately, but rather be part of a new system to be phased in over the next five years. MKHIZE was briefing the media on the registration process at tertiary institutions in the wake of the recent announcement by President JACOB ZUMA that higher education would be free for the poor. She said the phasing in of the new system would allow for treasury to formulate and implement a new budget plan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China's steel futures fall as snow to curtail construction demand - Reuters () 05/01/18 08:29:00

China's steel rebar futures fell yesterday on concerns of waning demand in the construction sector due to snow forecasts in the northern part of the country. Cold weather is expected to hit regions across China in coming weeks, bringing snow and rain that may cause disruptions at construction sites. The most-active construction steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 1.2% to Rmb3 798/t in early trade yesterday. Spot steel fell 0.12% to Rmb4 471.41/t on Wednesday, consultants MYSTEEL reported on its website. The most active iron ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 0.7% to Rmb537/t. Iron ore for delivery to Qingdao port rose 0.26% to $74.97/t on Wednesday, according to Metal Bulletin. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Union at Chile Lomas Bayas mine far from deal with Glencore - Reuters (GLN) 05/01/18 07:36:00

Unionised workers at GLENCORE's Lomas Bayas copper mine, in Chile, rejected a final contract offer and began government-facilitated mediation on Thursday to avoid a strike, the union said, adding that they were still far from agreement. Union president PEDRO VALDIVIA said workers agreed to lay down tools on Jan. 10 if no agreement was reached during the mediation. GLENCORE did not immediately respond to a request for comment. New labour laws and rising copper prices have emboldened miners throughout Chile. Chile's National Mining Society has said more than 30 pending negotiatoins over expiring workers' contracts in 2018 could curb output if strikes continue to hit the sector. Lomas Bayas produced 67 000t of copper between Jan. and Oct. 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Chevron SA majority to go to Sinopec - Siseko Njobeni () 05/01/18 07:36:00

The Competition Commission has recommended that the Competition Tribunal conditionally approve SOIHL HONG KONG HOLDINGS' acquisition of 75% of CHEVRON SA. SOIHL HK is owned by CHINA PETROLEUM & CHEMICAL CORPORATION, which is a state-owned Chinese company. SOIHL HK is a manufacturer and supplier of petroleum and petrochemical products. "The proposed transaction is unlikely to substantially prevent or lessen competition in any of the identified markets. However, in order to alleviate any possible loss of employment post-merger as well as any potential impact on CSA's retired employees, the commission recommends that conditions be imposed which address the identified public interest concerns", the Commission said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Steinhoff's Poundland reports record Christmas trading - Reuters (SNH) 05/01/18 07:36:00

POUNDLAND, the British discount retailer owned by STEINHOFF, yesterday said it enjoyed a record Christmas trading period with sales up 5.6% in the 12 weeks to Dec. 24. Like-for-like sales in the three weeks to Christmas Day were up 6%. POUNDLAND is part of the PEPKOR EUROPE stable that sits within STEINHOFF and also includes the DEALZ, PEP&CO and PEPCO brands. PEPKOR EUROPE said it had replaced planned investment from STEINHOFF in full with a new independent £180m loan facility to support its ongoing capital expenditure and investment plans for POUNDLAND, DEALZ, PEP&CO and PEPCO. UK furniture retailer HARVEYS and BENSONS FOR BEDS also this week said they had secured a new two-year independent finance facility via PEPKOR EUROPE that will replace STEINHOFF's planned investment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ecsponent eyeing R100m VSS shares - Sandile Mchunu (ECS) 05/01/18 07:36:00

ECSPONENT plans to invest up to R100m in cumulative perpetual preference shares issued by private equity investment firm VSS FINANCIAL SERVICES. The company said it intended to invest in tranches, with R30m investment expected to be completed by Wednesday this week. ECSPONENT said one of its strategic directives was the investment into private equity investments. "The board has identified VSS as a value-adding investment. The anticipated dividend yield on the investment will further enhance ECSPONENT's after tax returns", it said. VSS was 100% held by financial tech company MYBUCKS. In April 2017, ECSPONENT acquired a 10% stake in MYBUCKS for around R263m. ECSPONENT said the deal would give it an opportunity to derive some of its income in foreign currencies as MYBUCKS was listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SA's private sector activity slows to 20-month low in Dec. - Reuters () 05/01/18 07:36:00

South African private sector economic activity contracted for a fifth consecutive month in Dec. as factory output and new orders fell, a survey showed yesterday. The STANDARD BANK PMI, compiled by IHS MARKIT, fell to 48.4 in Dec. from 48.8 in Nov. It was its fifth month in contraction and the lowest reading since Apr. 2016. Lack of demand and therefore output led companies to continue to cut workforce numbers, purchasing activity and inventories. A reduction in business activity was the main influence over the decline in business conditions, the survey said. Contractions in output were linked to a lack of client demand and challenging market conditions, IHS MARKIT said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Kenya private sector activity expands for first time in eight months - Reuters () 05/01/18 07:36:00

Kenyan private sector economic activity grew in Dec., expanding for the first time since April, after political risks subsided following the conclusion of a prolonged presidential election, survey data showed yesterday. The MARKIT STANBIC PMI for manufacturing and services rose to 53.0, from 42.8 in Nov. In Oct., the PMI slumped to 34.4 after the opposition boycotted a repeat presidential vote ordered by the Supreme Court. "Growth will recover over the coming year, supported by the agriculture and tourism sector, while a resumption in public spending will also add some much-needed stimulus", said JIBRAN QUREISHI, regional economist for East Africa at STANBIC BANK. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Tanzania shuts five small community banks - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala () 05/01/18 07:36:00

Tanzania's central bank yesterday revoked the licences of five "critically undercapitalised" community banks to protect financial stability in the country. The central bank said it would liquidate the COVENANT BANK FOR WOMEN LTD, EFATHA BANK, NJOMBE COMMUNITY BANK, KAGERA FARMERS' COOPERATIVE BANK and MERU COMMUNITY BANK LTD. The central bank said continuation of operations of the banks in their current capital position was "detrimental to the interests of depositors and poses a risk to the stability of the financial system". None of the institutions were immediately available for comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nigeria agrees $550m satellite deal with China - Felix Onuah () 05/01/18 07:36:00

Nigeria has agreed a $550m deal to buy two Chinese communications satellites and hopes to sign the contract before the end of the month, Communications Minister ADEBAYO SHITTU said this week. SHITTU said CHINA EXIM BANK and CHINA GREAT WALL have agreed to pay for the new satellites after Nigeria renegotiated an earlier deal that had required it to cover 15% of the cost. "This is a very big business opportunity... which is... why they have agreed that even without our ability to contribute 15% they are prepared to pay the entire sum of $550m for the procurement of the two new satellites for Nigeria", SHITTU said. He added that the satellite will be launched after a two-year production period starting from when the paperwork is signed. SHITTU said the funds were not a loan but the Chinese company will take an equity stake in NIGCOMSAT, a limited liability company owned by the Nigerian government responsible for managing satellite communications. Both parties will agree on a percentage share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Angola's depleting forex reserves led to currency easing - Tiisetso Motsoeneng () 05/01/18 07:36:00

Angola's depleting forex reserves prompted the central bank to ease currency controls, the regulator said yesterday, a day after plans were announced to restructure foreign debt and allow looser trading of the kwanza. The central bank on Wednesday said it would shift from a currency peg to a trading bank, which would keep the kwanza's value against the US dollar within an as-yet undefined range. The changes will be implemented from this month. Angola also plans to refinance its external debt, which stands at $38bn, Finance Minister ARCHER MANGUEIRA said. The central bank yesterday said its decision to ease currency controls came after it had analysed the "macroeconomic fundamentals of the Angolan economy, and particularly the decreasing trend of international reserves". Angola has maintained a quasi-pegged exchange rate of around 166 kwanza per dollar, even though the dollar buys about 400 kwanza on the black market. It has been trying to defend the currency using forex reserves, but reserves have more than halved since 2013 to about $14bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 05/01/2018 () 05/01/18 07:36:00

At 07h36 on 05 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.29 ZAR/EUR 14.85 ZAR/GBP 16.67 Gold 1321.39 Platinum 961.00 Brent Crude Oil 67.95 All Share 59476.77


Updated market indicators for 08/11/2017 () 04/01/18 09:44:00

At 09h44 on 08 November 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.34 ZAR/EUR 14.85 ZAR/GBP 16.69 Gold 1309.74 Platinum 947.50 Brent Crude Oil 68.15 All Share 59659.00


EOH predicts earnings will plunge almost R400m in FY - Robert Laing (EOH) 04/01/18 09:38:00

EOH's acrimonious divorce from GRID CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES and its associated companies will cut its FY2018 earnings by about R385m, the company said yesterday. Companies within the GCT group include FORENSIC DATA ANALYSTS, whose founder, KEITH KEATING, recently issued a media release claiming his company "has been exposed to hostile corporate takeover tactics, which began with a demand to hand over shares in the company without compensation". KEATING did not name EOH in his statement, but alluded to some shareholder in FDA, which he accused of using takeover tactics "reminiscent of the methods employed to force OPTIMUM COAL into business rescue". EOH in Nov. said it was in the process of unwinding an investment in the GCT group it made in 2015. KEATING said reports that he had had a corrupt relationship with police officials and had rung up R5.5bn in sales for items such as R300 000 torches" were part of a smear campaign to steal his business away from him. EOH said: "The unwinding involves selling back the companies in the GCT GROUP to the former shareholders for an amount of R365m, which is equal to the cash originally paid and the value-adjusted EOH shares originally transferred. The unwinding is unexpected to result in a noncash, once-off reduction in consolidated earnings of R385m for the financial year ending July 31". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Viathan issues Nigeria's debut 10-yr guaranteed naira bond - Felix Onuah () 04/01/18 09:38:00

Private equity-backed VIATHAN GROUP has issued Nigeria's debut 10-year corporate infrastructure bond in local currency to raise 10bn naira at a yield of 16% to fund power assets. VIATHAN, owned by SYNERGY PRIVATE EQUITY, develops and operates off-grid power solutions in Nigeria. It issued the bond backed by INFRACREDIT, a triple-A rated credit facility set up by Nigeria's sovereign wealth fund and GUARANTCO. SYNERGY has committed capital of over $100m and has invested in 10 companies in Nigeria and Ghana. VIATHAN provides power solutions for government, households and businesses in Nigeria. It plans to use the proceeds to refinance existing short-term bank loans, expand its generation capacity by 7.5MW, and build a compressed natural gas plant. Twelve pension funds and two insurance firms bought the VIATHAN bond which was priced at a premium of 82 basis points to the 10-year sovereign benchmark bond through a book building. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


PBoC can tell local governments to regulate bitcoin miners' power use - Ryan Woo () 04/01/18 09:38:00

The People's Bank of China told a top-level government internet finance group that the monetary authority can tell local governments to regulate the power usage of bitcoin miners to gradually reduce the scale of their production, a source said. While the central bank can't directly regulate bitcoin miners' power usage, it can ask local authorities to do so, the PBoC told members of the Leading Group of Beijing Internet Financial Risks Remediation at a meeting at the end of 2017. Experts say China is one of the world's biggest sources of botcoin mining. The intensive use of computers for bitcoin mining has boosted demand for electricity. In Sep., China ordered all initial coin offerings to cease and all cryptocurrency trading exchanges to be shuttered with the aim of containing financial risks. Bitcoin miners have feared that they could be the next target. At the meeting, the central bank said development of bitcoin mining will be limited, according to the source, who declined to be named as he is not authorised to speak on the matter. The PBoC could not be reached for immediate comment outside business hours. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Petrobras to pay $2.95bn to settle US corruption suit - Brendan Pierson () 04/01/18 09:38:00

Brazil's PETROBRAS yesterday agreed to pay $2.95bn to settle a US class action corruption lawsuit, in what was said to be the biggest such payout in the US by a foreign entity. The company denied any wrongdoing in the deal, which was one of the largest securities class action settlements in US history. The deal reduces changes PETROBRAS will pay a dividend for 2017, much anticipated by investors who have not seen such a payment since 2014 when the scandal came to light. The settlement put an end to "extremely high uncertainty" about the company's potential liability, JPMORGAN said in a client note, adding that it had expected a figure above $5bn. Analysts at Brazilian bank BTG PACTUAL said the market had expected a settlement of $5bn-$10bn. MOODY's brushed off concerns about the impact of the fine on the company's balance sheet, noting it was expected to generate around $30bn in cash this year and make capital investments of around $15bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


GM's China Dec. vehicle sales up 13.1% y/y - Norihiko Shirouzu () 04/01/18 09:38:00

GENERAL MOTORS sales in China rose 13.1% in Dec. y/y to 491 702 vehicles, having increased 13% in Nov., the company said today. The carmaker's sales volumes in 2017 totalled 4.04m vehicles, up 4.4% y/y. Its sales grew 7.1% in 2016, GE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Apple's battery replacement offer to reduce 2018 iPhone sales - Barclays - Nikhil Subba () 04/01/18 09:38:00

APPLE INC's offer to replace flagging batteries at a reduced rate could be a hurdle for iPhone unit sales in 2018 if more users take the deal over upgrading to a new device, BARCLAYS analysts write in a note. APPLE's customers have not been very pleased since the company last month said it intentionally slowed down older iPhones with weakening batteries to prevent the handset from shutting off abruptly. Following customer outrage, APPLE apologised and slashed the price of out-of-warranty replacement batteries to $29 from $79 for iPhone 6 or later models. BARCLAYS analyst MARK MOSKOWITZ says 77% of iPhone customers are using iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus and SE, which means even a small percentage opting for battery replacement over upgrade could have meaningful impact on iPhone sales. APPLE faces eight lawsuits filed in California, New York and Illinois over the issue. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Spotify files for US public listing - Anna Nicolaou () 04/01/18 09:17:00

Music streaming service SPOTIFY has filed paperwork to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, in an indication that it is pressing on with a unique plan to go public. The Swedish group filed the documents confidentially with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Dec., according to sources. By the end of the first half of 2018, SPOTIFY plans to pursue a so-called direct listing, which means investors will be able to trade shares on the open market without the conventional IPO process. Sources have said the company does not feel it needs to raise money, making the direct listing an attractive option. SPOTIFY was valued at $8.5bn in a 2015 fundraising, although analysts estimate it would be worth at least $20bn if it went public. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Next signals brighter profits after cold weather boosts Christmas sales - Nicholas Megaw () 04/01/18 09:17:00

NEXT kicked off the UK high street's Christmas reporting season on a relatively positive note yesterday, upgrading its profit guidance after cold weather led to unexpectedly strong sales in the run-up to the holidays. The retailer said full price sales in the 54 days to Dec. 24 rose 1.5% y/y, significantly better than the 0.3% decline it had predicted. As a result, NEXT said its central forecast for pre-tax profits for the 12 months to end-Jan. is now £725m, compared to its earlier estimate of £717m. It trimmed the top end of its guidance, and said exact profits will depend on the outcome of its Jan. sales. NEXT said some of the "headwinds" it struggled against in 2017 are likely to "ease" over the next 12 months. NEXT is expecting an improvement in full-price sales growth, with preliminary estimates of a 1.1% increase compared to this year's predicted 0.3% growth. Nonetheless, it said profits will continue to decline, albeit at a slower rate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


German jobless rate ends 2017 at record low - Adam Samson () 04/01/18 09:17:00

Germany's jobless rate held steady in Dec. at a record low, underscoring the strength of the eurozone's biggest economy. The jobless rate clocked in at 5.5% in Dec., steady from the revised Nov. rate, according to FactSet data derived from the Federal Labour Office. Germany's labour market has improved markedly over the past decade. The unemployment rate was 8.6% at end-2007 after breaching 11% in 2006. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


HK entity latest to deny link to N Korea oil sale - Henry Sanderson () 04/01/18 09:17:00

GLOBAL COMMODITIES CONSULTANTS yesterday became the latest company to deny it sold a cargo of oil to North Korea. The Hong Kong-based company confirmed it had bought the cargo of oil from TRAFIGURA but said it had "on-sold" it to another entity, which it said it believed was based in Taiwan. South Korea last week seized a Hong Kong-based vessel, the Lighthouse Winmore, following accusations it had broken UN sanctions by secretly transferring 600t of refined petroleum to a North Korean ship in international waters in Oct. The Lighthouse Winmore was chartered by a Taiwanese company incorporated in the Marshall Islands and the "consignor" was TRAFIGURA. GLOBAL COMMODITIES CONSULTANTS yesterday said that after buying the cargo from TRAFIGURA it sold it to another company for delivery from South Korea to Taiwan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Gazprom gas exports to Europe up 8% on new record - Henry Foy () 04/01/18 09:17:00

Russia's gas exports to Europe rose 8.1% last year to a record level of 193.9bn cubic metres, as GAZPROM continued to increase sales despite rising competitoin fron LNG and other sources. "The second consecutive year of record exports on the one hand demonstrates the rapidly growing demand of European countries for Russian gas, and on the other - its reliability to supply the required volumes", GAZPROM chair ALEXEI MILLER said. GAZPROM's total gas output rose by an annual 12.4% last year to 471bcm, MILLER added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US manufacturing grows more than expected in Dec. - Pan Kwan Yuk () 04/01/18 09:17:00

US manufacturing activity grew more than expected in Dec., underlining the strength of that economy as policymakers deliberate on the pace of interest rate hikes for 2018. The Institute for Supply Management said the reading for its manufacturing index came in at 59.7 last month. That compares to 58.2 recorded in Nov. and ahead of market expectations for no change to the figure. "Another huge ISm reading shows the manufacturing sector is in great shape and will make a major positive contribution to economic growth this year", ING economist JAMES KNIGHTLEY said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Cargill profit drops as weakness in grain trading continues - Gregory Meyer () 04/01/18 09:17:00

CARGILL yesterday reported lower profits in its latest quarter as overflowing crops continued to weigh on its grain trading business. The company's adjusted operating profit shed 8% y/y to $948m in the quarter to end-Nov., while net profit fell 6% to $924m. Three of CARGILL's four segments posted higher results, but total profits were dragged lower by its origination and processing segment, where earnings were down moderately. CARGILL said performance in North American trading and in Asian oilseed processing was ahead of the same period last year. CARGILL's animal nutrition and protein, food ingredients and applications and industrial and financial services segments all increased profits in the quarter. However, the global poultry business - part of animal nutrition and protein - declined. CARGILL's revenue was $29.2bn in the quarter, up 8% compared to the same period last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Allergan to cut more than 1 000 jobs as it seeks to lower costs - Mamta Badkar () 04/01/18 08:19:00

ALLERGAN yesterday said it would cut more than 1 000 jobs as it looks to cut costs while readying for the loss of exclusivity for one of its top-selling treatments. The company said it would eliminate more than 1 000 currently filled positions. The job cuts will be focused on products that already have or will lose their exclusivity. ALLERGAN also said it will eliminate around 400 open positions. A federal judge in Oct. struck down a patent protecting its second-best seller, Restasis - a prescription eye drop which generated around $1.5bn in sales for ALLERGAN in 2016 - and flung open the doors to competitors. ALLERGAN expects to incur charges or around $125m associated primarily with severance-related costs in Q4 to end-Dec. It expects to post overall operating expense savings from its restructuring in the range of $300m-$40om. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Fed minutes show members wrestled with economic impact of tax cuts - Shawn Donnan () 04/01/18 08:19:00

Federal Reserve board members wrestled with how much of an economic impact to expect from tax cuts passed recently as they raised rates last month and continued to be flummoxed by persistent low inflation. The new minutes highlight how the impact of the slashing of the US corporate tax rate and other tax changes passed by Congress in Dec. has emerged as one of the biggest questions hanging over the US economic recovery. President DONALD TRUMP and Republicans argue that a jump in business investment and wage hikes prompted by the tax reforms will boost GDP growth to 4% of higher. But during discussions at their Dec. 12-13 meeting, Fed policymakers predicted a more modest impact on growth. Board members said they expected real GDP growth of just 2.2%-2.6% this year, with a median expectation of 2.5% growth for 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Intel responds to reports of processor flaw - Mamta Badkar () 04/01/18 08:19:00

INTEL yesterday responded to reports of a design flaw in some of its processor chips, saying claims that these are "unique" to its products are incorrect and that it had planned to disclose the issue next week. INTEL shares had declined earlier in the day on a report from tech website The Register that a design flaw in INTEL's processor chips has left computers' kernel memory vulnerable. But in a statement, INTEL said "these exploits do not have the potential to corrupt, modify or delete data". The company also denied the report's claim that it could cause a 5%-30% operational slowdown, noting that "any performance impacts are workload-dependent, and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time". INTEL said it has already begun providing software and firmware updates to address the issues. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Angola plans to ditch currency peg to dollar, restructure debts - Robin Wigglesworth () 04/01/18 08:19:00

Angola yesterday announced plans to ditch its currency peg to the dollar and restructure its debts. Central bank governor JOSE DE LIMA MASSANO and Finance Minister ARCHER MANGUEIRA announced that the country would have to shift to a currency trading bank and "renegotiate" its debts, according to wire reports. CAPITAL ECONOMICS senior emerging markets economist WILLIAM JACKSON said the central bank governor "announced that the kwanza will be allowed to float within a range (that won't be made public). We've argued for some time that the currency needed to fall and our current forecast is that the official exchange rate will drop by around 20%, to 200/$, by year-end, from 165/$ at present. However, a much larger fall is possible - the kwanza is trading beneath 350/$ on the black market". CAPITAL ECONOMICS estimates that Angola's total public debt stands ar around $75bn, or 63% of GDP. Of this, some $30bn is domestic debt, and $45bn is external. JACKSON said most of Angola's external debts were owed to bilateral creditors like China, but he expected the yield on the bond to rocket higher from the record low of 6.71% it touched earlier on Wednesday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


AmEx sees $2.4bn hit from US tax legislation - Mamta Badkar () 04/01/18 08:19:00

AMERICAN EXPRESS yesterday said changes ot the US tax law would reduce its Q4 earnings by $2.4bn and drive it to a quarterly loss. The company also said it expects its FY2017 EPS to be below its forecast of $5.80-$5.90. AMEX also said the changes to the tax law would lower its capital ratios for the fourth quarter. "In particular, the transition to the new territorial tax system will cause us to incur a deemed repatriation tax on undistributed earnings of certain non-US subsidiaries... In addition, the reduction of the US corporate tax rate will cause us to adjust our US deferred tax assets and liabilities to the lower base rate of 21%", AMEX said. Despite the Q4 hit, the company said the lower corporate tax rate "is expected to be a significant ongoing benefit to us". Wall Street had been forecasting a pre-tax profit of $2bn and adjusted EPS of $1.54 in Q4 for the group. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Japan manufacturing PMI rises to near 4-yr high - Alice Woodhouse () 04/01/18 08:19:00

Japan's manufacturing sector ended 2017 on a high note, growing at its fastest pace since early 2014 in Dec. as output growth continued to improve. The NIKKEI-MARKIT manufacturing PMI rose to 54 in Dec., up from 53.6 m/m and the highest since Feb. 2014. Output growth rose for the fifth straight month posting the strongest rate of growth in 46 months as companies reported new domestic and overseas contracts. Operating prices rose sharply amid a weaker yen and high commodity prices forcing the companies to an output charge. However, business confidence dipped slightly to a 13-month low as companies noted concerns over the country's ageing population. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nintendo jumps on report Pokemon Go to launch in China - Alice Woodhouse () 04/01/18 08:19:00

NINTENDO rose as much as 4.5% today following a report from the FT that Pokemon Go developer NIANTIC has struck a deal to launch the game in China. The FT on Tuesday reported that NIANTIC has forged a partnership with Chinese games group NETEASE opening the way to the launch of the NINTENDO-backed game in China. NIANTIC did not disclose a launch date for the game in China. Shares in NINTENDO were up 3.6% in early morning trade, against a 1.7% rise for the benchmark Topix index. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China services sector grows at fastest pace in three years - Alice Woodhouse () 04/01/18 08:19:00

China's services sector grew at its fastest pace in more than three years in Dec., as the volume of new business rose. The CAIXIN-MARKIT services PMI came in at 53.9 in Dec., up from 51.9 m/m and its highest level since Aug. 2014. Companies reported the strongest rise in new orders since May 2015 and continued to add staff on reports of higher business requirements. The CAIXIN-MARKIT composite PMI came in at 53 in Dec., its fastest rate of growth in a year and up from 51.6 in Nov. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Aus cannabis producers surge as govt moves to allow exports - Jamie Smyth () 04/01/18 08:19:00

Australia said it plans to legalise the export of medicinal marijuana products today, pushing the share prices of around a dozen locally listed cannabis producers to record highs. CANN GROUP, AUSCANN GROUP and BOD AUSTRALIA hit record highs on the ASX following Canberra's announcement, which it said would secure supplies for Australian patients and provide opportunities for producers. "We are making these changes because the expanding domestic medicinal cannabis products industry is facing increasing competition from imports", Health Minister GREG HUNT said. "Allowing the export of medicinal cannabis products will help the developing market to grow further". Shares in BOD AUSTRALIA were up 40% at A$0.605, while shares in CANN GROUP were up 33.3% at A$3.84 shortly before the close of trading. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


CompCom approves colluders' plans to empower smaller groups, with conditions - Nick Hedley () 04/01/18 08:19:00

The Competition Commission yesterday said it supported the enterprise development plans of three listed constructions groups, with conditions. RAUBEX, STEFANUTTI STOCKS and WBHO CONSTRUCTION each plan to work with black-owned companies as part of a settlement agreement with government following a probe into widespread collusion in the industry. The Commission said it had recommended to the Competition Tribunal that the three contractors' proposed "economic alliances" be approved, with conditions. In each case, conditions were attached to "limit the flow of competitively sensitive information". Given that the partnerships will be temporary, the Commission imposed conditions "that will serve to regulate the effectiveness of the termination of (each) alliance" to avoid future collusion. RAUBEX plans to partner with UMSO CONSTRUCTION and ENZA CONSTRUCTION, STEFANUTTI will work with TN MOLEFE CONSTRUCTION and AXSYS GROUP, and WBHO with EDWIN CONSTRUCTION, FIKILE CONSTRUCTION and MOTHEO CONSTRUCTION. The alliances will be active for between seven and 10 years, during which time the contractors will have to meet certain targets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Competition Commission gives conditional nod to Old Mutual restructuring - Linda Ensor (OML) 04/01/18 07:10:00

The Competition Commission has recommended to the Competition Tribunal that the acquisition by OLD MUTUAL LTD of OLD MUTUAL PLC be approved with conditions. The deal is part of the restructuring of the group, which will lead to OLD MUTUAL LTD housing the group's emerging markets operations. It will have a primary listing on the JSE and a standard listing on the LSE, as well as secondary listings on the Malawi, Namibia and Zimbabwe bourses. "The commission recommends that the proposed transaction be approved subject to the conditions agreed upon between the merging parties and the Department of Economic Development", the Commission said yesterday. It said OLD MUTUAL LTD had engaged with the department on these issues and had made certain undertakings to address its concerns. The Commission said it was not opposed to these undertakings being made conditions for the approval of the merger. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nelson Mandela Bay water crisis deepens - ANA () 04/01/18 07:10:00

Dam levels in Nelson Mandela Bay which supply drinking water are at an all-time low of 26.94%. Executive Mayor ATHOL TROLLIP last year declared the city a disaster area. In terms of the water situation, more stricter measures were introduced and millions of rands were pumped in to improve water distribution infrastructure and clamp down on water leaks. "More plumbers have been employed, with private sector resources pulled in to augment", Mayoral Committee member MASIXOLE ZINTO said. ZINTO said the metro was busy with water saving initiatives, where schools, businesses and churches were an area of focus. "The Coalition government views the current crisis in a very serious light and calls upon the people of Nelson Mandela Bay to come together on this water saving mission", ZINTO added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Eskom reinstates Koko, Govender - ANA () 04/01/18 07:10:00

ESKOM yesterday confirmed that former acting CEO MATSHELA KOKO and former acting group executive for group capital, PRISH GOVENDER, have been reinstated after they were cleared in disciplinary hearings. KOKO was facing six charges, among others, for allegedly failing to declare a conflict of interest after a company in which his stepdaughter had shares was awarded a R1bn tender by a division led by him when he was group executive for generation. "The senior counsel investigating allegations of impropriety in the MCKINSEY/TRILLIAN matter has also cleared PRISH GOVENDER and he has thus also been reinstated to his position as the acting group executive for Group Capital", ESKOM spokesperson KHULU PHASIWE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Vale is negotiating BHP exit from Samarco - Reuters (BIL) 04/01/18 07:10:00

VALE is in talks with BHP over the future of their SAMARCO JV, and one alternative is for the Brazilian group to buy out its partner, a source said yesterday. A price has not been established yet for any buyout, according to the source. Contacted by Reuters, VALE declined to comment, while BHP did not immediately reply to requests for comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Zim govt seeks to sell stakes in SOEs - Alfonce Mbizwo () 04/01/18 07:10:00

Zimbabwe has invited bids for stakes in up to eight loss-making SOEs, including its national airline and power utility, to help plug a ballooning budget shortfall, Deputy Finance Minister TERENCE MUKUPE said yesterday. President EMMERSON MNANGAGWA is under pressure to deliver on his promises to ease spending pressures on the budget and revitalise the economy. Zimbabwe's budget deficit hit $1.82bn or 11.2% of GDP in 2017 from an initial target of $400m, while its economy hardly grew in 2016. "We are diluting our shareholding in those entities and our shareholding might go to zero percent in some entities", MUKUPE said. Zimbabwe either partly or wholly owns 92 companies, most of which have been making losses for years due to mismanagement, high operating costs and old equipment. AIR ZIMBABWE is sitting on a more than 4#00m debt pile while railway operator NATIONAL RAILWAYS OF ZIMBABWE recently received a $400m recapitulation from TRANSNET. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Kenya regulator drops plan to break up Safaricom - Duncan Miriri (VOD) 04/01/18 07:10:00

Kenya's telecoms regulator has ditched a proposal to break SAFARICOM up into separate telecoms and financial services businesses due to its dominant size, Kenya's Business Daily newspaper reported yesterday. An initial draft report on boosting competition in the sector had recommended the break up of the firm. Business Daily reported the proposal had been dropped from a revised version of the report, which has been circulated to operators for comments. The Communications Authority of Kenya was not immediately available when Reuters sought comment on the report. SAFARICOM, which is 35% owned by VODACOM and 5% by VODAFONE, has 29.4m users, 71.9% of Kenya's total. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nigerian power grid shut down by gas pipeline fire - Tife Owolabi () 04/01/18 07:10:00

Nigeria's electricity grid has been shut down by a fire on a gas pipeline, the ministry of power said yesterday. Gas supply to several power stations was cut off due to the fire on the Escravos Lagos Pipeline System near Okada in the Edo state, the ministry said. "The sudden loss of generation due to interruption in gas supply from these stations caused the national transmission grid to trip off around 20:20 on 2nd January", it said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Tanzania increases fuel prices due to rising crude costs - Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala () 04/01/18 07:10:00

Tanzania's energy regulator yesterday raised the maximum price for petrol, diesel and kerosene, citing rising international crude oil prices. The Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority raised the maximum retail price of petrol by 0.35% and increased the cap for diesel by 1.71%. The maximum derosene price was lifted 4.57% in the latest monthly price decisions, which take immediate effect. "The changes in local prices of petroleum products are mainly due to changes in world oil market prices and bulk procurement system premiums", EWURA said. The regulator hiked the price of petrol in Dar es Salaam by 8 shillings per litre to 2 167, and the price of diesel in the capital by 34 shillings to 2 018/litre. Kerosene prices in the city rose 89 shillings to 2 031 shillings per litre. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Rand resumes rally as bears buy short - Mfuneko Toyana () 04/01/18 07:10:00

The rand gained more than one percent yesterday, reversing losses from earlier in the session to trade at a three-day high as investors betting on a dollar recovery bought the local currency cheap. The rand was trading at 12.3600/$ at 1500 GMT yesterday, 0.86% firmer on the day. Volumes were concentrated around 12.40 as investors looked for short opportunities ahead of US manufacturing data and minutes of the Federal Reserve's last meeting, as well as jobs data due on Friday. Technical indicators suggest the rand is overbought and due some weakness having touched its firmest in two and a half years a week ago after CYRIL RAMAPHOSA was elected president of the ANC. "Prices in the area of 12.30-35 in USD-ZAR seem slightly excessive to me... I don't totally trust the rand euphoria", COMMERZBANK analyst ANTJE PRAEFCKE said in a note to clients. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 04/01/2018 () 04/01/18 07:10:00

At 07h10 on 04 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.40 ZAR/EUR 14.88 ZAR/GBP 16.75 Gold 1308.16 Platinum 945.50 Brent Crude Oil 67.98 All Share 59630.00


Updated market indicators for 08/11/2017 () 03/01/18 08:50:00

At 08h50 on 08 November 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.32 ZAR/EUR 14.78 ZAR/GBP 16.63 Gold 1313.19 Platinum 941.00 Brent Crude Oil 66.73 All Share 59504.67


Amazon says over 5bn items shipped in 2017 via Prime - Vibhuti Sharma () 03/01/18 08:50:00

AMAZON yesterday said it shipped over 5bn items globally via its subscription-based Prime service in 2017, while adding more new members than ever before. AMAZON did not give comparable FY shipment figures for 2016. It claimed that its Fire TV Stick and voice controlled smart device Echo Dot were the best-selling products among US Prime members from any manufacturer in any category across all of its product offerings. AMAZON said it shipped over 1bn items worldwide via Prime during the 2016 holiday season. Prime, which entered countries including Mexico, the Netherlands and Singapore last year, now has a presence in 16 countries around the world. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Pershing Square, Valeant to appear in court on insider trading suit settlement - Abinaya Vijayaraghavan () 03/01/18 08:50:00

A US court yesterday asked VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INTERNATIONAL and PERSHING SQUARE to appear for a hearing to discuss the proposed settlement in an insider trading lawsuit. The hearing, set for Jan. 16, comes after PERSHING SQUARE and VALEANT last week decided to pay $290m to settle the laswuit that accused them of insider trading before bidding for ALLERGAN in 2014. The suit was filed on behalf of investors who sold ALLERGAN shares in the two months before PERSHING and VALEANT made an unsolicited $51bn bid for ALLERGAN. The court has "substantial questions regarding whether the settlement amount is reasonable and fair", according to documents filed in a California District Court. "We believe the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate, and we look forward to explaining our position to the Court", VALEANT said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Germany hands Eurex a last-minute Mifid waiver - Philip Stafford () 03/01/18 08:50:00

Germany has handed its largest futures exchange a last-minute reprieve from implementing a set of reforms that amount to the biggest change in Europe's financial markets in a decade. National regulator BaFin late yesterday granted a request froM DEUTSCHE BORSE, owner of EUREX, for a further 30 months to enforce rules designed to open up the trading and clearing of futures. The changes, which form part of the sprawling Mifid II legislation that comes into force today, are intended to offer investors more choice over where they can trade futures and clear them. EUREX argued that the exit of the UK from the EU introduced too much uncertainty, given that Britain may not be bound by the rules once it leaves. The proposed changes would also potentially increase the links between clearing houses at a time when the shape of the UK's future relationship with the EU is unclear. "Brexit is a game changer. We share industry concerns around financial stability regarding the open access provisions of Mifid II", EUREX said following BaFin's decision. EUREX will only have to apply the rules from Jul. 3, 2020. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


UK looks to join Pacific trade group after Brexit - Henry Mance () 03/01/18 08:50:00

Britain has held informal talks about joining a flagship Pacific trade group. The proposal, being developed by the Department of International Trade, would make Britain the first member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that does not border the Pacific Ocean or the South China Sea. It would help to reinvigorate TPP, a key initiative of BARACK OBAMA's administration that appeared fatally wounded when DONALD TRUMP withdrew the US in Jan. 2017. The 11 remaining members in Nov. agreed to continue with a successor deal, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. UK accession would almost certainly have to wait untiL TPP itself has been revised, and Britain has agreed its post-Brexit relationship with the EU. The UK's trade relationship with TPP countries pales in comparison to its existing one with fellow EU members or the US. All 11 TPP countries combined accounted for less than 8% of UK goods exported last year, while in comparison Germany alone accounted for 11%. The same applies to UK exports of financial and other services. In H1 2017 the UK exported almost £1.7bn in services to Japan - about a tenth of the £16.6bn the UK service industries exported to the US. Officials from TPP countries say they expect to sign the revised deal early in 2018 but are now trying to resolve some issues raised by Canada. One person said it was "way too soon" to discuss UK accession before a Brexit deal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


France gears up for big privatisation drive - David Keohane () 03/01/18 08:50:00

The coming year is set to be a busy one for France's SOEs as President EMMANUEL MACRON paves the way for the first major government sell-off since he took office. The state has equity positions in 81 companies, totalling €100bn and ranging from defence companies such as SAFRAN to carmaker RENAULT and nuclear group EDF. Stakes in utility ENGIE and state gaming company FRANCAISE DES JEUX are expected to be sold down this year while analysts have also suggested the state could sell part of its holding in telecoms group ORANGE. But AEROPORTS DE PARIS, Operator of Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, has become the focus of attention. According to sources, the state has appointed BANK OF AMERICA MERRILL LYNCH to explore options for the sale of ADP. France owns 50.6% of ADP, which has a market cap of €15.6bn. Market watchers are confident of an imminent sale, with bankers and analysts expecting at least a partial disposal to happen at some point in the next year as MACRON looks to build up a €10bn innovation fund. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Hyundai Heavy surges 10% on sales outlook - Edward White () 03/01/18 08:50:00

HYUNDAI HEAVY INDUSTRIES shot up 10% this morning after the shipbuilder announced its sales outlook for 2018. The company said its sales outlook for 2018 was Won7.98tn, compared to sales of around Won10tn in 2017. South Korean shipbuilders have been under financial strain for years amid persistent overcapacity across the industry since the 2008 global financial crisis. Shares in the company, which were trading at Won118 500 today, are still recovering after falling by as much as 28% in a single day in Dec. after HYUNDAI HEAVY said it would raise around $1.2bn via a rights offering, diluting shareholders. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


M&S sells HK business to franchise partner - Ben Bland () 03/01/18 04:55:00

MARKS & SPENCER has sold its Hong Kong and Macau operations to AL-FUTTAIM, a Dubai conglomerate and franchise partner, as part of a plan to overhaul its global operations. M&S did not disclose the price of the sale. PAUL FRISTON, the international director for M&S, said AL-FUTTAIM was the "ideal partner" to expand the business in Hong Kong and Macau further "with strong logistics capabilities and local expertise". Following the completion of the deal, AL-FUTTAIM will operate 72 stores branded as MARKS AND SPENCER in Asia and the Middle East. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Tencent denies storing WeChat conversations - Yuan Yang (NPN) 03/01/18 04:55:00

TENCENT has denied it stores or analyses users' communications from the WeChat messaging platform, putting it ad odds with government rules that require social media groups to store user records. "Recently, it has been said that we 'read your WeChat messages every day'... please do not worry, user privacy has always been one of our most important principles", TENCENT wrote yesterday. "Conversation histories are only stored on the user's smartphone, computer of other [user] terminals", TENCENT said, adding that "the rumour that 'we look at your WeChat messages every day' is pure falsehood". The statement was in response to comments by GEELY AUTOMOBILE chair LI SHUFU at a business forum on Monday, that there was no such thing as data privacy in China, and that TENCENT chair PONY MA was "definitely looking at our WeChat messages every day". "Police can easily download WeChat chat logs when investigating cases, and have never hid that fact", said RAN TONG, a Sichuan-based human rights lawyer. RAN added that TENCENT's announcement leaves room for the company to assist other agencies - such as the police - to store chat logs, even if TENCENT says it does not do this itself. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Trump threatens to cut aid to Palestine - Jessica Dye () 03/01/18 04:44:00

US President DONALD TRUMP is now threatening to cut "massive future payments" to Palestine. In a pair of tweets yesterday evening, TRUMP wrote: "It's not only Pakistan that we pay billions of dollars to for nothing, but also many other countries, and others. As an example, we pay the Palestinians HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don't even want to negotiate a long overdue... peace treaty with Israel. We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?" TRUMP had threatened to withdraw financial aid to countries that supported a UN resolution to repudiate his administration's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel . This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Moneygram, Ant abandon deal after hitting regulatory roadblock - Jessica Dye () 03/01/18 04:44:00

A proposed $1.2bn deal between Texas-based MONEYGRAM and ALIBABA affiliate ANT FINANCIAL has been scrapped after failing to win approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, despite "extensive efforts". MONEYGRAM shares shed nearly 10% in after-hours trading following the announcement. The companies said they will instead collaborate on "new strategic initiatives" in the remittances and digital-payments sector. ANT will also pay a $30m termination fee, per their agreement. The deal had encountered substantial criticism from US lawmakers, who said the acquisition of the US cash-transfer group by ANT, in which Beijing holds an indirect minority stake, would pose a national security threat. Ultimately, the companies said the deal failed to win needed support from CFIUS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


White House to ramp up pressure on Pakistan - Jessica Dye () 03/01/18 04:44:00

The TRUMP administration is turning up the heat on Pakistan, citing its failure to do more to stop terrorism. NIKKI HALEY, the US ambassador to the UN, yesterday said the administration would withhold $255m in aid to the country. "Pakistan has played a double game for years", HALEY said, adding that it had pledged to help the US combat extremist groups while simultaneously harboring those same groups. During a White House press briefing yesterday, press secretary SARAH SANDERS said the move had not been prompted by any one specific recent event, but rather that the president had been mulling the issue since raising it over the summer while laying out his strategy for Afghanistan. "Our goal is that we know that they can do more to stop terrorism and we want them to do that... In terms of specific actions, I think you'll see some more details come out on that in the next 24 to 48 hours", SANDERS told reporters. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Trafigura denies owning tanker accused of sending oil to N Korea - Henry Sanderson () 03/01/18 04:44:00

TRAFIGURA has denied it owned or controlled a tanker accused of transferring petrol to North Korea in violation of international sanctions, saying it sold the fuel to a Hong Kong-based trader that had stated it was shipping the cargo to Taiwan. The Hong Kong-registered Lighthouse Winmore tanker was seized by South Korea last week following accusations it had broken UN sanctions by secretly transferring 600t of refined petroleum to a North Korean ship in international waters in Oct. The seizure came after the US published satellite photos showing a North Korean vessel attempting to conduct a ship-to-ship transfer. TRAFIGURA said the Lighthouse Wimore was "neither owned nor has it been chartered by TRAFIGURA", adding that it had sold the oil to a Hong Kong-based company named GLOBAL COMMODITIES CONSULTANTS LIMITED, which had stated the destination as Taiwan. GLOBAL COMMODITIES CONSULTANTS was formed in 2014, according to Hong Kong filings. It has been an established customer of TRAFIGURA in recent months. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ryanair seeks British air operating certificate as airlines brace for Brexit - Tanya Powley () 03/01/18 04:44:00

RYANAIR has applied for a British air operating certificate to ensure it will be able to continue operating in the country after Brexit. It is the latest carrier to take such steps amid fears a turbulent exit could cause disruption across the aviation market. RYANAIR yesterday confirmed that subsidiary RYANAIR UK had filed an application on Dec. 21 for an air operating certificate with the UK's Civil Aviation Authority. Low-cost rival WIZZ AIR in Oct. announced it had applied for a British AOC and operating licence. EASYJET has also set up an EU-based airline to make sure it can continue its intra-European flights regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Brent hits highest level since May 2015 - Mamta Badkar () 03/01/18 04:44:00

Brent crude hit its highest level in more than two years amid concerns about possible supply disruptions following unrest in Iran. The global benchmark rose as much as 0.6% to $67.29 - its highest level since May 18 2015 - but trimmed those gains to trade flat by yesterday afternoon, according to Thomson Reuters data. Meanwhile, WTI rose as much as 0.5% to $60.74/barrel - its highest level since Jun. 2015. Geopolitical risks were back on the forefront as Iran has faced its biggest protests against the Islamic regime in almost a decade. "As of yet there is no deep seated concern for a disruption of Iran's 3.8mb/d crude oil production... However, if it was to happen it would have a huge impact on the global crude oil prices. A full disruption of such a magnitude would immediately drive the Brent crude oil price above the $100/bl mark", said BJARNE SCHIELDROP, chief commodities analyst at SEB. Looking ahead, analysts expect 2018 to be more volatile across markets as central banks around the world trim stimulus. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


EM equities kick off 2018 with 1% rally - Adam Samson () 03/01/18 04:44:00

Emerging market equities powered higher yesterday, extending strong gains from 2017 that were driven by the strength of the global economy and expectations for mild tightening in monetary policy by central banks in the developed world. The broad MSCI Emerging index rose 1.2% by midday in London. Yesterday's advance comes after the barometer posted price returns last year of 35%, beating MSCI's developed market World gauge by 15 percentage points. Inflows into EM mutual and ETFs were $72bn in 2017, representing 6.5% of total assets under management. Developed market funds experienced smaller inflows, with the total accounting for 2.6% of AUM. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


UK factory execs point to strong Q4 even as Dec. PMI disappoints - Adam Samson () 03/01/18 04:44:00

Britain's factory sector posted its best performance in more than three years in Q4 2017, according to a closely watched poll. The average reading of the IHS MARKIT PMI for the Oct.-Dec. period clocked in at 57 - the best since Q2 2014. However, the PMI fell to 56.3 in Dec. from 58.2 m/m - well below the consensus estimate in a Reuters poll of 58.3. Managers reported slowing growth in output, new orders and employment over the period, although all "remained solid and well above long-run trends", IHS MARKIT said. "UK manufacturing ended 2017 on a positive footing", said IHS MARKIT director ROB DOBSON, adding that the sector "maintained its solid boost to broader economic expansion in the fourth quarter". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Eurozone manufacturers report strongest month on record - Nicholas Megaw () 03/01/18 04:44:00

Italy provided a rare black spot in an otherwise glowing set of surveys on the state of the eurozone's manufacturing industry, with a series of polls suggesting conditions across the continent ended 2017 in their healthiest state since before the single currency was established. The manufacturing PMI for the eurozone as a whole came in at 60.6 in Dec., its strongest level since the survey began in mid-1997. Growth was broad-based across the continent, with survey-record highs in Austria, Germany and Ireland. Even Greece reported its best results in nine and a half years. Italy provided the closest to a disappointing figure, with a result of 57.4 down from 58.3 in Nov. The currency area enjoyed a much stronger year than most economists had expected throughout 2017, with the healthy grow now expected to continue into the new year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Aviation safety in Africa continues to improve - IATA - Carin Smith () 03/01/18 04:44:00

Aviation safety in Africa continued to improve over the past five years, according to GILBERTO LOPEZ MEYER, senior vice president of safety and flight operations at the International Air Transport Association. LOPEZ MEYER emphasised in a report that commercial air travel is the safest form of long distance transportation that has ever existed. IATA research has found that globally the overall trend in aviation safety continues to improve. A survey of airline safety over the past five and a half years also indicate that IATA members had a lower accident rate than non-IATA members as well as an accident rate lower than the industry average. "While no operational standard will never have an event, the data show that operators who maintain [IATA Operational Safety Audit] standards have a better safety performance over time", LOPEZ MEYER said. In Africa, for example, the accident rate is 1.18 for IOSA registered carriers compared to a rate of 9.79 for non-IOSA carriers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Casper Troskie leaves Liberty for rival - Lameez Omarjee (LBH) 03/01/18 03:55:00

LIBERTY HOLDINGS' share price fell slightly by 1.75% yesterday before making a recovery, following the announcement that FD CASPER TROSKIE has resigned. LIBERTY said in a note that TROSKIE was leaving after seven years of service to pursue an opportunity at one of the group's "competitors". This was later revealed to be OLD MUTUAL EMERGING MARKETS. TROSKIE has been appointed as FD of OMEM with effect from Apr. 1 - he will take over froM MIKE ILSLEY, who stepped down in Nov. last year due to health reasons. TROSKIE will also become FD-Designate for OLD MUTUAL LIMITED, the new South African holding company planned to be listed on the JSE later this year as part of OLD MUTUAL PLC's managed separation strategy. TROSKIE's successor at LIBERTY is yet to be appointed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Improving quality of life remains key priority - Zuma - ANA () 03/01/18 03:55:00

Improving the quality of life of South Africans remains a key priority of government, President JACOB ZUMA said on Sunday. In his new year's statement, ZUMA said "significant strides" were made in 2017 in battling poverty, inequality and unemployment. "Despite serious challenges on the economic front, together we made substantial progress in providing basic services such as electricity, housing, roads, water and sanitation, health care, social grants, as well as accessible education". He said the programme of radical socio-economic transformation would be the main focus of government in 2018 and would "inform the delivery of our programmes". Through the industrial policy action plan and other programmes, SA would continue to promote investments, particularly in key strategic sectors such as energy, manufacturing, transport, telecoms, water, tourism, the oceans economy, mining and agriculture. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


UDM wants more details on free higher education - ANA () 03/01/18 03:55:00

United Democratic Movement leader BANTU HOLOMISA yesterday urged President JACOB ZUMA to provide full details of funding of free higher education in order to avoid a crisis at the country's universities and colleges. "Surely the president must realise that it will be too late to wait for the Finance Minister to spell out where the money will come from in February. To compound matters, university capacity must be respected in service of effective and efficient education for the greater good", HOLOMISA said. Once the free higher education plan is implemented, students' progress should be monitored the same way an investment is managed, he added. "Unsuccessful students must be removed from the programme. This litmus test should be due every semester. There is a high probability that the effect of a larger graduate population upon societal health generally, and upon reduced associated concomitant state spending on grants and other social aid specifically, justifies the investment", HOLOMISA said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Efora says deal to buy Belton Park lapses - ANA (EEL) 03/01/18 03:55:00

EFORA ENERGY yesterday announced that its agreement to acquire the assets and operations of BELTON PARK TRADING 134 had lapsed after outstanding conditions were not fulfilled. EFORA in Oct. said it was buying BELTON PARK, which markets and sells petroleum products for an aggregate purchase consideration of R220m. EFORA yesterday advised shareholders that the acquisition agreement had lapsed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Court orders Vedanta's KCM to pay state firm $139m - Reuters () 03/01/18 03:55:00

A London court has ordered KONKOLA COPPER MINES to pay a state mining company $139m in a claim related to the copper price, raising by $36m the amount it was originally ordered to pay, the state company said yesterday. The claim relates to outstanding payments under a 2013 copper price participation settlement agreement between the Zambian unit of VEDANTA RESOURCES and ZAMBIA CONSOLIDATED COPPER MINES INVESTMENTS HOLDINGS. VEDANTA officials were not immediately available for comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Vale to retain port terminal stake in rejigged Mosaic deal - Henry Lazenby () 03/01/18 03:55:00

VALE will retain a stake in the TIPLAM port terminal, in southeast Brazil, under terms of an adjusted $2.5bn deal with THE MOSAIC CO to sell certain of its fertiliser assets. VALE yesterday said the sale of VALE FERTILIZANTES to MOSAIC is now expected to close on or about Jan. 8. Among the final adjustments made to the terms and conditions of the deal include retaining an equity stake in the TIPLAM port - formerly included in the transaction - and VALE will receive around $1.15bn plus 34.2m shares of MOSAIC, representing 8.9% of the latter's total capital after issuance of the shares, upon closing. The acquisition is set to open the doors for MOSAIC to access Brazil's massive agricultural markets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nutrien gains on first trading day as Agrium, PotashCorp complete merger - Henry Lazenby () 03/01/18 03:55:00

The TSX-listed equity of NUTRIEN gained nearly 6% yesterday - is first trading day following closure of the deal on New Year's day. The merger of equals between POTASHCORP OF SASKATCHEWAN and AGRIUM has created a new top-tiered fertiliser company with a market cap of around $36bn. NUTRIEN yesterday said it has just under 20 000 employees, as well as operations and investments in 14 countries. The transaction saw POTASHCORP shareholders receiving 0.4 common shares of NUTRIEN for each common share held, and AGRIUM shareholders received 2.23 common shares of NUTRIEN for each common share owned. At market close, NUTRIEN's TSX-listed stock last changed hands at C$69 apiece. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ugandan shilling likely to focus on policy risks in 2018 - Elias Biryabarema () 03/01/18 03:55:00

The Ugandan shilling was stable on Tuesday and traders said potential lowering of rates by the central bank could curb hard currency inflows from offshore debt investors this year. Commercial banks yesterday morning quoted the shilling at 3 635/3 645, unchanged from Friday's closing level. In 2017, the currency was mostly stable in a band of 3 550-3 650 against the dollar, supported by export earnings and foreign funds investing in the local debt market. Traders said a loose central bank monetary policy that has depressed yields on government debt could put pressure on the shilling due to a drop in the inflow from abroad into government securities. The low yields will likely push the shilling past the physchologically key level of 3 700, said FAISAL BUKENYA, head of treasury at EXIM BANK. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 03/01/2018 () 03/01/18 03:55:00

At 03h55 on 03 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.32 ZAR/EUR 14.78 ZAR/GBP 16.63 Gold 1317.68 Platinum 941.32 Brent Crude Oil 66.73 All Share 59504.67


Basil Read appoints new CFO - Lameez Omarjee (BSR) 03/01/18 03:54:00

BASIL READ has appointed a new CFO after TALID SADIK resigned from the position and as finance director. SADIK's resignation was effective from Dec. 31, BASIL READ said in a note to shareholders issued yesterday. The company subsequently appointed PIETER VAN BUUREN as CFO with effect from Jan. 1. "Mr VAN BUUREN brings 23 years of financial leadership experience, having previously been the chief financial officer for NEW YORK TIMBER HOLDINGS LIMITED, project finance manager for MURRAY & ROBERTS PROJECTS and general manager: finance for BELL EQUIPMENT COMPANY", BASIL READ said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


BP forecasts $1.5bn hit from Trump tax reforms - Adam Samson () 02/01/18 10:01:00

BP has become the latest company to warn it will experience a one-time hit to its Q4 earnings due to the new US tax regime that was signed into law before Christmas by President DONALD TRUMP. The company said it expects a $1.5bn one-off charge to its earnings in the quarter to end-Dec. Overall, BP said it reckons "future US after-tax earnings to be positively impacted by the recently-enacted changes to US corporate taxes" as a result in the reduction of the federal corporate income tax rate to 21% from 35%. BP said the charge would be due to a reevaluation of its US deferred tax assets and liabilities. More details will be disclosed when it announces Q4 results on Feb. 6. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Steinhoff says accounting problems stretch back further than 2016 - Katie Martin (SNH) 02/01/18 10:01:00

STEINHOFF has kicked off the new year with a warning to investors to "exercise caution" when dealing with its securities, as accounts prior to 2015 are likely to need restating. The retailer said the "restatement of the financial statements of STEINHOFF INVESTMENT HOLDINGS LIMITED for years prior to 2015 is likely to be required". The investigation alongside PwC into the accounting problems are progressing, but "a timeline for completion remains uncertain". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Updated market indicators for 08/11/2017 () 02/01/18 09:32:00

At 09h32 on 08 November 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.36 ZAR/EUR 14.85 ZAR/GBP 16.71 Gold 1309.20 Platinum 934.00 Brent Crude Oil 67.19 All Share 59616.00


Rand firmer as dollar woes continue - Mfuneko Toyana () 02/01/18 09:30:00

The rand was firmer on the first trading day of 2018, buoyed by improved sentiment for emerging currencies and a sluggish dollar. At 0645 GMT, the rand was 0.24% firmer at R12.35/$. The currency advanced by around 13% in 2017, making most of these gains after CYRIL RAMAPHOSA was elected ANC president in late December. Bonds were flat with the yield on the benchmark government paper due in 2026 at 8.605%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


GFG Alliance buys Glencore mine - Jamie Smyth (GLN) 02/01/18 09:27:00

GFG ALLIANCE has acquired GLENCORE's Tahmoor coking coal mine in Australia in a move aimed at securing the future or ARRIUM, the troubled steel and mining company it acquired in 2017. SANJEEV GUPTA, the LIBERTY HOUSE tycoon whose family owns GFG, said the deal represented a step forward in its strategy to create fully-integrated, end-to-end businesses in Australia, from raw materials and energy right through to high-value finished products ready for market. "Through this purchase we secure and de-risk an important feed for the Whyalla Steeworks. This, together with our iron ore mines in South Australia, now makes GFG the only fully-integrated Australian steel producer, whether from iron ore and coking coal to primary steel, or from scrap metal and renewable energy to greensteel", GUPTA said. Neither party released the sale price for Tahmoor, which produced 1.8mt of mainly coking coal in 2014. But a source with knowledge of the deal said the final price was under $100m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Trump threatens to withhold US aid to Pakistan - Shawn Donnan () 02/01/18 08:19:00

DONALD TRUMP has opened 2018 by threatening to withhold aid to Pakistan, accusing Islamabad of "giving us nothing but lies and deceit" and "thinking of our leaders as fools". TRUMP used his first tweet of 2018 to single out Pakistan and accuse it of harbouring terrorists. "The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33bn dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit... They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" Exactly what provoked TRUMP to single out Pakistan was unclear, but his administration last year said it was delaying $255m in military aid to Islamabad as part of a new Afghanistan strategy. The US president has also complained before about Pakistan's lack of co-operation in dealing with Islamic militants. Many analysts believe that were TRUMP to abruptly cut off aid to Pakistan, Beijing would quickly step in to fill the gap. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Brussels prepares for battle over EU budget contributions - Michael Acton () 02/01/18 08:19:00

Brussels is preparing to call for a big hike in EU budget contributions during the 2020s in a bid to sustain the union's post-Brexit spending power and cope with extra policy goals. The European Commission is set to begin debating the design of the EU's next long-term budget, which will become one of the bloc's most fraught political battles in 2018. EU leaders will discuss priorities at a summit in Feb., leading up to a formal proposal in May. GUNTHER OETTINGER, the EU's budget commissioner, has said half the financial gap "should be covered by cuts" and the remainder "by additional money from net payers". Even this approach is likely to break the EU's self-imposed cap of 1% of total EU gross national income - a German-backed political constraint on the size of the common budget that has held for more than a decade. The budget fights are expected to be a key element in the wider debate about the future of Europe. Germany will be keen to ensure that countries including Poland and Hungary uphold key EU values such as the rule of law in return for a larger financial contribution. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Singapore advance Q4 GDP beats estimates - Alice Woodhouse () 02/01/18 08:19:00

Singapore's economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the quarter to end-Dec. but growth slowed q/q, according to an advance estimate. The economy grew 3.1% y/y in Q4, according to figures from the Ministry of Trade & Industry based on data from Oct. and Nov. This was above analysts' estimates compiled by Reuters forecasting 2.7% growth, but below the 5.4% expansion recorded in Q3. Growth in the manufacturing sector slowed to 6.2% y/y from 19.2% growth reported in Q3. In q/q terms, Singapore's economy grew 2.8%, coming in a touch below forecasts of 2.9% growth. This was below the 9.4% growth seen in Q3. Singapore's economy grew 3.5% y/y in 2017, in line with the official growth forecast of 3.0%-3.5%, the ministry said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


India's manufacturing PMI expands at fastest pace in five years - Alice Woodhouse () 02/01/18 08:19:00

India's manufacturing sector expanded at its fastest pace in five years in Dec., on sharp rises in output and new orders. The NIKKEI-MARKIT manufacturing PMI rose to 54.7 in Dec., up from 52.6 in Nov., hitting its highest level since Dec. 2012. New orders rose for a second consecutive month in Dec., rising at its fastest pace since Oct. 2016 as respondents reported greater demand from both domestic and international markets. Output grew at its fastest pace since 2012 on higher demand. Job creation was also at its strongest since Aug. 2012 on improved demand. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


S Korea manufacturing activity contracts in Dec. - Alice Woodhouse () 02/01/18 08:19:00

South Korea's manufacturing sector contracted in Dec. as output fell and growth in new orders slowed. The NIKKEI-MARKIT manufacturing PMI came in at 49.9 in Dec., down from 51.2 in Nov. and slipping below the 50-point level separating expansion from contraction. The pace of expansion in new orders slowed to a five-month low and companies said an unfavourable business environment led to a drop in output. New business from foreign clients fell for a fourth straight month as companies surveyed reported reduced work from China and Japan. Employment across the sector fell for a fourth consecutive month as lower production requirements meant companies chose not to replace retiring staff. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China Dec. Caixin PMI hits 4-month high - Alice Woodhouse () 02/01/18 08:19:00

Growth in China's manufacturing sector firmed in Dec. as improved sales and stronger demand supported growth. The CAIXIN-MARKIT manufacturing PMI for Dec. came in at 51.5, up from 50.8 in Nov. That beat economists' forecasts of 50.6 and is the highest level since Aug. Respondents reported faster growth for output and export sales as total new orders grew at their fastest pace since Aug. The rate of job losses, which was described as "marginal", was its weakest in nine months. Business sentiment rose slightly, but companies said subdued client demand and changes to national policies dampened confidence at the end of the year. The official reading from the National Bureau of Statistics for Dec. came in at 51.6, down from 51.8 in Nov. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China manufacturing data boosts Chinese stocks - Alice Woodhouse () 02/01/18 08:19:00

Asia Pacific equities kicked off 2018 on a firmer footing as a survey of Chinese manufacturing beat forecasts. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index of large-cap Chinese companies rose 2.3% after a private survey found China's manufacturing sector expanded at its fastest rate in four months in Dec. The CAIXIN-MARKIT manufacturing PMI rose to 51.5 in Dec., from 50.8 in Nov. The CSI 300, which tracks the largest companies traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen, rose 0.8%. The Hang Seng index was 1.5% higher as IT stocks rose 2.6% and financials 1.7%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Hyundai Motor falls following 2018 sales forecast - Song Jung-a () 02/01/18 08:19:00

Shares in HYUNDAI MOTOR and affiliate KIA slid this morning after the automaker forecast a modest rise in 2018 sales. HYUNDAI set its 2018 sales target at 7.55m vehicles after setting a record goal of 8.25m units last year. But the company is likely to have missed 2017's sales target for a third consecutive year. "Global auto demand growth is expected to stagnate this year, with demand seen shrinking in major markets like the US, China and Europe", HYUNDAI vice chair YOON YEO-CHUL said. Shares in the group fell 2.6% to Won152 000 while KIA shares fell 1.6% to Won32 950. HYUNDAI will announce 2017 sales figures later in the day. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Deutsche Bank says 'normal' bonuses, pay rises are back - Laura Noonan () 02/01/18 08:18:00

DEUTSCHE BANK CEO JOHN CRYAN has promised staff "normal" bonuses and pay hikes for the first time in his two and a half years in charge. The news is in start contrast with 2017, which began with CRYAN abolishing 2016 performance-related bonuses for many senior staff. The result was an unprecedented 80% cut in bonuses for performance in the previous year. "We always said that we would return to our normal system of variable compensation in 2017", CRYAN told German newspaper Borsen-Zeitung. "And we will also raise salaries in some areas". DEUTSCHE repeatedly argued that its 2017 bonus cull was a one-off. But, despite the unique circumstances of a $7.2bn US penalty for mis-selling mortgage-backed securities and a costly restructuring, some staff doubted whether normal payouts would resume so quickly, especially after the decline in DEUTSCHE's investment banking revenues accelerated in Q3. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


UK growth to slow to 1.5% in 2018, economists predict - Gemma Tetlow () 02/01/18 08:18:00

The UK's economy will slow further in 2018 as business investment remains on hold, interest rates rise and indebted consumers curb their spending, according to more than 100 leading economists. The majority of economists who participated in the FT annual predictions survey agreed that inflation would start to recede this year, after last year correctly forecasting it would rise sharply. However, after wrongly predicting that interest rates would remain stable in 2017, economists believe there will be a further 0.5 percentage point rise this year. Just over half of the respondents expect growth to be no more than 1.5% in 2018. In Nov., the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast 1.5% growth for 2017, though this could eventually be lifted slightly by recent revisions to the official statistics, and 1.4% for 2018. Brexit will continue to preoccupy the country as the UK and the EU move on to the second phase of negotiating a transition period after Britain leaves the bloc and a future trade relationship. The majority of economists surveyed were not reassured by the progress of the Brexit talks in 2017. While the two sides made significant progress last year, many fear the Mar. 2019 deadline will prove too tight. Nearly four-fifths of respondents said they felt no more optimistic, or actually more pessimistic, about the UK's longer-term economic prospects outside the EU than they did last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Sudan, Saudi Arabia to restore banking ties - Ali Abdelatey () 02/01/18 06:44:00

Sudan and Saudi Arabia have agreed to re-establish banking relations, the official Sudanese news agency SUNA said - a move that may help restore confidence in the country's economy after the lifting of US economic sanctions. The agreement, which will allow for banking transactions between the two countries, came after meetings between the Sudanese central bank governor and the Saudi Monetary Authority governor in Riyadh, SUNA reported on Thursday. Sudanese central bank governor HAZEM ABDELQADER said he expected banking transactions with Saudi Arabia in the next year to reach $600m. The US in Oct. lifted 20-year-old sanctions against Sudan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


IMF sees Gabon GDP growth at 0.8% in 2017, rising to 2.7% in 2018 - Aaron Ross () 02/01/18 06:44:00

The IMF sees Gabon's economy growing at 0.8% in 2017, down from an earlier forecast of 1%, but expects growth to rebound to 2.7% in 2018 due to recovering oil prices, it said late last week. The IMF approved a three-year, $642m programme in Mar. for the country, which like other oil-dominated economies in the central African region has struggled due to a decline in global crude prices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nigeria stocks expected to rise in 2018 on hopes of lower rates - Chijioke Ohuocha () 02/01/18 06:44:00

Nigerian stocks are expected to keep rising in 2018, fuelled by hopes that lower interest rates and a stable currency will help corporate profits, but traders say gains might be short-lived. The all-share index crossed 38 000 points on Friday, with stocks up 42% for 2017. Traders foresee another 10% rise in 2018, to as high as 42 000 points. Stocks gained 0.66% on Friday as investors took positions in banking and consumer goods companies. The rally will depend on the strength of 2017 earnings reported in Q1, a broker said. Weaker-than-expected profits might curtail the rally, and the run-up to 2019 elections may create uncertainty as well. Foreign investors returned to Nigerian assets after the central bank in April lifted currency controls in a bid to attract inflows and support the naira. The currency moves helped propel stocks and increased its dollar reserves. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SA fuel prices to fall in Jan. - Ed Stoddard () 02/01/18 06:44:00

The retail price of petrol and the wholesale price of diesel in SA will fall tomorrow due to the rand strengthening, the Department of Energy said on Friday. The price of petrol will drop by 34c to R14.42/litre in Gauteng, while the price of diesel will decline by 22c to R12.73/litre. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Namibia's forex reserves hit 5-month low in Nov. - Nyasa Nyaungwa () 02/01/18 06:44:00

Namibia's stock of foreign reserves fell at end-Nov. to a five-month low of 28.5bn Namibian dollars, central bank monetary and banking statistics showed at the weekend. The level of international reserves fell from 31.6bn Namibian dollars at end-Oct., mainly due to exchange rate fluctuations and net commercial bank purchases of foreign currency, the Bank of Namibia said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Egypt to keep customs exchange rate at 16 pounds in Jan. - Ehab Farouk () 02/01/18 06:44:00

Egypt will keep its customs exchange rate steady at 16 pounds per dollar for Jan., the finance ministry said on Sunday. "The decision is consistent with the currency price stabilisation in the past period", the ministry said. Egypt began setting a monthly fixed customs exchange rate in Jan., following the flotation of its pound currency in Nov. 2016. It has since set it each month. The pound has remained roughly at the same level in recent months., trading at around 17.69 to the dollar on Sunday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Sudanese parliament passes 2018 budget with 2.4% deficit - Khalid Abdelaziz () 02/01/18 06:44:00

Sudan's parliament passed its 2018 budget on Sunday and projected a budget shortfall of 2.4% of GDP, state minister of finance ABDEL-RAHMAN DIRAR said. The 2018 budget puts total revenues at 116.9bn Sudanese pounds and total expenditures at 127.2bn Sudanese pounds. It is calculated on the basis of a devalued Sudanese pound. The official exchange rate was set at 18 to the dollar from yesterday - still far below the black market rate - compared to 6.7 previously. The budget projects economic growth of 4% in 2018, the cabinet said after approving the bill. The IMF expects 2017 growth to come in at 3.25%. External debt is set to reach $54.1bn at end-2017, and $56.5bn at the end of 2018, an IMF report said in Dec. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Glencore completes sale of majority stake in oil storage assets - Reuters (GLN) 02/01/18 06:44:00

GLENCORE on Friday announced it has completed the sale of a 51% stake in HG STORAGE INTERNATIONAL to HNA INNOVATION FINANCE GROUP, subject to certain regulatory approvals and closing conditions by US authorities. HGSI is a new vehicle which has consolidated GLENCORE's petroleum products storage and logistics businesses into a global portfolio of high-calibre assets, located in strategic trading hubs across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas. HGSI intends to expand its global footprint via acquisitions and organic growth supported by its shareholders. GLENCORE in Mar. 2017 agreed to sell the stake in HGSI to HNA INNOVATION FINANCE GROUP for $775m. Of the original purchase price of $775m, $579m is attributable to Friday's closing, with the balance payable upon closing of the second agreement. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Property sector pins hopes on Ramaphosa to boost weak market - Carin Smith () 02/01/18 06:44:00

While property sales in Cape Town increased in 2017, Johannesburg experienced a slowdown, according to ADRIAN GOSLETT, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX Southern Africa. "Despite plenty of stock available on the market, there is a disparity between what sellers in the current market want for their property and what buyers are prepared to pay. Even with a slower market, Gauteng still accounted for the lion's share of property transactions during this year and Johannesburg will continue to be the country's economic hub", GOSLETT said. Looking ahead to 2018, he said ratings downgrades could see the Johannesburg market slow further, with finance likely to become more expensive. LEW GEFFEN, chair of LEW GEFFEN SOTHEBY's INTERNATIONAL REALTY, expects the property market in 2018 to show quick and significant improvement on the back of CYRIL RAMAPHOSA's election as new ANC president. Dr ANDREW GOLDING, CEO of the PAM GOLDING PROPERTY GROUP, said it is expected that SA's residential property market will continue to maintain its resilience, reflecting an ongoing healthy appetite for property investment - particularly in major metros and key hubs. Factors which will continue to fuel activity in the residential property market include an increasing demand for sectional title properties in convenient locations. GOLDING also anticipates a continued demand for secure estate living, both freehold and sectional title, as well as homes catering for the growing retirement market. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 02/01/2018 () 02/01/18 06:44:00

At 06h44 on 02 January 2018 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.36 ZAR/EUR 14.85 ZAR/GBP 16.70 Gold 1306.63 Platinum 990.00 Brent Crude Oil 67.09 All Share 59504.67


China moves to impose order on mobile payments boom - Gabriel Wildau (NPN) 29/12/17 09:44:00

The People's Bank of China has tightened rules on mobile payments made by scanning a barcode, imposing restrictions that could slow the explosive growth for ALIBABA's financial services affiliate and that of main rival TENCENT. The regulations set daily limits on the amount consumers can spend each day using barcode-based payments. They also forbid "burning money" via subsidies to merchants, which are designed to capture market share from competitors. The value of Chinese third-party mobile payments more than tripled to Rmb38tn in 2016 and the fast growth continued this year. ALIBABA affiliate ALIPAY has the largest market share, but WECHAT PAY - linked to TENCENT's mobile messaging platform - has closed the gap over the past 12 months. Barcode payments "have played an active role in promoting financial inclusion", the PBoC said in a statement accompanying the new rules. But it also noted that the lack of unified rules and technical standards created "hidden dangers' as well as "improper competition". The new rules limit payments by a single person using a static barcode to Rmb500 each day. Additional daily limits of Rmb1 000 or Rmb5 000 apply to barcode payers who have not completed certain authentication procedures. Other provisions plug loopholes that allow users to make mobile payments in exchange for cash. Both ALIPAY and TENCENT issued statements applauding the new regulations. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Silicon Valley start-ups look to Canada in hunt for talent - Hannah Kuchler () 29/12/17 09:23:00

Start-ups backed by some of Silicon Valley's leading investors have joined a new venture to hire more software engineers in Canada, as concerns about President DONALD TRUMP's efforts to restrict highly skilled immigration persist into his second year in office. EVENTBRITE, the events start-up funded by SEQUOIA CAPITAL and TIGER GLOBAL MANAGEMENT, ZOLA, an online wedding list site that raised money from LIGHTSPEED VENTURE PARTNERS and THRIVE CAPITAL, and PLAYS.TV, an e-sports company backed by ACCEL and FOUNDERS FUND, have all signed up to TERMINAL in the past month. TERMINAL launched earlier this year with a mission to help tech start-ups hire staff abroad, initially focusing on Canada. The company is providing companies with offices in Waterloo, Ontario, Montreal and Vancouver as well as HR support, including helping employers navigate GLOBAL TALENT STREAM, Canada's new two-week visa service to bring in migrant employees. Concerns that the US government could scrap the H-1B visa, used to hire highly skilled software engineers from abroad, or reduce the numbers of visas available are putting pressure on an already tight labour market in Silicon Valley. Tech firms have expanded significantly in Canada, which is particularly attractive for its talent in artificial intelligence. TERMINAL aims to help smaller start-ups that are struggling to compete for talent in Silicon Valley. It has 100 engineers working for about 20 clients, including marketing start-up ZENREACH, customer service software maker TALKIQ and men's wellness company HIMS. TERMINAL aims to expand beyond Canada next year, looking at locations in Latin America. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Citigroup to pay $11.5m over false stock ratings - Ben McLannahan () 29/12/17 09:23:00

A flawed data feed at CITIGROUP meant retail customers saw the wrong research ratings on hundreds of stocks over a period of five years, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which has ordered the lender to pay at least $11.5m in fines and restitution. The Wall Street watchdog yesterday said errors at CITI's brokerage unit involved more than 38% of the equity securities that the bank covered between Feb. 2011 and Dec. 2015. In some cases stocks were tagged "buy" rather than "sell", meaning brokers collected commissions for soliciting transactions that may not otherwise have been ordered. CITI will pay a fine of $5m to FINRA and at least $6.5m to retail customers affected by the glitches. CITI agreed to resolve the regulator's claims without admitting or denying wrongdoing. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ambani brothers seal India telecoms infrastructure deal - Simon Mundy () 29/12/17 09:23:00

India's AMBANI brothers have agreed a telecoms infrastructure deal that will expand the footprint of new entrant RELIANCE JIO and give rival RELIANCE COMMUNICATIONS a path back from the brink of insolvency. JIO, a subsidiary of MUKESH AMBANI-led RELIANCE INDUSTRIES, has squeezed Indian mobile industry margins with aggressive pricing over the past year. This proved the final straw for ailing RCOM, controlled by ANIL AMBANI, which this week said it would exit its consumer telecom business in a bid to repay Rs457bn of debt. RCOM yesterday said JIO had emerged as the highest bidder for its core telecoms assets as well as a swath of real estate holdings. It did not reveal the sum agreed, but ANIL AMBANI earlier this week said he expected the sale to raise around $3.8bn. RCOM will be able to reduce debt through both the sale proceeds and spectrum liabilities owed to the government, which will be transferred to JIO after it acquires the spectrum. JIO had already been using the spectrum under an infrastructure-sharing agreement signed by the parties two years ago. "The company expects the transactions to close in a phased manner between January and March 2018, subject to lenders' and other applicable approvals", RCOM said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ramaphosa a 'deeply compromised capitalist billionaire' - SAFTU - James de Villiers () 29/12/17 09:23:00

ANC president CYRIL RAMAPHOSA will not improve SA and unemployment will continue under his reign, the South African Federation of Trade Unions said yesterday. In its end-of-year statement, the union labelled RAMAPHOSA "a deeply compromised capitalist billionaire" with "hands stained with the blood of the 34 victims of Marikana". "In order to appease the credit rating agencies and international investors [RAMAPHOSA] will have to appear to be taking action against the blatant forms of corruption, while at the same time ensuring that the inherently corrupt and exploitative monopoly capitalist system survives intact", SAFTU said. It added that the "radical-sounding resolutions passed by the ANC at Nasrec [would] remain dead in the water" in the same way that resolutions passed in Polokwane in 2007 and in Mangaung in 2012 have. Representing around 700 000 workers and founded by ousted COSATU general secretary ZWELINZIMA VAVI, SAFTU said the only way to bring meaningful change was by taking "the fight to the streets". "We are preparing for a national strike and major demonstrations throughout 2018". The union promised to make protests "more militant and in some cases violent. [In] 2018 we shall see a true mobilisation against the status quo that has condemned the majority to squalor and hopelessness". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Minimum wage opposes right to work - FMF - Fin24 () 29/12/17 09:23:00

People should not oppose the right to work by proposing "cost-raising measures" like a national minimum wage, according to LEON LOUW, executive director of the Free Market Foundation. In his view, a low wage is better than no wage - for the unemployed and for everyone. "SA's unemployment rate is so catastrophic that a state of emergency should be declared. Things are worse than anyone realises. During the state of emergency every employment disincentive should be suspended", LOUW said. "The unemployed should be free to be employed or self-employed on whatever terms they wish. According to LOUW, experts he asked calculated that without employment, each generation forgoes six times SA's current GDP. "The most rigorous analysis suggests that the GDP is between 8.7% and 25% smaller due to unemployment, depending on what the unemployed might earn. The lowest estimate could build 1 million RDP houses", LOUW said. He called for government to suspend what he terms "anti-employment policies". "By doing so, it could double tax revenue and return wealth-consuming welfare to wealth-producing investment. It could reverse political instability and its own decline". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


PSCE up 6.45% in Nov., M3 grows 6.61% - Robert Laing () 29/12/17 09:22:00

The private sector's appetite for credit grew faster than expected in Nov., the SARB said today. November's growth in private sector credit extension accelerated to 6.45% from 5.43% in Oct., beating economists' forecasts of 5.9%. The SARB also said that M3 money supply accelerated to 6.61% in Nov. from 5.01% in Oct., beating the consensus of 6.5%. The total monetary deposits included in M3 amounted to R3.35tn in Nov., up 0.93% from R3.32tn in Oct. Mortgage advances amounted to R1.35tn in Nov., up 4.5% from R1.29tn y/y. Instalment sales credit grew 5.34% to R375bn, while leasing finance declined 3.8% to R12bn. Total credit to households grew by 3.71% to R1.54tn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Health minister's low single exit-price increase disappoints industry - Linda Ensor () 29/12/17 09:22:00

Health Minister AARON MOTSOALEDI has gazetted an increase in the single exit price for medicines and scheduled substances, which the pharmaceutical industry says is "pitifully low" and will have a devastating impact on small manufacturers, in particular. The Pharmaceutical Task Group plans to take up the 1.26% increase announced last week with the minister in a bid for him to use his discretion to decide on an increase that is higher than generated by the formula used. ASPEN PHARMACEUTICAL senior executive STAVROS NICOLAOU said that while the industry agreed that the increase was based on the formula, the minister had discretion to make decisions outside of it. "Although the percentage increase was not totally unexpected, it does not accurately reflect real market conditions insofar as some of the inflationary drivers in the industry are concerned, such as input costs and salaries and wages", NICOLAOU said. He said if no adjustment was made to the 1.26%, smaller manufacturers might find it economically unviable to continue producing certain products. KONJI SEBATI, CEO of the Innovative Pharmaceutical Association of SA, said the body was expecting an increase of at least 4%. She was baffled as to how the DOH had arrived at the "very low" 1.26% figure as there was a set formula, noting that "from our observation, none of these factors [in the formula] were considered". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US oil prices hit highest since mid-2015 on output drop - Henning Gloystein () 29/12/17 09:22:00

US oil prices hit their highest levels since mid-2015 on the final trading day of the year as an unexpected contraction in domestic output and a fall in commercial crude inventories stoked buying. WTI futures were at $60.30/barrel this morning, up 46c or 0.8% from their last close, the highest since Jun. 2015. Brent futures were also up, rising 45c or 0.7% to $66.61/barrel. Today's price rises were driven by a surprise drop in US oil production, which last week dipped to 9.754m bpd, down from 9.789m bpd the previous week. US output is still up by almost 16% since mid-2016, but most analysts had expected production to break through 10m bpd by the end of this year - a level only surpassed by top exporter Saudi Arabia and top producer Russia. WTI prices were further boosted by a drop in US commercial crude storage levels, which fell by 4.6m barrels in the week to Dec. 22 to 431.9m barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration. Inventories are now down by almost 20% from their historic highs last March, and well below this time last year or in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Petrol price could drop by as much as 34c/litre in early Jan. - BDpro () 29/12/17 09:22:00

Fuel prices are set for a hefty drop next week after the rand's recent strong performance against the dollar, despite increases in international petroleum prices during Dec., the Automobile Association said yesterday. "After opening the month at R13.80 to the dollar, the rand is now testing the R12.30 level", the AA noted. It said that despite higher international oil prices over Dec., all grades of fuel were set to fall at the Department of Energy's next price adjustment, on Jan. 6. "We expect petrol will be down by up to 34c a litre, diesel 26c and illuminating paraffin 28c", the AA said, adding that ANC president "CYRIL RAMAPHOSA's political and fiscal position ahead of the February 2018 budget speech is likely to be the most influential determining factor for fuel price movements in the short term". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US oil prices hit highest since mid-2015 on output drop - Henning Gloystein () 29/12/17 09:22:00

US oil prices hit their highest levels since mid-2015 on the final trading day of the year as an unexpected contraction in domestic output and a fall in commercial crude inventories stoked buying. WTI futures were at $60.30/barrel this morning, up 46c or 0.8% from their last close, the highest since Jun. 2015. Brent futures were also up, rising 45c or 0.7% to $66.61/barrel. Today's price rises were driven by a surprise drop in US oil production, which last week dipped to 9.754m bpd, down from 9.789m bpd the previous week. US output is still up by almost 16% since mid-2016, but most analysts had expected production to break through 10m bpd by the end of this year - a level only surpassed by top exporter Saudi Arabia and top producer Russia. WTI prices were further boosted by a drop in US commercial crude storage levels, which fell by 4.6m barrels in the week to Dec. 22 to 431.9m barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration. Inventories are now down by almost 20% from their historic highs last March, and well below this time last year or in 2015. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SoftBank-led group to acquire stake in Uber - Leslie Hook (NPN) 29/12/17 09:22:00

A SOFTBANK-led consortium has reached an agreement to buy more than 17% of UBER for about $9bn, after shareholders yesterday elected to sell their shares to the Japanese conglomerate at a discounted price. The investors' decision marks the clearing of the final hurdle in a complex deal whose success is critical to UBER's efforts to turn over a new leaf. RAJEEV MISRA, CEO of SOFTBANK VISION FUND, said the deal would close in Jan. "We have tremendous confidence in UBER's leadership and employees and are excited to support UBER as it continues to reinvent how people and goods are transported around the world", MISRA said. Under the terms of the agreement, SOFTBANK will pay around $7.7bn for 15% of UBER's shares, by purchasing a combination of new and existing shares. The Japanese group will also appoint directors to two new seats on UBER's board. The other members of the consortium, which includes DRAGONEER, TENCENT, TPG and SEQUOIA, will together invest roughly $1bn and own about 2.5% of UBER shares. The consortium will own around 17.5% of UBER at closing. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Apple CEO pockets $102m after 74% bonus hike - Anders Melin, Bloomberg () 29/12/17 07:36:00

APPLE CEO TIM COOK received a 74% hike in his annual bonus for 2017 as the company posted higher revenue and net income. COOK's incentive pay totalled $9.33m for the FY to end-Sep., APPLE said this week. He also took home $3.06m in salary and a previously disclosed equity award of $89.2m, bringing his total pay out for the year to around $102m. In Aug., COOK collected 560 000 shares when part of his 2011 mega-award vested because APPLE outshined more than two-thirds of the S&P 500 over three years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Apple sued for making old iPhones slower - AlJazeera () 29/12/17 07:36:00

APPLE defrauded iPhone users by slowing devices without warning to compensate for poor battery performance, according to eight lawsuits filed in various federal courts in the week since the company opened up about the year-old software change. The tweak may have led iPhone owners to misguided attempts to resolve issues over the last year, the lawsuits contend. All the lawsuits - filed in the US - seek class-action to represent potentially millions of iPhone users nationwide. A similar case was lodged in an Israeli court on Monday. APPLE last week acknowledged that operating system updates released since "last year" for the iPhone 6, 6s, SE and 7 included a feature "to smooth out" power supply from batteries that are cold, old of low on charge. Phones without the adjustment would shut down abruptly because of a precaution designed to prevent components from getting fried, APPLIE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Chile expects copper output to rise 13.9% by 2028 - Reuters () 29/12/17 07:36:00

Chile state copper commission COCHILCO yesterday said the country's production of the red metal would rise by 13.9% over 2016 levels by 2028. It based the projection on the state of current and anticipated mining investments in Chile, which it said would counter a drop in ore grades and the exhaustion of existing mines. Total production is expected to reach 6.32mt by 2028, COCHILCO said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Congo Republic to cut 2018 spending by 9% as growth lags - Christian Elion () 29/12/17 07:36:00

Congo Republic's government this week said it planned to cut spending in 2018 by 8.6% to 1.38tn CFA francs, following a 45% cut to the 2017 budget this month, as it seeks an IMF bailout. Government spokesperson THIERRY MOUNGALLA said the economy would contract by 4.6% this year but should recover to grow by 0.7% in 2018 as crude output picks up at TOTAL's Moho Nord offshore field. MOUNGALLA said the government planned to run a 219bn CFA franc surplus in order to trim public debt and adhere to principles agreed with the IMF during a two-week mission earlier this month. That visit ended without a deal as the IMF said the government needed to do more to restore debt sustainability and strengthen governance. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Rwanda cbank trims repo rate - Clement Uwiringiyimana () 29/12/17 07:36:00

The Rwandan central bank trimmed its key repo rate to 5.5% from 6% previously, central bank governor JOHN RWANGOMBWA said yesterday. "We decided to reduce the repo rate from 6% to 5.5% to continue supporting the financing of the economy and we are building on a strong or stable base, both on inflation and on depreciation", RWANGOMBWA said. He predicted y/y inflation would be below 3% at end-2017 and the franc would have depreciated by 3.07% against the dollar. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Sudan to end wheat subsidies, private sector to handle imports - Khalid Abdelaziz () 29/12/17 07:36:00

Sudan plans to cut wheat subsidies completely under its 2018 budget which will take effect at the start of Jan., and will leave wheat imports to the private sector, the finance ministry said yesterday. Bread prices would not increase, however, due to competition between companies importing wheat, Finance Minster MAGDI HASSAN YASEEN said. He added that the government would buy locally-produced wheat at "encouraging prices". Sudan imported 2mt of wheat this year, while local wheat production was 445 000t. YASEEN ruled out lifting subsidies on fuel and vital medicines. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SA trade surplus soars in Nov. - Mfuneko Toyana () 29/12/17 07:36:00

SA's trade surplus soared to R13.02bn in Nov., its highest level in 18 months as exports of minerals and chemical products as well as commodities and vehicles grew briskly while imports were subdued. It was a big jump in the surplus from R4.34bn in Oct., SARS said yesterday, and well above market forecasts of a modest R1.3bn surplus in Nov. Exports in Nov. expanded by 11.5%, with sales of precious stones and minerals up 21%, base metals rising 19% and vehicle and transportation equipment exports rising 16%. Imports in the month grew by 3.3%. On a cumulative basis, the trade balance between Jan. and Nov. was at a R64.7bn surplus, compared with a R11.22bn shortfall over the same period in 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


MTN assigns shareholder loan to IHS - Tanisha Heiberg (MTN) 29/12/17 07:36:00

MTN GROUP yesterday said it had assigned a $231m shareholder loan to IHS HOLDING LTD, impacting its 2017 profits. MTN said the assignment of the loan to the Nigerian tower group will lead to a loss of R2.8bn on transfer of the carrying value of the loan. The loss on transfer will impact HEPS for 2017, but not EBITDA. MTN said the loan - due in 2024/25 - will allow its Nigerian unit to continue to invest in its network and simplify MTN's interests in IHS. "The agreement will enable MTN and IHS to mutually benefit from continued investment and commitment to the rollout of broadband and data services in Nigeria", the company said. MTN formed a JV partnership with ISH in 2014 to own and operate MTN's transmitter towers in Nigeria. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Moody's downgrades Steinhoff deeper into junk - Mfuneko Toyana (SNH) 29/12/17 07:36:00

MOODY's yesterday downgraded STEINHOFF's debt deeper into junk territory and warned further downgrades could follow due to mounting cash flow problems at the retail giant. STEINHOFF is fighting for survival following its disclosure of accounting irregularities that has wiped more than $12bn off its market cap. MOODY's said the new rating reflected a "substantial risk" of default. It cut its rating for STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS N.V. to Caa1, seven notches into junk. "STEINHOFF's CFR (Corporate Family Rating) and MOODY's review of its CFR for further downgrade reflect the increasing pressure on the company's liquidity profile... The situation has been compounded by its operating companies placing an additional liquidity burden on STEINHOFF's centralised treasury function to fund their working capital needs", MOODY's said. STEINHOFF has $2bn of term loans maturing between 2018 and 2020, and the interest rate payable on the loans is expected to soar to around 250 to 280 bps above the benchmark lending rate of European banks following the downgrades. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 29/12/2017 () 29/12/17 07:36:00

At 07h36 on 29 December 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.39 ZAR/EUR 14.81 ZAR/GBP 16.68 Gold 1295.67 Platinum 925.50 Brent Crude Oil 66.19 All Share 58952.89


Premier Oil has success from flagship North Sea development - Nathalie Thomas () 28/12/17 07:48:00

PREMIER OIL has produced first oil from its flagship development in the North Sea, a milestone that will help the company start repaying its debt load. First oil from the $1.6bn Catcher project was achieved on the afternoon of Dec. 23. Shares in PREMIER OIL rose 3.6% to 79p yesterday. Catcher was delivered nearly 30% below the company's original budget but PREMIER racked up hefty debts as it had to pour money into the project - its net debt stood at $2.8bn at end-Sep. The North Sea development is expected to initially produce around 10 000 bpd, before ramping up to 60 000 bpd in H1 2018. This will add 30 000 bpd to PREMIER's overall production - it is the operator of the development with a 50% equity stake. Ohter partners include CAIRN ENERGY, DYAS and MOL. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China unveils digital ID card linked to WeChat - Gabriel Wildau () 28/12/17 07:48:00

Guangzhou, one of China's largest cities, will allow residents to link their national identity cards to WeChat using facial recognition, further enmeshing TENCENT's technology ecosystem. Authorities in the city announced the pilot programme for the city's Nansha district this week. It will likely be rolled out nationwide next month, according to the official Xinhua news agency. TENCENT's part in the ID programme will give it a different purpose and potentially new revenue streams. China's national ID cards are used for everything from hotel check-in, train ticket reservations, bank account opening and access to social welfare programmes. Under the WeChat pilot, users can obtain a limited-function digital ID simply by scanning their faces with the WeChat app. To obtain the full-function version, they must visit an offline terminal in the city and scan their physical ID cards. The limited version can be used for low-security functions such as registering an internet cafe, while the full function can be used for most functions that require identification, including registering a business. Privacy advocates have raised concerns about tightening links among privately owned tech groups such as TENCENT and the Communist party. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Geely takes stake in Volvo Group - Richard Milne () 28/12/17 07:48:00

The Chinese owner of VOLVO CARS is to become the biggest shareholder of VOLVO GROUP in a potentially historic realignment between the two Swedish automotive businesses. ZHEJIANG GEELY will pay about €3.25bn to CEVIAN CAPITAL for an 8.2% stake in the truckmaker, which comes with 15.6% of the voting rights. Talk of reuniting the two brands - split up when VOLVO GROUP sold VOLVO CARS to FORD in 1999 - is "premature", according to people close to the deal. But GEELY sees potential for joint marketing between the two VOLVOS, shared tech projects on issues such as autonomous driving and electric vehicles, and the chance to help the truckmaker perform better in China where it has struggled. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


FTSE 100 chiefs paid 94 times more than average employee - Andrew Hill () 28/12/17 07:48:00

The ratio of chief executives' pay to the earnings of their employees at the UK's biggest companies outstrips that of many of their continental European counterparts, according to a new study. CEOs of FTSE 100 companies receive on average 94 times more than the average employee, Vlerick Business School in Belgium found, based on 2016 data. Only the heads of the largest listed French and German companies come close to matching the UK ratio. The CEOs of companies in the CAC40 and DAX indices are paid 91 and 89 times the average employee, respectively. In Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands, CE pay rations for companies in the three respective senior stock market indices were 37, 40 and 71, controlling for company size and performance. Only the figure for the CAC Next 20 exceeded the UK ratio. CAC Next 20 chief executives' pay is 117 times average workers' earnings. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Republicans under pressure to take action on US health system - Barney Jopson () 28/12/17 07:48:00

Republicans are under renewed pressure to shore up the fragile US healthcare system after they knocked out a pillar of Obamacare in landmark tax legislation, but did not attempt to stabilise it. The pressure to act comes from the tax bill's effective elimination of a requirement for every American to have health insurance or else pay a fine. Although the bill does not fully abolish the so-called individual mandate, it eliminates the financial penalty for not having health coverage from 2019. Healthcare experts say the change it likely to destabilise some regional markets because millions of people will choose to go back to having no insurance, leaving insurance pools made up of those who are on average less healthy, and therefore more expensive for private health insurers. So far, 8.8m people have signed up for Obamacare policies in 2018, down 4% y/y but higher than expected given the TRUMP administration's cuts to marketing budgets and a shorter enrolment period. The number of Americans without health insurance will rise by 13m by 2027 due to the end of the individual mandate penalty, according to independent analysis from the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Renova sells stake in Petropavlovsk - Reuters () 28/12/17 06:55:00

Russian tycoon VIKTOR VEKSELBERG's RENOVA GROUP has sold its stake in PETROPAVLOVSK, RENOVA spokesperson ANDREY SHTORKH said yesterday. "The deal is closed, we are not disclosing the details", SHTORKH said, declining to disclose the price of the deal and the buyer of the stake. Interfax reported that the 22% stake in PETROPAVLOVSK was purchased by Kazakh businessman KENGES RAKISHEV, the former largest shareholder in KAZKOMMERTSBANK and a co-owner of CENTRAL ASIA METALS via his Cyprus-based firm FINCRAFT HOLDINGS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 28/12/2017 () 28/12/17 06:55:00

At 06h54 on 28 December 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.25 ZAR/EUR 14.60 ZAR/GBP 16.46 Gold 1289.33 Platinum 920.00 Brent Crude Oil 65.88 All Share 58844.01


Rand rallies on Ramaphosa - Robert Brand, Bloomberg () 28/12/17 06:54:00

It has taken the rand exactly nine months to claw back the losses it suffered after President JACOB ZUMA sacked former finance minister PRAVIN GORDHAN in Mar. The currency gained as much as 1.8% yesterday to R12.2889, erasing its losses since GORDHAN's dismissal and the highest since Jul. 2015. GORDHAN's dismissal sent the rand plunging 11% in two weeks and sparked a credit rating downgrade to junk. The currency has rallied more than 6% since CYRIL RAMAPHOSA was elected leader of the ANC on Dec. 18. "The market is positively surprised by the increasing amount of support that Mr RAMAPHOSA is rallying behind him", SIMON QUIJANO-EVANS, an emerging market strategist at LEGAL & GENERAL, said. "He is likely to continue doing so, increasing speculation about another no-confidence motion in the presidency in 2018". Flows into South African stocks and bonds have soared since the vote. Foreigners bought a net R6.4bn of debt and R13.4bn of equities in the week ending Dec. 22. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


WhatsApp to stop working on some phones on New Year's Eve - Kyle Venktess () 28/12/17 06:54:00

New Year's Eve will mark the last day that WHATSAPP functions on some smartphones and operating systems. WHATSAPP support for BlackBerry OS and Windows Phone 8 will cease on Dec. 31, according to a blog post published by the company. In addition to stopping support for the BlackBerry and Windows phones, support for the NOKIA S40 will end after Dec. 31 2018, while WHATSAPP support for Android versions 2.3.7 and older is expected to cease after Feb. 1 2020. "While these mobile devices have been an important part of our story, they don't offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app's features in the future", WHATSAPP said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ghana Stock Exchange says three firms on delisting watch list - Reuters () 28/12/17 06:54:00

The GHANA STOCK EXCHANGE has put on its watch list three distressed companies including COCOA PROCESSING COMPANY for possible delisting if their financials do not improve by the end of May, the exchange said yesterday. CPC currently operates at less than half of its annual capacity of 64 500t. CPC in Aug. said it needed at least $300m to revive its operations. The GSE in Aug. suspended trading in the company's shares for two weeks after it failed to submit financial reports or to conduct an AGM despite several promptings. Also on the watch list is ALUWORKS GHANA LIMITED, an aluminium raw material supplier, and IT service provider CLYDESTONE GHANA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Fuel shortages leave motorists stranded in Nigeria - ANA () 28/12/17 06:54:00

Motorists and commuters have been stranded in Nigeria over the Christmas period following a three-week fuel shortage, Kenya's Daily Nation reports. Fuel prices have been hiked dramatically at stations where fuel was available despite the government insisting there were no shortages. Public vehicle operators have hiked fares by 50%-70% and customers are now paying between $0.70 and $0.80/litre of petrol, against the official pump price of less than 40c. The price hikes and shortages have resulted in many motorists buying petrol from the black market. On further investigation a survey indicated that most filling stations had petrol but were refusing to dispense it, against the advice of the Department of Petroleum Resources, to sell it at the government regulated price. This has resulted in the DPR penalising a number of filling stations, including some government controlled ones, for hoarding fuel. The NIGERIA NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION has been instructed by the government to end the crisis. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Copper climbs to near 4-yr high as China halts top producer - Reuters () 28/12/17 06:54:00

Copper in London surged to the highest level in almost four years after China ordered its top producer to halt output to combat winter pollution. JIANGXI COPPER was told to trim output for at least a week before a new assessment is made on local pollution levels. Earlier in the month, No 2 smelter TONGLING NONFERROUS METALS GROUP was asked to make similar cuts. "The China shutdown news is certainly propping up copper further than it would be potentially without it", DAVID MEGER, director of metals trading at HIGH RIDGE FUTURES said. "All of that is tied into this whole thread of optimism in US and global growth". Copper for delivery in three months rose 1.6% to settle at $7 240/t on the LME late yesterday. The price earlier touched $7 259, the highest since Jan. 2014. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


PotashCorp, Agrium merger gets final nod; Nutrien to trade from Jan. 2 - Henry Lazenby () 28/12/17 06:54:00

AGRIUM INC and POTASH CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN have received clearance from the US Federal Trade Commission and have now obtained all regulatory approvals needed to close their proposed merger of equals transaction. The partners expect the merger, which will establish a new $36bn entity, to close on Jan. 1, subject to normal closing conditions. The new entity will be named NUTRIEN, and its equity is expected to start trading on the TSX and the NYSE under the ticker NTR at the opening of market on Jan. 2. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Amplats close to competing $62m smelter in Zim - Allan Seccombe (AMS) 27/12/17 08:50:00

ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM is nearing completion of a $62m PGM smelter at its Unki mine in Zimbabwe, meeting that government's demands for greater beneficiation. The smelter is 70% complete, still needing electrical systems to be installed, and would be operating from mid-2018, the company said. This would ramp up to steady state output the following year. The Unki smelter will generate a matte product that will be sent to SA to AMPLATS' base metals and precious metals refineries. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Wiese sells another large chunk of Shoprite stock - Robert Laing (SHP) 27/12/17 08:50:00

SHOPRITE chair CHRISTO WIESE on Thursday sold a further R868m worth of the chain's shares, taking the total he has sold since Dec. 14 to R4.1bn. A director's dealing statement issued on Friday said WIESE sold 4.2m shares at an average price of R206.55 the previous day. Over five trading days, WIESE has sold a total of 19.2m shares, nearly a fifth of the total 101m he was listed as holding in SHOPRITE's 2017 annual report. This has cut his holding of SHOPRITE's shares in issue down to 14% from 17%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Steinhoff's US business secures loan - Robert Laing (SNH) 27/12/17 08:50:00

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL's US subsidiary, MATTRESS FIRM, managed to secure up to $225m in credit despite the woes of its parent company. MATTRESS FIRM late on Friday said it had secured an initial $75m "senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility" which could be extended up to $225m. "The new credit facility provides independent liquidity and capital to support our strategy, and demonstrates the strength of our business, the value of our assets and the quality of our brands", MATTRESS FIRM CEO KEN MURPHY said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Russia bars Navalny from running for president - Kathrin Hille () 27/12/17 08:50:00

Russian opposition politician ALEXEI NAVALNY has been barred from running in March's presidential elections. The Central Election Commission voted on Monday to reject NAVALNY's candidacy application, deciding he was not eligible due to a criminal conviction. The February conviction for embezzlement has been criticised by independent legal experts and foreign judges as politically motivated. Shortly after the decision, NAVALNY called for a boycott of the election and threatened countrywide street protests. President VLADIMIR PUTIN is expected to comfortably win re-election in Mar. as many Russians are resigned to the fact that the country's elections will not lead to political change. PUTIN's approval ratings remain above 80%, and NAVALNY would not win more than 2% if elections were held now, according to independent pollster LEVADA. Members of NAVALNY's campaing said he would challenge the CEC's decision in the courts first. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US poised to let EM trade pact expire - Shawn Donnan () 27/12/17 08:08:00

A 1970s US trade deal that unilaterally grants products worth billions of dollars from India and other developing countries tariff-free access to the US market is set to expire on Dec. 31. Congress last week failed to agree on renewing the Generalised System of Preferences, despite Republicans and Democrats saying they support it and will try to bring it back to life. Critics of the programme argue that countries such as India have for too long abused the programme by ignoring its rules, and that past administrations have been too lax in enforcing them. "There's nothing developing about India or China any more... Just because there are pockets of real poverty - and there's no doubt about it - that's the job of their government to take care of, not our government", said DAN DIMICCO, former CEO of steelmaker NUCOR and a trade advisor to DONALD TRUMP. More than 3 500 products from 120 EMs are covered by the trade deal. In 2016, products worth $19bn were imported into the US tariff-free under the GSP, with business groups saying importers saved more than $700m in duties. The TRUMP administration, whose support for the GSP has been lukewarm compared with that of previous administrations, has indicated it wants to see it reformed. The GSP programme has expired before, most recently in 2013. Businesses that use it are forced to pay duties until it is renewed, which last time took almost two years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


UK Q3 growth confirmed at 0.4% - Gavin Jackson () 27/12/17 08:08:00

Britain's economic growth was unrevised at 0.4% q/q for Q3 2017, according to the final estimate of national income. But growth at the end of the previous year was revised up, leading to an increase of 0.1 percentage points for 2016 as a whole. The British economy grew by 1.9% y/y in 2016, the Office for National Statistics said. The final estimate of Q3 growth in 2017 also showed that British households funded their spending by saving less. The proportion of income not spent fell to 5.2% in Q3 from 5.7% during the prior quarter. Household spending growth contributed 0.3 percentage points of economic growth during the period, but the ONS noted that the annual rate of growth in household spending has fallen to its lowest level since 2012. Quarterly growth in investment spending during Q3 was revised up by 0.1 percentage points to 0.3%, but this was not enough to affect the headline measure of growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Trump signs tax reform bill into law - Jessica Dye () 27/12/17 08:08:00

President DONALD TRUMP on Friday morning signed the long-awaited legislation containing $1.5tn in tax cuts that Republicans say will energise the US economy. The bill signing was hastily announced on Friday morning. TRUMP said that after seeing that "every one of the (news) networks said, 'Will he keep his promise?'", he ordered the bill to be prepared for his signature on Friday. TRUMP also gave the presidential seal of approval to other legislation, including a short-term funding bill to keep the government running through Jan. 19. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


France Q3 growth upgraded - Nicholas Megaw () 27/12/17 08:08:00

France's economy grew by more than previously thought in Q3 2017 in a further sign of the eurozone's strong recovery. Updated figures from Insee showed GDP expanded by 0.6% in the quarter to end-Sep., compared to initial estimates of a 0.5% expansion. The revision means France maintained the healthy growth rate recorded in Q2, thanks largely to an uptick in household consumption. Recent sentiment surveys suggest the strong growth was likely to have continued into the end of the year, with France's official measure of business confidence hitting a 10-year high last week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Bitcoin fights back after pre-Christmas sell-off - Madison Marriage () 27/12/17 08:08:00

The price of bitcoin rose 13% to nearly $16 000 yesterday, recovering from a sharp sell-off last week that saw its value p.ummed by nearly a third amid growing concern among regulators about a potential bubble. The recovery came despite Israeli regulators announcing a crackdown on the cryptocurrency a day earlier. The Israeli Security Agency said it would bar companies trading in bitcoin from operating on the Tel Aviv stock exchange and investigate how to regulate the cryptocurrency due to concerns about volatile prices. Bitcoin's price remains below its mid-Dec. peak of nearly $19 666, but its rapid ascent since the start of 2017 has alarmed regulators and financiers who fear the market shows all the signs of overheating. Bitcoin was worth $15 707 yesterday afternoon, up 43% from Friday's low. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


RCom reaches agreement on $7bn debt - Amy Kazmin () 27/12/17 08:08:00

India's RELIANCE COMMUNICATIONS yesterday said it has reached an agreement with lenders on a "full resolution" of its nearly $7bn in debt, sending its shares up 30%. The deal will see RCOM exit the retail business and recast itself as a smaller B2B enterprise. During the restructuring process, it will sell most of its telecoms assets, including telecoms towers, fibre optic cable, telecoms spectrum and a valuable 125-acre land parcel near Mumbai. RCOM head ANIL AMBANI said the company expects the asset sale to raise around $3.8bn, all of which will be used for pre-payment of bank loans. He said the deal does not call for RCOM's lenders to write off any debt or exchange any debt for equity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Hyundai Heavy plunges on rights offering - Song Jung-a () 27/12/17 08:08:00

The share price of HYUNDAI HEAVY INDUSTRIES fell as much as 28% today after the company said it would raise around $1.2bn via a rights offering, diluting shareholders. The company added it would list its refining unit HYUNDAI OILBANK in a move designed to improve its finances amid a prolonged slump across the industry. HYUNDAI HEAVY yesterday said it would issue shares worth around Won1.3tn by Mar. and use the bulk of the sum as operating funds. The group's holding company, HYUNDAI ROBOTICS, will list HYUNDAI OILBANK in H2 2018 to bolster the group's finances after the shipbuilder switches to a holding company structure earlier this year. Starting with the refiner's IPO, HYUNDAI HEAVY said the group will try to strengthen its transparency by cutting its cross shareholdings among its three shipbuilders - HYUNDAI HEAVY, HYUNDAI MIPO DOCKYARD and HYUNDAI SAMHO HEAVY INDUSTRIES. HYUNDAI OILBANK is more than 90% owned by HYUNDAI ROBOTICS. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


LDC sells metals business to Chinese fund - Neil Hume () 27/12/17 08:08:00

LOUIS DREYFUS COMPANY has announced the sale of its metals unit to a Chinese fund that includes one of the country's biggest copper and cobalt producers as an investor. The company said it has agreed to sell LDC METALS to NCCL NATURAL RESOURCES INVESTMENT FUND, which is owned by NEW CHINA CAPITAL LEGEND, AXAM ASSET MANAGEMENT and CHINA MOLYBDENUM. Terms of the deal - expected to close in H1 2018 - were not disclosed. CHINA MOLY owns the Tenke copper/cobalt mine in the DRC. It last month announced plans to set up a $1bn investment fund with NEW CHINA CAPITAL LEGEND. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Mondi signs agreement to acquire Powerflute - Fin24 (MND) 27/12/17 08:08:00

MONDI on Friday announced it had signed an agreement to acquire 100% of the remaining shares in POWERFLUTE, a division of NORDIC PACKAGING AND CONTAINER HOLDING in a deal worth billions. MONDI expects to complete the deal in the first half of 2018, pending competition clearance and customary closing conditions. POWERFLUTE operates an integrated pulp and paper mill in Kuopio (Finland) with an annual production capacity of 285 000t of high-performance semi-chemical fluting. Its premium semi-chemical fluting is sold to a diverse range of customers, primarily for packaging fresh fruit and vegetables, but also other end-uses such as electronics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. POWERFLUTE's generated revenue for the FY to end-Dec. 2017 is expected to be around €183m with adjusted EBITDA of €42m. MONDI will integrate POWERFLUTE into its Packaging Paper Business Unit. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Dutch authority probing Deloitte's Steinhoff audit - Fin24 (SNH) 27/12/17 08:08:00

The DA on Friday welcomed a probe in the Netherlands into DELOITTE for its role in the audit of STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL. DA MP DAVID MAYNIER said the probe is by the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets. MAYNIER said he was informed by MARTIJN DUFFELS, a senior supervision officer, audit and reporting, that AFM has decided to launch an investigation into the role of DELOITTE in the audit of the financial statements of STEINHOFF. "We need to know whether DELOITTE turned a blind eye to accounting irregularities at STEINHOFF", MAYNIER said, adding: "In the end, we need to be tough on crime in the public sector, and touch on crime in the private sector". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Oil up on pipeline explosion - AFP () 27/12/17 07:15:00

Oil prices in New York rose to a two-and-a-half year high yesterday and briefly topped $60/barrel due to a Lybian pipeline explosion and cold weather in the US. WTI for Feb. delivery rose $1.50 to $59.97/barrel after earlier breaching $60 for the first time since Jun. 2015. Brent crude for Feb. delivery advanced $1.77 to $67.02/barrel, a level not seen since mid-2015. The blast occurred on a pipeline to the Al-Sidra export terminal and was expected to curtail Libyan oil output by 70 000 to 100 000 bpd, the NATIONAL OIL COMPANY said. The Libyan outage adds to worries about European supply following a weeks-long disruption to the Forties pipeline in the North Sea after a crack was found in the line. Meanwhile, cold weather in the US was expected to lift demand for heating oil and natural gas, putting pressure on supply. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Capitec execs pocket R62m on record share price - Carin Smith (CPI) 27/12/17 07:15:00

Two directors of CAPITEC sold shares in the company with a total value of more than R60m last week. CEO GERRIE FOURIE sold a total of 12 875 ordinary shares for a total of R13.14m. Non-executive director and former CEO RIAAN STASSEN sold 50 000 ordinary shares for a total of R49m. CAPITEC's share price has climbed by more than 50% over the past year. It was trading at R1 050 on Friday afternoon. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Thyssenkrupp could halve stake in Tata Steel JV - Reuters () 27/12/17 07:15:00

THYSSENKRUPP could halve its stake in a planned European steel JV with TATA STEEL if they list it on the stock market by end-2024, a member of the German group said on Friday. The parties have committed to holding equal stakes for the first six years of the company's existence, THYSSENKRUPP personnel manager OLIVER BURKHARD said. In case of a listing, they are to retain at least a 50.1% stake, BURKHARD said, meaning THYSSENKRUPP could trim its stake to 25.05%. Traders and analysts said unions had been able to extract far-reaching commitments from management. The agreement with unions foresees no forced layoffs or major site closures before Sep. 2026, labour representatives and the company said. Its still requires approval from the members of IG Metall, Germany's most powerful union, which will cast their votes between Jan. 13 and Feb. 2. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


EBRD loans $350m to ArcelorMittal's Ukraine mill - Reuters () 27/12/17 07:15:00

The EUROPEAN BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT has extended a $350m loan to Ukraine's largest steel mill, owned by ARCELORMITTAL, for modernisation and environmental upgrades. The bank said the loan would help finance investment worth $1.1bn at the mill, which ARCELORMITTAL acquired in 2015. "It is the largest private sector investment programme in Ukraine in recent years", the lender said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Sumitomo, Jindal Steel among bidders for India rails tender - Reuters () 27/12/17 07:15:00

Japan's SUMITOMO CORP and India's JINDAL STEEL AND POWER are among eight bidders competing for INDIAN RAILWAYS' first global tender to supply 487 000t of rails, a government source said. The other bidders are EAST METALS, a unit of EVRAZ, Austrian company VOESTALPINE SCHIENEN, CRM HONG KONG TRADING, ATLANTIC STEELS of India, French entity BRITISH STEEL FRANCE RAIL and China-based ANGANG GROUP INTERNATIONAL. The tender was opened earlier on Friday. The tender will end the monopoly of state-owned STEEL AUTHORITY OF INDIA LTD in supplying rails to the world's fourth largest rail network. Lossmaking SAIL has struggled to meet railways' rising demand. The steel and rail ministries have been at loggerheads over the state-run network's decision to buy rails from overseas, despite assurances of supply from SAL and JINDAL STEEL AND POWER. Following several meetings, the railways slashed its tender size by more than 30% to 487 000t of rails after SAIl said it would scale up supply to 950 000t in 2017/18 and 1.5mt in 2018/19. The panel also gave a one-time waiver to the railways to source rails from abroad on the condition that it would give 20% of the contract to a domestic steel maker. The clause could help JINDDAL STEEL win its first contract with the railways. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Workers end wildcat strike at PanAf mine - Ed Stoddard (PAN) 27/12/17 07:15:00

Workers at PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES' Barberton mine ended a wildcat strike that started on Sunday, Dec. 17, industry sources said on Friday. About 1 800 workers downed tools in the strike over allowances and the dismissal of two union leaders. The issues have not been resolved but the workers agreed to return to work while their grievances are reviewed. PANAF could not immediately be reached for comment. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Moz cuts key lending rate to 20.5% - Nqobile Dludla () 27/12/17 07:15:00

Mozambique's central bank cut its benchmark lending rate by 150 basis points to 20.5%, the regulator said on its website on Friday. The central bank said its monetary policy committee had also decided to reduce the monetary policy interest rate, or MIMO, by 150 basis points to 19.5%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nigeria exiting recession b ut economy remains vulnerable - IMF - Paul Carsten () 27/12/17 07:15:00

Nigeria is exiting recession but its economy remains vulnerable, the IMF said on Friday after conducting a review of that economy. Nigeria climbed out of its first recession in 25 years in Q2, but economic growth remains tepid. "Overall growth is slowly picking up but recovery remains challenging", the IMF said, adding that macroeconomic and structural reforms remain urgent to contain any vulnerability. "In the absence of new policies, the near-term outlook remains challenging", the Fund said. "Growth is expected to continue to pick up in 2018 to 2.1%, helped by the full year impact of greater availability of foreign exchange and higher oil production, but to stay relatively flat in the medium term", the IMF said. "Moving toward a unified and market-based exchange rate as soon as possible while continuing to strengthen external buffers would be necessary to increase confidence and reduce potential risks from capital flow reversals. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Sudan to devalue pound in Jan. - Khalid Abdelaziz () 27/12/17 07:15:00

Sudan is to devalue its currency to 18 Sudanese pounds per dollar in Jan. from the current exchange rate of 6.7, Finance Minister MOHAMED OTHMAN RUKABI said yesterday. The IMF earlier this month urged the country to float its currency to boost growth and investment, but the government has ruled out a market-determined exchange rate. The devaluation which includes the customs exchange rate is timed to take place when the 2018 budget begins, in the first week of Jan., RUKABI said. Traders said the black market rate jumped to 27 SDG/$ from 25 SDG yesterday after the devaluation was announced. To stem the flow of scarce currency out of the banking system, Sudan announced emergency measures last month after the pound fell to a record low of 27 against the dollar on the black market. It also imposed tight restrictions on imports of luxury goods, directing remaining liquidity toward "sectors that boost growth". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 27/12/2017 () 27/12/17 07:15:00

At 07h15 on 27 December 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.49 ZAR/EUR 14.83 ZAR/GBP 16.72 Gold 1281.79 Platinum 918.00 Brent Crude Oil 66.15 All Share 58800.23


Nike sales grow despite N American stumble - Jessica Dye () 22/12/17 09:38:00

NIKE's quarterly sales grew at a steady pace in the past quarter, with the company's accelerating gains in international markets helping to offset sluggishness in its home market in North America. Revenue for the quarter to end-Nov. were $8.6bn, a 5% rise y/y. Sales in its largest North American market fell 5% y/y to $3.485bn, although its Greater China unit saw sales up 16%, alongside a 19% gain in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Net income fell 9% to $767m, and diluted EPS were down 8% y/y to 46cps. NIKE chair and CEO MARK PARKER credited the company's "Consumer Direct Offense" strategy for the quarter's performance, saying the group "accelerated international growth and built underlying momentum in our domestic business". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Roche to buy cancer medicine specialist Ignyta - Ralph Atkins () 22/12/17 09:38:00

ROCHE is paying $1.7bn to acquire IGNYTA, a California-based specialist in cancer medicines. The offer price of $27/share represents a premium of 74% on yesterday's closing price and 89% on its average share price over the past 90 days. The deal was agreed unanimously by both companies. ROCHE's profits are under pressure as a number of its most popular treatments lose their patent protection. IGNYTA would continue its operations in San Diego, the parties said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Wesfarmers to sell coal mine for A$700m - Edward White () 22/12/17 09:38:00

WESFARMERS has agreed to sell a Queensland coal mine to CORONADO COAL GROUP for A$700m. The sale of the Curragh mine also includes an ongoing share of export revenues over the next two years. The supermarkets-to-DIY conglomerate will book a post-tax profit of around A$100m from the sale, having acquired the mine for A$200m. The divestment followed a broader strategic evaluation by the retailer of its resources businesses, WESFARMERS MD ROB SCOTT said. A review of its 40% stake in the Bengalla coal mine was ongoing. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


BHP pays $181m for Samarco disaster ahead of further settlement - Edward White (BIL) 22/12/17 09:38:00

BHP will fund up to $181m for remediation, repair and compensation related to the SAMARCO dam disaster ahead of a bigger settlement package likely to be announced in 2018. BHP said $133m will be used for remediation and compensation and a short-term facility of $42m will be made available for ongoing repair works and to support restart planning. A further $6m will cover fees for experts to carry out the programmes. Talks over the settlement of the $47.6bn and $6.1bn in civil claims relating to the dam failure are ongoing. The deadline for talks between the parties were last month extended to Apr. 20, 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Euro edges lower after separatists clinch Catalan election - Alice Woodhouse () 22/12/17 09:38:00

The euro dipped in early Asia trading after pro-independence parties in Catalonia won an absolute majority in regional elections yesterday. The euro was 0.3% lower against the US dollar at $1.1840 after the election results in Catalonia. The three separatist parties together won 70 seats in the 135-seat assembly, less than they collectively won in the last election in 2015 but ahead of the 68-seat threshold required to form a government. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


EU orders Ilva to repay govt loans - Rochelle Toplensky () 22/12/17 09:38:00

Brussels has ordered Italian steelmaker ILVA to repay €84m in government loans. After a two-year investigation, the EU authorities decided two state loans granted in 2015 to ILVA gave the company an "undue advantage to finance its current operations" and were illegal under the bloc's state aid. The company has four months to repay the money. ILVA owns the Taranto steelworks in southern Italy, Europe's largest by output capacity, which was nationalised after an alleged environmental disaster. A group led by ARCELORMITTAL won a government-run process to buy ILVA in June and raised hopes of a resolution to one of Italy's thorniest industrial and environmental crises. Brussels is considering how that takeover will impact competition and must decide if it will approve the deal by Apr. 4. The agreement included an environmental clan-up plan and a pledge for an additional €2.4bn investment until 2023 on top of the €1.8bn price tag. The deal is also facing a legal challenge from regional politicians who assert it does not curb pollution quickly enough. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


BASF names new CEO - Olaf Storbeck () 22/12/17 09:38:00

German chemical giant BASF yesterday named MARTIN BRUDERMULLER its new CEO. BRUDERMULLER will succeed KURT BOCK in early May. BOCK, who has been leading the company since 2011, is stepping down three years before his contract ends in 2021. After the mandatory two year cooling-off period for executives, he is scheduled to join the company's supervisory board and is seen by company insiders as likely to become the successor of chairman JURGEN HAMBRECHT, whose term will then run out. BRUDERMULLER has been deputy CEO since 2011 and is also the company's chief technology officer. He is getting a five-year contract until the AGM in 2023. CFO HANS-ULRICH ENGEL was appointed as the new deputy CEO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US Q3 growth rate revised down to 3.2% - Pan Kwan Yuk () 22/12/17 09:38:00

US Q3 growth was revised slightly lower but the pace remains the fastest since early 2015, data showed yesterday. Real GDP rose at an annual rate of 3.2% in the quarter to end-Sep., the third and final reading from the Commerce Department showed, following a 3.1% expansion in Q2. Yesterday's reading is down from the second estimate of 3.3% growth last month but up from the preliminary reading of 3% expansion. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


FPF takes legal action to recover bonus of R2.5m - Charlotte Mathews (FDP) 22/12/17 09:38:00

FREEDOM PROPERTY FUND is taking legal action to recover an annual performance bonus of R2.5m paid to its previous CEO during FY2015, the board said yesterday. FPF said the circumstances under which the bonus was paid did not justify it. The directors said they were committed to releasing the fund's annual financial statements for the FY to end-Feb. 2017 and end-Feb. 2016, adding that the Feb. 2016 results will include a restatement of the Feb. 2015 results. The directors recently commissioned an independent evaluation of FREEDOM's property portfolio since its JSE listing in 2015. The revaluation put the portfolio at R382m for the 2015 results, down from the R1.69bn previously reported. FREEDOM's shares have been suspended form trade since Jul. 2016. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Updated market indicators for 08/11/2017 () 22/12/17 09:38:00

At 09h38 on 08 November 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.70 ZAR/EUR 15.07 ZAR/GBP 17.01 Gold 1267.21 Platinum 912.00 Brent Crude Oil 64.13 All Share 58981.96


More work needed before Congo Republic bailout - IMF - Joe Bavier () 22/12/17 07:58:00

The IMF ended a week of talks in Congo Republic yesterday saying the nation had more work to do if it hoped to gain the Fund's approval for a bailout package. Like other Central African oil producers, Congo has been hit hard by low crude oil prices. Government revenues have dropped by a third since 2015. The IMF said the non-oil economy was in recession, with a contraction of 9.2% expected for this year. The Fund said it was encouraged by Congo's draft 2018 budget and added that progress had been made in formulating medium-term macroeconomic and structural policies it could support. However, it said the government needed to do more to restore debt sustainability, urging it to finalise the hiring of legal and financial advisors. More progress towards strengthening governance was also required. Once the Fund's recommendations were carried out, "a financial arrangement to support Congo's economic programme would be discussed at staff level before being proposed for the IMF Executive Board's consideration", said mission head ABDOUL AZIZ WANE. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Workers down tools at PanAf's main SA mine - Zandi Shabalala (PAN) 22/12/17 07:58:00

Workers at PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES' flagship Barberton gold mine embarked on a wildcat strike yesterday in a dispute over living allowance, an industry source said. About 1 800 workers at Barberton mine downed tools in the strike, which was also called to protest the dismissal of two of its union leaders. Barberton mine produced 71 763oz of gold in 2017. PANAF's management was meeting with union leaders to resolve the two issues, the source said, adding that it was unclear when the strike would end. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


NNPC more than doubles fuel supply amid run on petrol - Paul Carsten () 22/12/17 07:58:00

The NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION yesterday said it has more than doubled the daily supply of fuel for motorists to 80m litres, amid a run on petrol that has seen queues lasting hours at filling stations around the country. The NNPC attributes the shortage to a "hiccup in the supply chain" after rumours of a planned hike in the petrol price led to hoarding. The company's repeated pleas not to engage in panic buying or stockpiling have done little to avert the rush for fuel this year. "Some marketers, in their quest to cash in on the situation, suddenly started hoarding products", NNPC said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 22/12/2017 () 22/12/17 07:58:00

At 07h58 on 22 December 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.74 ZAR/EUR 15.11 ZAR/GBP 17.05 Gold 1265.81 Platinum 909.00 Brent Crude Oil 64.13 All Share 58771.79


Vaal River dams increase levels, but DWS urges conservation - Megan van Wyngaardt () 22/12/17 07:57:00

The Gauteng dams which form part of the Integrated Vaal River System continued to climb up to higher levels following a period of consistent decline. The IVRS is currently at 71.9% compared to last year's 53.7%. Last wee, the system was at 71.2%, recording an increase of 0.7% this week. The system consists of 14 dams which supply Gauteng. The Vaal dam has notched an increase from 79.4% last week to 80.5% this week. Despite the recent changes for the better in local weather conditions, the Department of Water and Sanitation regards the recent downpoars as a relief after Gauteng dams consistently went down week-on-week. With the prospect of consumers increasing in the province during the festive season, the department called on the public to use every opportunity to conserve water and reminded them that the country is still very much feeling the impact of drought. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Bushveld Minerals completes acquisition of BVL - Megan van Wyngaardt () 22/12/17 07:57:00

BUSHVELD MINERALS has completed its acquisition of 55% of BUSHVELD VAMETCO by issuing 54.76m new ordinary shares to YELLOW DRAGON HOLDINGS. "We are delighted to have completed this acquisition before the end of the year. VAMETCO has, to date, illustrated its strong cash generation capability and, with the expansion initiatives underway, the drive towards a lower cost base ... ensures the transaction is value accretive to our shareholders. We go into 2018 in a strong position and look forward to the future with confidence", BUSHVELD CEO FORTUNE MOJAPELO said. The company earlier this month made an $11.1m offer to acquire all the shares it did not already own in BVL. The acquisition was settled through a cash payment of $4.5m and the issue of shares in BUSHVELD at 9.06pps, representing 6.43%. In addition, two deferred payments of $600 000 each would still be made, payable following publication of the accounts for VAMETCO HOLDINGS in Dec. 2018 and 2019. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Agnico Eagle strengthens development pipeline with Canadian exploration assets acquisition - Henry Lazenby () 22/12/17 07:57:00

AGNICO EAGLE has agreed to buy a suite of Canadian exploration assets from the 50/50-owned and operated AGNICO/YAMANA GOLD JV CANADIAN MALARTIC CORPORATION, the parties announced yesterday. AGNICO will pay $162.5m in cash for the deal that is being structured as an asset deal, whereby AGNICO will acquire YAMANA's indirect 50% stake in the Canadian exploration assets of CMC, giving it 100% ownership of CMC's interest in the assets on closing of the deal, slated for Mar. 2018. The suite of exploration assets includes the advanced Kirkland Lake and Hammond Reef gold projects. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Premier nets 52% of Talhado for R100m - Sizwe Dlamini (PFB) 22/12/17 07:57:00

PREMIER FISHING has acquired a controlling 52.51% stake in TALHADO FISHING GROUP, the largest squid player in this sector of the fishing industry, for R101m. The acquisition is one of the largest made by PREMIER and a "significant strategic value-add to the group". CEO SAMIR SABAN said the deal would lead to further synergies among the existing operations and enhance value to PREMIER shareholders. "TALHADO has a solid asset base in the squid sector and benefits are expected to be realised in the short to medium term, which will lead to additional efficiencies within the existing operations and the overall group", SABAN added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Wiese sells part of Shoprite stake - Tiisetso Motsoeneng (SHP) 22/12/17 07:57:00

CHRISTO WIESE has sold an additional R1.1bn of shares in SHOPRITE after his exposure to STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL dented his fortune. More than $14bn of shareholder value has been wiped off STEINHOFF over the past three weeks after the company discovered what it called accounting irregularities and parted company with CEO MARKUS JOOSTE. The 90% collapse hit WIESE's wealth - estimated by Forbes magazine to have dropped to below $1bn - the hardest as he is the largest STEINHOFF shareholder with a stake of around 20%. Exchange filings show WIESE sold 5m shares at an average price of R221.50 each in SHOPRITE. That brings the money he has raised since Dec. 14 from the sale of SHOPRITE stock to R3.3bn. It is unclear what he would be using the money for and his office did not respond to a request for comment. STEINHOFF shares fell a further 11% yesterday, extending the decline to the second day after the company said some lenders have started restricting access to credit lines. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Eskom delays interim results announcement - Tanisha Heiberg () 22/12/17 07:57:00

ESKOM yesterday said it will postpone its interim results announcement until early next year. The utility said it needed time for its newly-appointed board to review financials and to study the impact of a new electricity tariff increase. It did not give a specific date for the release of the results. NERSA last week granted ESKOM a 5.23% electricity tariff hike, much lower than the 19.9% the utility had requested. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Tsingtao drops after Fosun buys stake from Asahi - Alice Woodhouse () 21/12/17 11:15:00

China's TSINGTAO BREWERY lost some of its fizz in Hong Kong this morning after FOSUN INTERNATIONAL bought a stake in the company for HK$6.6bn from Japan's ASAHI. The brewer said FOSUN had agreed to buy an 18% stake from ASAHI for $846m making it the company's second-largest shareholder. The sale price of HK$27.22/share represented a 32% discount to TSINGTAO's closing price on Wednesday. FOSUN controls CIRQUE DU SOLEIL and CLUB MED. TSINGTAO shares in Hong Kong were down 4.5% in early morning trading, after falling as much as 7% at the open. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Noble creditors allow more time on debt restructure - Don Weinland () 21/12/17 11:15:00

NOBLE GROUP today said its creditors had given it more breathing room to restructure its debts by granting it a waiver that extended financial covenants on a credit facility until next May. The company did not specify the size of the unsecured revolving credit facility that has been extended but said that the talk continued. "Whilst no assurance can be given as to the outcome of these discussions, the Company believes that these are open and constructive, and are moving foward", NOBLE said in a filing to the Singapore stock exchange. As of last month, NOBLE had $380m of bonds maturing in Mar. followed by a $1.1bn bank loan that it must either repay or refinance in May. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Updated market indicators for 08/11/2017 () 21/12/17 11:15:00

At 11h15 on 08 November 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.70 ZAR/EUR 15.08 ZAR/GBP 16.98 Gold 1265.24 Platinum 913.00 Brent Crude Oil 64.01 All Share 58141.89


BoJ keeps monetary policy on hold - Alice Woodhouse () 21/12/17 10:48:00

The Bank of japan voted to hold monetary policy steady today as it forecast the country's economy will continue its "moderate expansion". The central bank said overnight interest rates will remain steady at -0.1%. It maintained its yield target for 10-year Japanese government bonds at around zero percent and said it will continue to purchase JGBs at "more or less the current pace" of Y80tn/year. The central bank said it expects domestic demand to grow and exports to "continue their moderate increasing trend on the bank of the growth in overseas economies". It forecast that CPI will "continue on an uptrend and increase towards 2%". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Fitch upgrades Indonesia rating to BBB - Alice Woodhouse () 21/12/17 10:48:00

FITCH has raised its rating for Indonesia by one level citing stronger resilience to external shocks and economic policies designed to maintain stability. It upgraded Indonesia's long-term foreign and local-currency-denominated debt by one notch to BBB from BBB- previously. "Monetary policy has been sufficiently disciplined to limit bouts of volatile capital outflows during challenging periods. Macro-prudential measures have helped curb a sharp rise in corporate external debt, while financial deepening has coincided with improved market stability. The focus on macro stability is also evident in credible budget assumptions in the previous few years", FITCH said. The upgrade meant Indonesia's sovereign bonds were rated at investment grade by all three major credit ratings agencies for the first time since the Asian financial crisis. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US crude stocks slide sharply, gasoline gains - Jessica Dye () 21/12/17 10:48:00

Stockpiles of US crude oil fell more sharply than expected while those for gasoline rose, and the data helped siphon off earlier gains from the US oil benchmark. Data from the Energy Information Administration showed that US crude oil inventories fell by 6.5m barrels in the week ending Dec. 15, compared to expectations for a smaller 3.7m barrel draw. Gasoline stocks grew by 1.2m barrels, less than the 1.89m that analysts were looking for. Inventories of distillates grew by 0.8m barrels, defying expectations for a 870 000 barrel draw. WTI gave up some of its earlier gains after the data release, falling from $57.67 to $57.62 a barrel, according to Factset. Brent was steady at $63.98/barrel. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Regulators to look at cryptocurrency rules - Carney - Caroline Binham () 21/12/17 10:48:00

Bank of England governor and head of the G20's Financial Stability Board, MARK CARNEY, has said that global rule-makers will examine digital currencies, given their explosion in popularity over the last year. CARNEY told the Treasury Select Committee he expected the FSB to discuss distributed-ledger technology, which underpins cryptocurrencies, and digital currencies themselves. He added that a tightening up of the rules around initial coin offerings was necessary. The Financial Conduct Authority said last week it would undertake a deep dive around ICOs as a prelude to potentially more regulatory action. While countries like China have banned ICOs, the UK has allowed them but has warned investors of their risks. ICOs work by a company issuing tokens, typically in exchange for a cryptocurrency such as Ethereum. Tokens can be used to buy future services from the issuer or can be sold on. This year there have been 234 ICOs so far, raising a total of $3.7bn, according to data from COINSCHEDULE, an ICO information provider. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Banks win last-minute reprieve on key part of Mifid rules - Hannah Murphy () 21/12/17 10:48:00

European market authorities have granted banks and their clients an extra six months to comply with rules - due to come into force in Jan. - that require them to have individual reference numbers in order to continue trading. Under forthcoming Mifid II regulation, all market participants will need their own unique alphanumeric code, known as a Legal entity Identified. The 11th-hour reprieve comes after the FT last week reported that banks were pushing for concessions because as many as 20% of their clients still did not have LEIs. This would mean investors could be locked out of deals from the start of 2018. The European Securities and Markets Authority yesterday said banks and brokers could apply for an LEI on a client's behalf in order to continue with trades, while trading venues could use their own LEI codes for non-EU issuers that don't have their own. "In the last weeks, ESMA and national competent authorities learn that not all investment firms will succeed in obtaining LEI codes from all their clients" ahead of the Jan. 3 deadline, ESMA said. The grace period would "support the smooth introduction of the LEI requirements", it added. The UK's financial watchdog said it would amend its own rules to accommodate ESMA's temporary changes, but would be unable to do so by Jan. 3. Mifid II has already been postponed by a year due to a lack of preparedness by some market participants. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Global disaster costs more than double to $136bn in 2017 - Oliver Ralph () 21/12/17 10:48:00

Natural and man-made disasters caused $136bn of insured losses in 2017, the third highest on record, according to new estimates from SWISS RE. The reinsurance group said the 2017 total would be over double the 2016 figure and well above the 10-year average of $58bn. Many of this year's losses have come from the Americas, where insurers have been hit with claims from hurricanes in the Caribbean and southern US, earthquakes in Mexico and wildfires in California. Total economic losses from disasters this year are estimated at $306bn, according to SWISS RE, also well above the 10-year average of $190bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Uber faces tougher regulation after ECJ rules it is a transport service - Mehreen Khan () 21/12/17 10:48:00

The EU's highest court has ruled that UBER is a transport company, in a decision that opens the US ride-hailing app to tougher national regulations in Europe's 28 member states. In a long-awaited judgment, the European Court of Justice said UBER operated in the EU like a traditional taxi firm, shifting its legal status from a digital company and giving it less freedom from regulation in the EU's single market. The final ruling from Luxembourg judges, which cannot be appealed, follows a preliminary ECJ opinion earlier this year that said UBER was more than a "mere intermediary" for customers trying to hail a cab, despite its use of mobile technology. The ECJ's judges said UBER "must be classified as 'a service in the field of transport' within the meaning of EU law... Member States can therefore regulate the conditions for providing that service". Yesterday's judgment means the EU's 28 governments are free to impose tougher transport regulations on UBER, forcing it to comply with rules like any other mini-cab or taxi firm in Europe. The court also found that UBER was "indispensable for both the drivers and the persons who wish to make an urban journey". UBER "exercises decisive influence over the conditions under which the drivers provide their service", the judges said. A spokesperson for UBER said: "This ruling will not change thins in most EU countries where we already operate under transportation law. However, millions of Europeans are still prevented from using apps like ours". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Tesco-Booker merger wins final approval from CMA - Nicholas Megaw () 21/12/17 10:48:00

Competition authorities have confirmed their approval for TESCO's £3.7bn takeover of food wholesaler BOOKER, despite criticism that the deal could force smaller rivals out of business. SIMON POLITO, chair of the Competition and Markets Authority's inquiry group, said "we have carefully listened to feedback from retailers and wholesalers", but added that the retail and wholesale sectors are "highly competitive" and "we are confident that this will continue after TESCO buys BOOKER". A group of seven of BOOKER's largest rivals argued the deal should be blocked as the enlarged company could use its power to raise prices or reduce service quality for rival retailers, and pay low prices to food producers. But the CMA said "existing strong competition in wholesale and retail made this unlikely", arguing that "most shops use more than one wholesaler and frequently switch". TESCO and BOOKER both welcomed the news and said they expect shareholder meetings to approve the deal will take place in late Feb. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Billion Group to spend R6bn on property projects in 2018 - Alistair Anderson () 21/12/17 10:48:00

BILLION GROUP has unveiled plans for an aggressive roll-out of R6bn worth of projects in 2018, which will include its first casino. The focus will continue to be on developing the Forest hill node in Centurion, but the company also has projects in the Eastern Cape and North West. Projects included the expansion of four existing shopping mall precincts to include residential and office components, as well as a casino and entertainment complex. Some old office blocks in the City of Cape Town would be converted into luxury residential apartments. The expansion at Forest Hill will take the form of 14 000m² of office space, followed by the construction of 340 residential apartments. Also among the proposed new investments are 580 residential units in the Baywater City precinct in Nelson Mandela Bay, which is anchored by the 90 000m² super-regional Baywest Mall, as well as a 320-unit residential apartment development in the Hemingways Mall precinct in East London. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Trustco sells big diamond - Robert Laing (TTO) 21/12/17 10:48:00

Namibian investment holding company TRUSTCO today said it had sold the 29th-largest diamond ever discovered for $16.5m. On Nov. 10, TRUSTCO announced its 51%-owned subsidiary MEYA MINING had discovered a 477ct diamond in the Kono district of Sierra Leone. The Meya Prosperity Diamond had been sold to an unnamed "first-tier global jewellery brand" which had agreed to pay an additional bonus to the $16.5m price if the largest polished stone cut from the rough diamond is graded "D flawless". TRUSTCO also said it had recovered 3 333.23ct from the first 5 162t of kimberlite processed from its Meya River project. This included the giant 477ct stone. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Mnangagwa vows to get Zim's economy back on track - Kudzie Sharara () 21/12/17 08:22:00

Zimbabwean President EMMERSON MNANGAGWA has undertaken during his first State of the Nation Address to introduce pro-business policies to attract investment and revive the ailing economy. He reiterated his inauguration message saying his government is doing everything in its power to make sure the country is conducive for business. MNANGAGWA said his government is carrying out a comprehensive review in the harmonisation of investment laws and policies to boost the drive for foreign direct investment. He added that his government will soon unveil a robust engagement and re-engagement programme with the international community in its continued bid to rejoin the community of nations. "My government is committed to open Zimbabwe up to investment by building a free, and transparent economy which benefits Zimbabweans and is welcoming to outsiders... A full programme of the reforms shall be unveiled during the first quarter of 2018". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


ANC sticks to policy decision to nationalise SARB - Lameez Omarjee () 21/12/17 08:22:00

The ANC has resolved that the SARB should be nationalised and the existing structure of private shareholders within the central bank should be done away with. In June/July, the 5th ANC policy conference resolved that the central bank should be nationalised and have greater interaction with the Minister of Finance. SARB governor LESETJA KGANYAGO at the time said shareholders receive nominal returns and have no say over monetary policy. He cautioned that it will be costly for the state to buy out individual shareholders. ENOCH GODONGWANA, chair of the ANC's Economic Transformation Committee, didn't give a timeline for the policy change to come into effect. He assured that the ruling party "will not change the mandate of the Reserve Bank". Even if the SARB's shareholding had to change, its mandate is still determined by the Constitution. "A mandate it must carry without bowing to any pressure, whether it be political of from the private sector". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


ANC reaches resolution on land reform - Lameez Omarjee () 21/12/17 08:22:00

The ANC has resolved to amend the Constitution to achieve land expropriation without compensation. ENOCH GODONGWANA, chair of the ruling party's economic transformation committee, labelled it a "contentious issue" and said that the resolution has a condition that it be enforced sustainably. "The final conclusion that we agreed the national executive committee will initiate some amendments in the constitution's section 25 to achieve expropriation without compensation. For that to happen it must be sustainable", GODONGWANA said, adding that this means it must not impact on agricultural production, food security and other sectors of the economy. He said no timelines have been put in place for implementation, or the amendment of the Constitution. Political economy analyst DANIEL SILKE said the announcement is an attempt to bridge deep political divisions within the ANC. SILKE said issues surrounding both the ANC's plans for land expropriation and the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank pointed to an attempt to "manage the deep political divisions and polarisation that exist in the ANC right now". "Ideology certainly is again trumping practicality when it comes to some of these suggestions, but it is ultimately exactly the kind of 'messiness' that we should be avoiding as a country", SILKE noted. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


EPP share price falls after arrest of non-executive director - Jan Cronje (EPP) 21/12/17 08:22:00

The share price of ECHO POLSKA PROPERTIES fell by 20% yesterday after news broke that one of its non-executive directors, PRZEMYSLAW KRYCH, had been "detained" in Poland. EPP said KRYCH had been detained at the order of the regional prosecutor's office in the city of Katowice. The company said it did not know on what grounds he had been detained "as it is a matter being heard behind closed doors". It added that it could not say whether the matter is related to EPP. EPP later in the day said KRYCH has "in the best interests of the company" resigned as a non-executive director with immediate effect. EPP shares were trading at R16.66 at 10:55 yesterday morning. They fell by 20% on news of KRYCH's arrest. By 16:00, they were changing hands at R13.50. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Strike looms at Shoprite Checkers just before Christmas - Yolandi Groenewald (SHP) 21/12/17 08:22:00

SHOPRITE and CHECKERS are due to be hit by nationwide strikes on one of the busiest shopping days before Christmas. Trade union SACCAWU and COSATU on Tuesday announced that 30 000 workers were planning to down tools at the supermarkets on Friday. The planned one-day nationwide strike will include marches and protests across the country, COSATU spokesperson SIZWE PAMLA said, adding that the strike was protected. Workers are demanding a reversal of changes to working hours, the reinstatement of Sandton CHECKERS employees who were dismissed for protesting against these changes, safe transport for workers who work night shifts, and a guaranteed number of minimum working hours for part-time workers. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Now Steinhoff faces German investor lawsuit - Jan Cronje (SNH) 21/12/17 08:22:00

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL is now facing a German investor lawsuit after losing more than 85% of its market cap in two weeks. The suit was filed by German law firm TILP in Frankfurt on Tuesday. STEINHOFF has a primary listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. In a media statement TILP said that since Dec. 5 STEINHOFF has lost over €10bn in market capitalisation, and as a result its shares were now trading as "penny stocks". The firm said it was of the legal opinion that STEINHOFF made itself liable for damages after providing its shareholders with incomplete market information. This after the company on Dec. 6 said it had red-flagged "accounting irregularities requiring further investigation" in its books. Its share price tanked following that announcement. TILP noted that, as STEINHOFF was listed on the Frankfurt bourse, it fell under German financial rules. "Incorrect financials do not happen by accident", TILP MD ANDREAS TILP said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Glencore, Apollo said to bid for Rio's last coal assets - Brett Foley, Bloomberg (GLN) 21/12/17 08:22:00

GLENCORE and a group led by APOLLO GLOBAL MANAGEMENT are among bidders set to be shortlisted for the sale of RIO TINTO's last remaining coal mines, which may fetch more than $1.5bn, sources said. WHITEHAVEN COAL and SOUTH32 also made indicative offers for the Hail Creek and Kestrel mines by the deadline this month. The parties, which also include EMR CAPITAL ADVISORS, are preparing to enter the second round of the sale process, which will include management presentations and site visits, before deciding on final bids. A sale would allow RIO to complete its exit from coal and continue an asset divestment programme that has returned more than $7bn since 2013. New York-based APOLLO is bidding with XCOAL ENERGY & RESOURCES and CANADA PENSION PLAN INVESTMENT BOARD, sources said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Steinhoff's market cap a mere R20bn as shares drop another 30% - Jan Cronje (SNH) 21/12/17 08:22:00

A day after its senior executives met with global lenders to try and assure them it is fundamentally a sound company, the share price of STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL dropped some 30% in early trade on Wednesday, reaching levels last seen around 17 years ago. When trading started on the JSE at 09:00, STEINHOFF shares were changing hands at R6.36. By 11:33 they were trading at R4.86, from an intraday low of R4.50. This took the company's market cap to R20.9bn, a shadow of the close to R200bn it was just two weeks ago. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


ANC wants regulated streaming - Kyle Venktess () 21/12/17 08:22:00

The ANC has listed an "ANC TV" media asset, the need to develop a regulatory framework for streaming services and an automation of government services as part of its objectives. These were tabled in the ANC's Gauteng Provincial General Council report released at the party's 54tn elective conference. The party said it would deploy "capable cadres" to the SABC board to win the trust of professionals and develop hegemony, and have ownership over a media asset such as the ANC TV. "The ANC must have strategic ownership of media assets, including ANC TV, which would enable us to tell our own stories. This will help us in developing our own narrative. This also allows for the positioning of the parliamentary channel as a civic education tool, on free to air channel", the Provincial General Council said. Within the ICT section of the report, the ruling party said that a priority would be the finalisation of the licensing of the POST BANK, the integration of the Film Publication Board and ICASA into one regulatory body and the development of cybersecurity measures to tackle fake news. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


AfDB to support Moz rail project - Megan van Wyngaardt () 21/12/17 08:22:00

The African Development Bank is taking the lead in facilitating the takeoff of one of Africa's largest infrastructure projects - the $5bn Nacala corridor rail and port project, supporting the project with $300m from its private sector window. After years of financial structuring, a signing ceremony presided over by Mozambican Economy and Finance Minister ADRIANO MALEIANE, Transport and Communications Minister CARLOS MESQUITA, and Energy and Natural Resources Minister LAETICIA KLEMENS in Maputo marked the formal signing of the project deal. The project will provide a 912km rail line from the Tete province to the Nacala port on the eastern coast of the country, through Malawi. The project also includes the construction of a deep sea port and associated terminal infrastructure at Nacala. When the rail comes into full operation, coal exports will increase by 40% in 2018 and generate crucial foreign earnings for the Mozambique economy at a time the country is witnessing a cyclical downturn. The project anticipates 4mt/year of freight capacity for non-coal commodities, and opening up regional agricultural producers to global markets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Distell to sell cognac business in R800m deal - Megan van Wyngaardt (DST) 21/12/17 07:17:00

DISTELL yesterday entered into a definitive agreement to sell its cognac business, BISQUIT DUBOUCHE ET CIE, to Italian branded beverage company CAMPARI GROUP for an enterprise value of €2.5m, or R800m. The disposal is expected to close during Q1 2018. Under the terms of the deal, CAMPARI will acquire all the shares in BISQUIT, existing stock, maturing inventory, trademarks and production facilities including warehouses, blending cellars and a bottling plant of the entity. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Global copper deficit grows to 181 000t during first nine months of 2017 - Henry Lazenby () 21/12/17 07:17:00

The global copper supply deficit has grown to 181 000t during the first three quarters of 2017. According to the latest assessment conducted by the International Copper Study Group, stagnant refined copper supplies, in combination with strong Chinese apparent usage in Sep., conspired to lift the deficit from an estimated 160 000t for the first even months of the year. The ICSG estimates that global mine output has slowed 2.5% in the period to end-Sep. to 14 709t of copper, as Chile saw a 4% decline in output following a strike at the Escondida mine and lower output from CODELCO mines. Refined output grew by a meagre 0.5% to 17 495t, which matched a 0.5% increase in global apparent demand at 17 676t. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Fairvest to acquire control of Diepkloor properties - Roy Cokayne (FVT) 21/12/17 07:17:00

FAIRVEST had agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Bara Precinct, which owns several properties in Diepkloof collectively valued at R322.43m. The company said the acquisition was in line with its strategy of acquiring assets servicing the lower living standards measure market located in non-metropolitan areas and rural, convenience and community shopping centres located in high-growth nodes, closer to commuter networks, with a view to providing shareholders with attractive returns and distinctive diversified opportunities. The properties in the Bara Precinct included in the deal are a mix of freehold and leasehold properties, and the transaction involves the BUFFET GROUP. FAIRVEST would subscribe for Bara Precinct A-shares and own 50.17% of all the Bara Precinct shares in issue. NEWCO, which together with BARAPROP INVESTMENTS, BUFFSHELFCO 40 and Bara Precinct all form part of the BUFFET GROUP, would acquire Bara Precinct shares and own 49.73% of all the Bara Precinct shares in issue. The subscription consideration due by FAIRVEST was expected to amount to R82.54m and that of NEWCO to about R81.9m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ethiopia signs $4bn deal to build 1 000MW geothermal power plants - Aaron Maasho () 21/12/17 07:17:00

Ethiopia has signed an agreement to build two geothermal power plants at a combined cost of $4bn, to be run by the country's first privately-owned utility. The Corbetti and Tulu Moye plants will produce a combined 1 000MW of power upon completion in eight years' time in the Rift Valley. "No doubt the success of this effort will have a significant impact in the country's future economic well-being", said AZEB ASNAKE, CEo of ETHIOPIAN ELECTRIC POWER. The project's equity investors include the Paris-based asset manager MERIDIAM, as well as the AFRICA RENEWABLE ENERGY FUND and INFRACO AFRICA - funds that focus on infrastructure. As Ethiopia's first privately-owned utility, the project will be operated by the developers for a period of 25 years. Under a new 2015-2020 development plan, Addis Ababa wants to raise power generation to 17 346MW from a current capacity of just over 4 300MW from hydropower, wind and geothermal sources. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Chad, Glencore talks to renegotiate loan fail again - Julia Payne (GLN) 21/12/17 07:17:00

A delegation from Chad and GLENCORE failed to reach a deal to restructure a more than $1bn oil-backed loan after another round of talks in Paris that ended this week, a source said. GLENCORE loaned Chad's state oil firm SHT about $1.45bn in 2014 to be repaid with crude oil. The loan was restructured once in 2015 after the crash in global oil prices, but Chad is struggling to repay the debt and funds from the IMF hang upon reaching new terms. Chad began the latest round of talks with GLENCORE and other lending banks last week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Sudan cabinet targets 4% growth in 2018 - Khalid Abdelaziz () 21/12/17 07:17:00

Sudan hopes to see its economy grow by 4% in 2018, down from a projected 6.4% for 2017, the cabinet said after it approved next year's budget proposal. The government is targeting a sharp fall in inflation from 34.1% to 19.5%, a cabinet spokesperson said. External debt is expected to reach $54.1bn in 2017 and $56.5bn in 2018, an IMF report said earlier in Dec. But Sudan is hoping to decrease its trade balance deficit in 2018 to $2.2bn, down from a projected deficit of $2.7bn in 2017. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Sonangol says settled dispute with Cobalt International Energy - Stephen Eisenhammer () 21/12/17 07:17:00

SONANGOL yesterday said it had settled all disputes with COBALT INTERNATIONAL ENERGY and would pay the US firm $500m for its stakes in two offshore oil blocks. COBALT had filed arbitration requests in May seeking in excess of $2bn due to the impact of failed extension talks on its attempts to sell offshore blocks 20 and 21 in Angola. SONANGOL said it would pay $150m by Feb. 23 and a further $350m by Jul. 1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Angola sovereign fund reports $40.5m profit in Q3 - Claire Milhench () 21/12/17 07:17:00

Angola's sovereign wealth fund made a profit of $40.5m in Q3, it said yesterday, attributing it to a good performance in its bonds and securities investments. The fund, which launched in Oct. 2012 and is known by its Portuguese acronym FSDEA, said however its total asset value was $5.03bn at the end of Q3, down from $5.05bn in Q2. In a statement, the fund said its investments in bonds and securities had generated a gross margin of $117.5m in Q3. It allocates over a third of its portfolio to T-bills, high grade bonds, listed equities, derivatives, currencies and other securities. The remaining two-thirds is committed to alternative or private equity investments in emerging and frontier markets, in areas such as infrastructure, agriculture, timber and healthcare. These private equity funds have invested $489.9m in Angola and sub-Saharan Africa, and have a current reported value of $884.5m. Some 48% of the total portfolio is dedicated to assets in SSA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Investors fear S African market euphoria is overdone - Karin Strohecker () 21/12/17 07:17:00

CYRIL RAMAPHOSA needs to fix a sluggish economy and a deeply divided society. Market euphoria after his election may not reflect the looming slog, fund managers say. Monday's outcome was widely expected - the rand rallied 7% against the dollar since Thursday, while government bond yields fell 58 bps over the same period. Credit default swaps are down around 16 bps since end-Thursday. RAMAPHOSA is considered an improvement on scandal-mired JACOB ZUMA, but the good news seems already in the price - a CDS-based model by S&P CAPITAL shows South African foreign debt priced in line with its rating for the first time in two-and-a-half years following the ratings cut in late Nov. Many reckon the market reaction is overdone. JPMORGAN analysts see the rand now at 9%-11% "rich", based on recent moves in other emerging market currencies as well as weaker prices for gold and platinum. "If you look at local (bond) markets, I'd say the market relief was probably not justified by fundamentals. The structural weakness is very entrenched and won't go away easily", said ANDERS FAERGEMANN, senior portfolio manager at PINEBRIDGE INVESTMENTS. Problems including tepid growth, a 28% jobless rate, rising government spending and capital shortfalls could lead to policy paralysis "and that is the real risk", FAERGEMANN added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 21/12/2017 () 21/12/17 07:17:00

At 07h17 on 21 December 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.74 ZAR/EUR 15.12 ZAR/GBP 17.03 Gold 1267.36 Platinum 917.50 Brent Crude Oil 64.01 All Share 58032.09


Japan Display shares jump on reports of Chinese investment talks - Peter Wells () 20/12/17 08:45:00

Shares in APPLE screen supplier JAPAN DISPLAY rose more than 6% today following a media report the company was in talks with three Chinese panel makers over a Y200bn investment. JAPAN DISPLAY has been working toward delivering a turnaround plan by the end of its FY in March that could include accepting capital from outside investors. China's BOE TECHNOLOGY, SHENZHEN CHINA STAR OPTOELECTRONICS TECHNOLOGY and TIANMA MICROELECTRONICS were in talks to make a Y200bn investment, Kyodo News reported. JAPAN DISPLAY's finances came under pressure last year due to a slump in iPhone sales and a stronger yen, ultimately leading to it clinching $640m in financial aid from INNOVATION NETWORK CORPORATION OF JAPAN, a government-backed fund often called upon to bail out struggling manufacturers. A new ownership structure would pave the way for INCJ to gradually trim its 36% stake in JAPAN DISPLAY. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


ETFs to be included in China-HK stock connects in 2018 - Alice Woodhouse () 20/12/17 08:45:00

Exchange traded funds will be included in the China-Hong Kong stock connect programmes by the end of 2018, according to Hong Kong media reports quoting the chair of the Hong Kong securities regulator. Sing Tao Daily today reported that Securities and Futures Commission chair CARLSON TONG said the trading volume through the Shanghai-HK and Shenzhen-HK stock connects had continued to rise and that the next step to extending the programmes was to include ETFs. TONG said messages received from the China Securities Regulatory Commission suggested such a move would not be far away. After the inclusion of ETFs, a study will be conducted to incorporate index futures, TONG added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


FedEx sees strong start to holiday season - Pan Kwan Yuk () 20/12/17 08:45:00

FEDEX has become the latest company to praise President DONALD TRUMP's tax reform plan, saying the proposed bill could boost its FY earnings by as much as $5.50/diluted share. The company said a reduction in the main US federal corporate tax to 21% from 35% could increase earnings by $4.40-$5.50/share for the current FY to end-May. "We are on track for another record holiday-shipping season", CEO FREDERICK SMITH said. FEDEX said it now expects FY2018 earnings excluding pension adjustments to come in at $11.45 to $12.05 per share. That is up from the $11.05-$11.85/share range it gave in Sep. The guidance change was given alongside FEDEX's Q2 results. For the quarter to end-Nov., revenue was up more than 9% to $16.3bn, easily topping analysts' forecasts of $15.7bn. Net income came in at $775m, or $2.84/share compared to $700m or $2.59/share y/y. Adjusted for one-off items, net income was $3.18/shaer, compared to expectations of $2.88/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


UK banks get deadline extension for 'open banking' reforms - Martin Arnold () 20/12/17 08:45:00

Five of the UK's biggest high street banks have been granted more time to comply with "open banking" regulation after they appealed for a delay to the Jan. deadline for opening up their customers' data and accounts. BARCLAYS, ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND, HSBC, SANTANDER and BANK OF IRELAND told the Competition and Markets Authority that they could not release all the data needed on their customers in the timeframe required by the new law. The delays range from a few weeks for BARCLAYS, HSBC and RBS, to several months for BOI and a year for SANTANDER's CATER ALLEN private banking unit. The reform means banks must, with customers' consent, open up archives of spending data collected over many years and provide other companies with access to the data as well as the ability to facilitate payments from their accounts. The idea is to allow companies to offer superior banking services to customers, intertwined with their own activities, such as online shopping. In total, nine UK banks were required to comply with the law by Jan. 13. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Senate passes US tax bill - Barney Jopson () 20/12/17 08:45:00

DONALD TRUMP was one round of voting away from the biggest victory of his presidency this morning after the Senate passed a landmark plan for the most radical tax overhaul in a generation. The bill now needs to be approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday before being signed into law by TRUMP. In a vote after midnight interrupted by anti-bill protesters, the Senate passed the bill by 51 to 48 with every Republican voting for it, except JOHN MCCAIN who was absent due to ill health, and the Democrats united in opposition against it. The plan delivers a generous, permanent tax cut to corporations and more modest, temporary reductions to individuals. Republicans say it will leave more money for middle-class families, but Democrats say it is a handout to the rich and powerful. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Universal Music, YouTube signal truce with license agreement - Anna Nicolaou () 20/12/17 08:45:00

UNIVERSAL MUSIC and YOUTUBE have struck a fresh multi-year licensing agreement, marking a truce between the record label and GOOGLE after a years-long battle over payments. Under the new deal YOUTUBE will pay UNIVERSAL MUSIC more in exchange for its copyrights. UMG CEO LUCIAN GRAINGE said the deal provides "growing compensation from YOUTUBE's ad-supported and paid-subscription tiers, while also furthering YOUTUBE's commitment to manage music rights on its platform". The deal with UNIVERSAL should help YOUTUBE as it works to overhaul its subscription services and convince more people to pay for music on the site, where the vast majority of videos are viewed for free. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SEC suspends trading in Crypto Company - Pan Kwan Yuk () 20/12/17 08:45:00

US financial regulators have temporarily suspended trading in shares of CRYPTO COMPANY, a penny stock that has seen its value skyrocket to over $11bn over the past month. The US Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday said it has concerns over "the accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace about, among other things, the compensation paid for promotion of the company, and statements in Commission filings about the plans of the company's insiders to sell their shares of THE CRYPTO COMPANY's common stock... Questions have also arisen concerning potentially manipulative transactions in the company's stock in November 2017". Based in California, CRYPTO CO. describes itself as a company that "offers a portfolio of digital assets, technologies, and consulting services to the blockchain and cryptocurrency markets". The stock, traded over the counter, was trading at between a penny and five cents a share until late Sep., when its value began to climb exponentially. The shares hit a high of $642 earlier this month and were trading at $575 on Monday before the SEC issued the temporary suspension. The temporary suspension is in place until Jan. 3. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Steinhoff shares sink as it says lenders are pulling support - Mamta Badkar (SNH) 20/12/17 07:58:00

STEINHOFF has said it can not provide details of the magnitude of its accounting irregularities, and its lenders are cutting support, sending its shared swooning again. Its Frankfurt-listed shares were down 15% after the company said it could not provide any updates on when it would be able to publish audited results for 2017 and restated results for 2016. In a presentation on its website, STEINHOFF said its credit facilities are "increasingly being suspended or withdrawn by lenders" and asked for continued support from creditors and shareholders to "maintain stability". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


LSE chair wins battle against activist attempt to oust him - Philip Stafford () 20/12/17 07:58:00

Shareholders in the LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE GROUP have backed chairperson DONALD VRYDON against efforts by THE CHILDREN'S INVESTMENT FUND to remove him in one of the UK's most high-profile corporate governance battles. At an extraordinary meeting in London yesterday, just over 79% of shareholders who voted supported BRYDON, while 20% voted for his removal. The meeting was called by TCI, a 5% shareholder, which was frustrated with BRYDON's handling of the departure of former CEO XAVIER ROLET. ROLET stepped down at end-Nov., a year earlier than planned, while BRYDON is due to leave at the AGM in 2019. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


German cartel office warns Facebook over personal data collection - Mehreen Khan () 20/12/17 07:58:00

Germany's competition authority has warned FACEBOOK is collecting and transferring data in an "abusive" way from third parties outside its social network. In a preliminary ruling, Germany's cartel office (FCO) said FACEBOOK was abusing its "market dominant" position in the country and warned over the mass collection of private data carried that risked violating the EU's tough laws on privacy. FACEBOOK has been under scrutiny in Europe over its privacy parctices and is facing an ECJ ruling over its ability to transfer personal data from the EU to the US. Earlier this week, FACEBOOK was warned by France's data protection watchdog that its data sharing with WHATSAPP risked falling foul of French privacy laws. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


UK retirees benefit while workers' living standards fall - ONS - Nicholas Megaw () 20/12/17 07:58:00

Living standards in the UK have come under strain this year as the weak pound drives up inflation, but younger households have been losing out for more than a decade, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics. The ONS' Household Costs Indices show that average disposable incomes for working-age households grew just 26% between 2006 and 2016, while costs rose by 27%. Retired households saw their disposable income grow almost twice as fast, with a 49% increase, allowing higher living standards as costs increased just 32%. While the generational gulf appeared to widen over the period, the data also suggested some positive progress in addressing income inequality. Costs for poorer households rose faster than for higher-income households, but poorer households made up for the highest costs with stronger income growth. That said, the pattern was helped by a particularly sharp rise in income for poorer households in the 2015/16 FY, the last year covered by the data. The ONS said "given this pattern has only been seen at one time point it is difficult to discern whether this is a trend in the data or a temporary divergence in the figures". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


German businesses 'no longer quite as euphoric' - Ifo - Katie Martin () 20/12/17 07:58:00

The Ifo think-tank yesterday said its German business climate index has slipped very slightly to 117.2 in Dec., down from 117.6 in Nov. The expectations index stumbled to 109.5, from 111 previously. "German businesses are full of festive spirits", Ifo said, adding: "Sentiment among German businesses is excellent ahead of Christmas, but no longer quite as euphoric as last month. This was due to less optimistic business expectations. Assessments of the current business situation, by contrast, were more positive this month". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ola snaps up Foodpanda's Indian ops - Amy Kazmin (NPN) 20/12/17 07:58:00

OLA, India's home-grown ride hailing app, has acquired the Indian operations of DELIVERY HERO's FOODPANDA, the online food ordering and delivery service, in exchange for an unspecified number of its own shares. OLA said it was committed to investing $200m to expand FOODPANDA's India business to take advantage of the market's growth potential. DELIVERY HERO will hold a stake in OLA, which is backed by SOFTBANK and TIGER GLOBAL and is fighting against UBER for dominance of the Indian market. DELIVERY HERO said the partnership with OLA is part of its efforts to "consolidate markets where it strategically makes sense to collaborate with leading local players". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nedbank CEO tells Ramaphosa 'I'm at your disposal' - Fin24 (NED) 20/12/17 07:58:00

NEDBANK CEO MIKE BROWN has thrown his full weight behind ANC president CYRIL RAMAPHOSA. BROWN said in an open letter to the new ANC president that his team was looking forward to engaging with him and addressing the pressing needs the country is facing. "Your election presents an opportunity to renew confidence in South Africa, both internally and externally... and NEDBANK is committed to working alongside leadership who have the best interests of South Africa at heart". BROWN expressed his concern about the governance failures in critical public institutions as well as in the private sector and said the enormous liabilities that the SOEs are burdened with pose a risk to the entire economy. He also expressed concern over the proposed free tertiary education and said this will add further pressure on the country's already significant financial challenges, especially when no financial plan has been provided for it. On fighting corruption, BROWN said "we need an independent judicial investigation into state capture as a matter of priority. Without this, it is difficult to envision a prosperous and growing South Africa that will benefit all". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Negative outlook for SA corporates - Moody's - Carin Smith () 20/12/17 07:58:00

Local corporates have a negative outlook due to a weak operating environment, which poses downside risks, according to a research report on non-financial corporates released by MOODY's yesterday. According to the report, South African companies are impacted by a macroeconomic environment where persistent weak GDP growth of less than 2% leads to depressed business and consumer demand. Corporates also face political and policy uncertainty. MOODY's said corporates with debt in hard currencies and local currency cash flows remain vulnerable. However, it foresees that rated companies will remain resilient largely due to diversification, market dominance and healthy credit profiles. It pointed out that negative outlooks and ratings under review of these companies are mostly a result of downward pressure on sovereign ratings. MOODY's foresees that companies' capital allocation outside of SA will continue. What could turn the outlook for corporates to stable would be GDP growth of 2%-5% that is underpinned by structural reforms as well as an improved labour market and supportive commodity prices. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Steinhoff appoints acting CEO - Jan Cronje (SNH) 20/12/17 07:58:00

STEINHOFF's supervisory board yesterday announced that it had nominated DANIE VAN DER MERWE to become the company's acting CEO. The position has been vacant following the resignation of CHRISTO WIESE last week, WIESE, in turn, took over the role following the abrupt resignation of MARKUS JOOSTE on Dec. 5. VAN DER MERWE is currently the conglomerate's COO. He joined the group in early 1998 and was appointed as a director of STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL in 1999. His nomination will be submitted to a general meeting for appointment "in due course". ALEXANDRE NODALE, CEO of CONFORAMA - one of STEINHOFF's European subsidiaries - has been nominated to become deputy CEO. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Steinhoff fights lawsuits in three countries - Franz Wild, Bloomberg (SNH) 20/12/17 07:58:00

While shareholders prepare to sue STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL after its steep decline this month, a former business partner has beaten them to the punch, filing suits in three countries over the company's accounting practices. ANDREAS SEIFERT opened civil suits against STEINHOFF in German and the Netherlands, as well as his homeland of Austria through his OM HANDELS. STEINHOFF committed false accounting by not acknowledging SEIFERT's stake in POCO EINRICHTUNGSMARKTE, a German furniture retailer, and CONFORAMA FRANCE, the statement said. The crisis at STEINHOFF has already led to an 80% drop in the company's share price and forced CEO MARKUS JOOSTE and chair CHRISTO WIESE out of their jobs. Lawyers are now trying to get shareholders to join class action lawsuits over the losses. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ascendis raises R750m in rights issue - Fin24 (ASC) 20/12/17 06:31:00

ASCENDIS HEALTH on Monday announced the results of a fully underwritten renounceable rights offer to raise R750m. The proceeds will be used to settle €50m of the deferred vendor consideration payment owed to the sellers of REMEDICA HOLDINGS, an international business the company acquired in 2016, at a discount. ASCENDIS and the sellers of REMEDICA have agreed that the former will settle €46.2m in advance of the due date. The rights offer was priced at R20/share, being a 5% premium to the market price at the time of announcing the rights offer. The offer was fully underwritten by long-term investment company COAST2COAST CAPITAL, who effectively took up 26% of the rights offer shares in terms of their rights allocation, and a further 73% of the rights offer shares in terms of the underwrite. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Solidarity positive about Lonmin's Sibanye-Stillwater acquisition - Creamer Media Reporter (LON) 20/12/17 06:31:00

Solidarity is positive about LONMIN's R5bn acquisition by SIBANYE-STILLWATER, announced on Dec. 14. Solidarity mining industry deputy general secretary CONNIE PRINSLOO said the deal would make a positive contribution towards economic growth and stability in the sector in the longer term, which in turn would further sustainability. "We trust that new job opportunities would be created under [the] leadership of SIBANYE-STILLWATER's management, which would hopefully keep the retrenchments LONMIN intended to implement over a period of three years in check of would reduce the number of retrenchments", PRINSLOO said. He added that the union supported initiatives that created job opportunities, achieve job security and promote sustainable economic growth or create the opportunity for such. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


ELB contracted to set up DMS plant at iron ore mine - Megan van Wyngaardt (ELR) 20/12/17 06:31:00

ELB ENGINEERING SERVICES has been awarded a contract to set up a 200t/h dense media separator plant at an undisclosed iron ore mine in the Northern Cape. The plant will be capable of handling and beneficiating around 1mt of -32mm iron ore a year and will beneficiate lower-grade RoM iron ore and achieve higher selling prices for certain ore bodies. The processing plant will substantially increase the life-of-mine at the current mining rate. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Transpaco acquires FPM group for R105m - Roy Cokayne (TPC) 20/12/17 06:31:00

TRANSPACO has entered into an agreement to acquire the FUTURE PACKAGING AND MACHINERY GROUP for R105m. FPM comprises FUTURE PACKAGING AND MACHINERY, FUTURE PACKAGING AND MACHINERY CAPE and FUTURE PACKAGING AND MACHINERY KZN. It was established in the early 1990s and operates as a supplier of industrial and general packaging products. TRANSPACO said the deal would be effective from Feb. 28, but was subject to terms and conditions. It would be financing the transaction through a combination of existing facilities and cash resources, with the maximum estimated purchase consideration dependent on the final values to be determined after the finalisation of FPM's audited financial statements to end-Feb. The purchase consideration for FPM included a premium of R37.2m to the book value of the net assets being acquired in terms of the deal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


AYO has R5.3bn in offers for its shares - Kabelo Khumalo (AEE) 20/12/17 06:31:00

A private placement by AYO TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS was significantly oversubscribed, with offers worth R5.3bn received for shares in the ICT company, 23% more than the firm wanted to raise. AYO, a spin-off of AFRICAN EMPOWERMENT EQUITY INVESTMENTS, earlier this month said it would undertake the private placement by way of an offer to invited investors to subscribe for private placement shares in AYO TECHNOLOGY at R43/share, thereby raising R4.3bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Drought to hit SA's 2018 wine harvest - Tanisha Heiberg () 20/12/17 06:31:00

SA is expected ot see the smallest wine grape harvest in more than a decade in 2018 after drought and lower plants hit yields, industry experts said. The 2018 harvest is expected to be much smaller than the estimated 1 434 328t produced in the 2017 crop, based on a survey conducted in Nov. by the South African Wine Industry Information and Systems industry body. SAWIS did not give a figure for 2018 but said it would likely be less than in 2017. "If in certain areas we don't get rain it could end up smaller", SAWIS CEO YVETTE VAN DER MERWE said. Industry body VINPROP expects the 2018 crop to be the smallest since 2005, when 1 157 631t were harvested due to drought and disease in some production areas. "This means that wine grape producers' water resources were cut by 40% to 60% and they could not fully meet their vines' water demand", VINPRO consultant FRANCOIS VILJOEN said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Hikma wins right to market Roche drug copy in Middle East, N Africa - Justin George Varghese () 20/12/17 06:31:00

HIKMA PHARMACEUTICALS PLC has won exclusive rights to distribute and market its third biosimilar drug - a copy of ROCHE's blood cancer treatment Rituxanin - in the Middle East and North African markets, it said yesterday. HIKMA agreed on the licensing deal with CELLTRION to market the South Korea-based company's Truxima, a copy of ROCHE's blockbuster blood cancer medicine, also known as MabThera. Truxima is used to treat patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, rheumatoid arthritis and microscopic polyangiitis. Truxima has been approved in all of Rituxan/MapThera's indications and governments around Europe are keen to see it used widely. HIKMA is currently also in a dispute with the US Food and Drug Administration over plans to launch a generic copy of GLAXOSMITHKLINE's popular lung drug Advair in the US. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Steinhoff says unable to give details of accounting irregularities - Tiisetso Motsoeneng (SNH) 20/12/17 06:31:00

STEINHOFF is not able to give the magnitude of its accounting irregularities in its books, it said yesterday. In a presentation for its meeting with lenders in London later in the day, the retailer also pleaded for support from its creditors to maintain stability. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Acacia to sell Burkina Faso asset to Sandstorm Gold - Arathy S Nair () 20/12/17 06:31:00

ACACIA MINING yesterday said it would sell its 2% royalty over the Hounde Mine in Burkina Faso for $45m to Canada's SANDSTORM GOLD LTD. The deal is expected to close early in Q1 2018. The sale will help bolster the company's balance sheet as the concentrate export ban in Tanzania enters its second year, JEFFERIES analysts wrote in a note yesterday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 20/12/2017 () 20/12/17 06:31:00

At 06h31 on 20 December 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.70 ZAR/EUR 15.05 ZAR/GBP 17.00 Gold 1261.95 Platinum 913.00 Brent Crude Oil 62.71 All Share 58170.44


BHP to exit World Coal Association over climate policy - Jamie Smyth (BIL) 19/12/17 09:56:00

BHP BILLITON has said it plans to withdraw from the World Coal Association due to differences with it over climate and energy policies, as well as the limited benefit it gets from membership of the industry association. The miner is also considering withdrawing from the US Chamber of Commerce due to the organisation's criticism of the Paris climate change agreement and its opposition to carbon pricing. The preliminary decisions - announced today - follow BHP's review of industry body memberships to ensure it does not support organisations that advocate against positions to those supported by the company. "While we won't always agree with our industry associations, we will continue to call out material differences where they exist and we will take action where necessary, as we have done today", said GEOFF HEALY, BHP's chief external affairs officer. The company said it would remain a member of the Minerals Council of Australia despite identifying differences on climate policies, given the benefit it derives from membership. Bit it said it would ask the MCA to refrain form advocacy on policy issues that differed from the miner's public positions. BHP said it would maintain a register of material differences between MCA and its own positions and review its membership of the body next year. BHP said it would formally communicate its findings to the WCA and USCC and invite responses from them before taking final decisions on whether to exit its memberships in Mar. 31. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Group Five warns of widening losses - Robert Laing (GRF) 19/12/17 09:56:00

GROUP FIVE expects its interim HLPS for the HY to end-Dec. to worsen by 34% to 415cps, from 310cps y/y. Reasons for the widening loss include delay penalties on its $410m Kpone power station project in Ghana. The company faced potential fines of $310 000 a day up to a maximum total of $62.5m on the Kpone project. GROUP FIVE said it expected to complete the Kpone project by end-Feb. rather than Dec., and was contesting that it must pay penalties for missing the original deadlines because delays were caused by changes to Ghanaian law. GROUP FIVE said it also intended to recoup delay penalties by suing the power station's design engineer along with various other sub-contractors for causing the project to run late. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Updated market indicators for 08/11/2017 () 19/12/17 09:56:00

At 09h55 on 08 November 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.82 ZAR/EUR 15.14 ZAR/GBP 17.18 Gold 1263.68 Platinum 907.00 Brent Crude Oil 62.71 All Share 58049.10


Old Mutual strikes £600m asset management sale deal with TA Associates - Katie Martin (OML) 19/12/17 09:55:00

OLD MUTUAL has agreed to sell a large part of its investment business to TA ASSOCIATES, in a deal worth £600m that will involve the unit's CEO RICHARD BUXTON staying on board. The Single Strategy business has £25.7bn in assets under management. BUXTON, along with most of the management team, will remain with the business. He had originally embarked on talks with private equity backers three months ago. BUXTON said he believed the deal was "a good outcome for our customers and our staff". OLD MUTUAL WEALTH CEO PAUL FEENEY said the Single Strategy business "is less closely aligned to our goal of becoming the UK's leading wealth manager. I believe this development is a good outcome for our shareholders and provides the Single Strategy team with a great opportunity to build on the success they have achieved since 2012". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Gas shortage forces Chinese city to end heating at govt buildings - Hudson Lockett () 19/12/17 09:55:00

Changsha, the capital city of Hunan province in China has been forced to suspend heating to all government buildings as well as some hotels and shopping centres as Beijing diverts natural gas supplies to the country's northern reaches in the face of a botched effort to cut down on coal use. The Xiaoxiang Morning Post reported the city had suspended provision of natural gas to offices at all levels of government from Monday to ensure sufficient supply was available for residential use. The newspaper said supply for natural gas-powered taxis was also to be halted from noon on Tuesday ad that "not a few hotels and shipping markets have also had their natural gas supplies suspended". The suspensions are the latest fallout from a government push to ameliorate shortages in north China, where the mishandling of an attempt to accelerate the region's transition away from coal has left some residents without heat as temperature fall below zero. Yet temperatures in China south have dropped this week as well, and the forecast for Changsha currently predicts temperatures of around zero degrees Celcius on Wednesday morning. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


EU launches probe into Ikea tax arrangements - Rochelle Toplensky () 19/12/17 09:55:00

Brussels is investigating IKEA's tax arrangements, as the EU widens the net in its four-year crackdown on aggressive corporate tax avoidance. EU competition commissioner MARGRETHE VESTAGER is investigating two Dutch tax rulings that enabled INTER IKEA to significantly cut its tax bills since 2006 using inter-company transactions that officials worry may not reflect economic reality. "Member states cannot let selected companies pay less tax by allowing them to artificially shift their profits elsewhere. We will now carefully investigate the Netherlands' tax treatment of INTER IKEA", VESTAGER said. INTER IKEA said in a statement: "The way we have been taxed by national authorities, has in our view been in accordance with EU rules. It is good if the investigation can bring clarity and confirm that". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


First Quantum agrees option to acquire controversial Alaskan Pebble mining project - Henry Sanderson () 19/12/17 09:55:00

FIRST QUANTUM MINERALS could emerge with a 50% stake in the world's biggest undeveloped copper project, fanning hopes the project in Alaska will finally get off the ground after years of environmental opposition. FIRST QUANTUM said it had signed an option agreement with the mine's owner NORTHERN DYNASTY MINERALS that will see it pay $150m over four years to help fund the permitting process for the Pebble project. The agreement gives the company the right to a 50% stake in the project after a further $1.35bn investment. The pact comes amid signs the administration of President DONALD DTRUMP could take a more favourable stance towards the project. Located in Bristol Bay, a centre for salmon fishing, Pebble came under environmental scrutiny under President BARACK OBAMA. But TRUMP's appointee to the US Environmental Protection Agency, SCOTT PRUITT, directed his staff to withdraw a plan to protect the watershed of Bristol Bay. "We believe a successful outcome to the permitting process for Pebble would deliver the potential for further growth in copper for FIRST QUANTUM well into the future", PHILIP PASCALL, chair and CEO of FIRST QUANTUM, said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Rosneft plans to drive up oil output by 30mt in 5 years - Henry Foy () 19/12/17 09:55:00

ROSNEFT has said it will increase annual output by 30mt of oil equivalent by 2022 net of acquisitions under a new five-year strategy. That increase would drive up cash flows by Rbs420bn, CEO IGOR SECHIN said yesterday, thanks to new projects in Kurdistan, Venezuela and the acquisition of smaller Russian rival BASHNEFT. The company will produce 281mt of oil equivalent in 2017, up 6% y/y, SECHIN said, adding that the company had begun drilling at its new project in the Black Sea, where it is working alongside Italian oil major ENI. Introducing the company's new five-year strategy to 2022, SECHIN said new projects in the Black Sea and continued expansion in Venezuela would help drive up the company's market cap by 15%-20%. "A 100% stake in Venezuela projects means 100% of production and 100% of exports", SECHIN said. ROSNEFT has committed billions of dollars this year to drilling rights and pipeline infrastructure in the disputed Iraqi territory of Kurdistan, after making large investments and forward payments to Venezuela in recent years. SECHIN in July said he expected the new strategy would boost the company's market cap by 20%-30% over the next five years, and produce an external 500mt of oil over the next 20 years than previously forecast. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Berkshire Hathaway shares top $300 000 in latest milestone - Pan Kwan Yuk () 19/12/17 09:55:00

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY's shares briefly crossed the $300 000 mark for the first time yesterday as investors bet the conglomerate could get a big earnings boost from US tax reforms. BERKSHIRE's Class A shares gained as much as 1.3% to $300 100. The stock has climbed nearly 10% since Nov. 16, when the House Republicans first passed its plan to cut US corporate tax rates. Including yesterday's gain, the shares are up more than 22% so far this year, topping the 20% gain seen in the wider S&P 500. With its businesses largely focused on the US economy, BERKSHIRE is seen to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of US tax reforms. KBW analyst MEYER SHIELDS reckoned a reduction in the main US federal corporate tax to 21 from 35% could boost BERKSHIRE's earnings by about $2.6bn - or 15% - next year. In addition, BERKSHIRE has the largest so-called deferred tax liability of any company in the S&P 500. By the end of Sep., the liability had swelled to $86.5bn. BERKSHIRE will book a benefit of more than $30bn as the tax cut slashes the value of the liability. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


RBA wary over household consumption as employment growth expected to continue - Alice Woodhouse () 19/12/17 09:55:00

Australia's central bank expects employment growth to continue over the coming quarters but noted concern over household consumption and the outlook for higher wages in the minutes of its Dec. meeting. The Reserve Bank of Australia opted to hold rates at 1.5% at its December meeting, unchanged for a 16th consecutive month. In the minutes of its Dec. meeting, the central bank said it expects employment growth to be "somewhat above average over the next few quarters" and maintained its forecast for wage growth "to increase gradually over the next year or so". The RBA also warned that "the outlook for household consumption continued to be a significant risk, given that household incomes were growing slowly and debt levels were high". Household consumption rose 0.1% q/q in the three months to Sep., its weakest pace in five years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


World Bank lifts China's 2017 growth outlook - Edward White () 19/12/17 09:55:00

The World Bank has lifted its 2017 forecast for economic growth in China amid rising household incomes and a recovery in global trade. The bank has raised its forecast for Chinese GDP growth for 2017 to 6.8%, from the 6.7% it forecast in Oct., according to its latest China Economic Update report. Still, GDP growth is forecast to slow in the coming years, to 6.4% in 2018 and 6.3% in 2019, on the back of continued domestic policy tightening. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


AMSA pays first instalment of price-fixing fine - Fin24 (ACL) 19/12/17 08:36:00

ARCELORMITTAL SA has confirmed its first payment of the record R1.5bn fine it was slapped with by the Competition Tribunal in Aug. 2016 after pleading guilty to price fixing. AMSA yesterday said the payment of R100m was made as agreed upon with the Competition Commission. The company is set to pay the R1.5bn fine over five years in instalments of no less than R300m/year. According to statements issued by the company, the Commission has taken into account the company's financial position, resulting from the tough trading conditions in the global and local steel industries, in considering this amendment. The revised payment terms apply only to the first year and the next two instalments will be made on Apr. 1 and Jul. 1, 2018. Thereafter, the instalments will continue as originally agreed. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Public invited to comment on financial sector draft regulations - Fin24 () 19/12/17 08:36:00

National Treasury published draft regulations in terms of the Financial Sector Regulations Act yesterday. The public has until end-Jan. to submit comments on the draft regulations. President JACOB ZUMA signed the FSRA into law in Aug. 2017. It makes provision for the so-called Twin Peaks model of financial regulation. On the one hand, the SARB will be responsible for regulating all financial institutions. On the other hand, financial conduct will be governed by a new entity, called the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, which will replace the current Financial Services Board. Treasury said the purpose of the regulations published is to facilitate the smooth implementation of the FSRA. The regulations clarify the performance of functions in terms of the FSRA during the transitional period before the establishment of the Prudential Authority, the FSCA and the Financial Services Tribunal. It is expected that the new regulatory and supervisory framework will promote, among other things, financial stability, the fair treatment and protection of financial customers, the efficiency and integrity of the financial system, the prevention of financial crime and transformation in the financial sector. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Container trade shows 10% yearly growth - Megan van Wyngaardt () 19/12/17 08:36:00

The local import and export container trade market experienced 10% y/y growth during Q3, a similar result as in previous quarters, MAERSK LINE SOUTHERN AFRICA said yesterday. "On face value, [this] is remarkable growth. The main hallmark of South African container trade at present, however, is less about robust growth and more about volatility", MAERSK LINE SA trade manager MATTHEW CONROY said. He added that while the 10% y/y growth was encouraging, it was not a true reflection of real growth as, when taking into account the significant container trade market contraction recorded in 2016, this growth is actually only about 2.5%. Year-to-date, 45.3% of container trade was a result of exports, compared to 54.7% imports. The import market has grown by 9% year-to-date, with the majority of this growth coming from Asia (13%), which represents 53% of imports into SA. Considering the sluggish consumer spending seen in the current market, CONROY suspected that there would be a future slowdown in import market growth. It is likely that the rest of the year will continue at a similar rate as year-to-date, but 2018 would probably see a slowdown of low single digit growth. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Rio Tinto embarks on automation roll-out at Pilbara ops - Megan van Wyngaardt () 19/12/17 08:36:00

RIO TINTO will expand its fleet of autonomous haul trucks at its iron ore operations in the Pilbara by more than 50% by 2019, after signing agreements with CATERPILLAR and KOMATSU to convert traditional trucks to autonomous vehicles. A total of 29 KOMATSU haul trucks will be retrofitted with autonomous haulage system (AHS) technology starting next year. The project is scehduled for completion by mid-2019, allowing the mine to run entirely in AHS mode once fully deployed. A further 19 CATERPILLAR haul trucks at the Marandoo mine will also be retrofitted starting mid-2018 for completion by the end of 2019. Once completed, the retrofit projects are expected to make a big contribution towards RIO's $5bn productivity programme, helping to underpin the continued delivery of superior returns for shareholders. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


NRE bags Lofdal environmental clearance - Henry Lazenby () 19/12/17 08:36:00

The Namibian Environment Ministry has cleared NAMIBIA RARE EARTHS' Lofdal heavy rare earth project for mining and processing operations and for a planned power and water line corridor, the company announced yesterday. NRE said the three-year environmental clearance certificates allow it to develop an 840 000t/y openpit mining operation at Lofdal together with processing facilities, waste rock dumps and tailings storage facilities to produce heavy rare earth concentrates at site. NRE plans to build a 40km-long 66kV overhead power line from the national power grid, with a parallel water pipeline to deliver power and water to site. The proposed mining licence application remains pending. NRE also announced that it has received conditional approval from the TSX-V to acquire a portfolio of critical metals properties from GECKO NAMIBIA. It is working to satisfy the conditions for final approval. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ramaphosa no magic bullet for SA - Selcuk Gokoluk, Bloomberg, Fin24 () 19/12/17 08:35:00

Investors cheering CYRIL RAMAPHOSA's victory in the ANC elections may be getting ahead of themselves. RAMAPHOSA's reformist agenda does have the potential to help accelerate economic recovery, avoid a credit rating downgrade and strengthen the currency, but market's aren't factoring in the substantial challenges that could limit progress, according to money managers including JPMORGAN CHASE. That optimism could prove overdone if the traditionalist faction of the ANC challenges a RAMAPHOSA win or President JACOB ZUMA's supporters hinder the new leader's programme. "First, ZUMA could remain president until 2019, which means there is a risk of negative political noise. Second, there could be a balance of power to keep the unity of ANC, so it could be less positive than earlier thought", CREDIT AGRICOLE strategist GUILLAUME TRESCA said. JPMORGAN strategist SONJA KELLER said financial markets would have probably anticipated MOODY's holding off on a ratings downgrade in Mar. 2018 following the RAMAPHOSA victory. "If the election results in a mixed slate with the top six new ANC leaders drawn from both the modernist and traditionalist camps, such expectations could be muted or indeed absent", KELLER said. "RAMAPHOSA is not the answer to all of South Africa's problems. The government needs to reverse corruption that has impacted the nation over the past 10 years", MEDLEY GLOBAL ADVISORS senior analyst NIGEL RENDELL said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Vale says won't pay bonuses to striking Moz workers - Reuters () 19/12/17 07:23:00

VALE yesterday said it would not pay bonuses demanded by its workers in what it called an illegal strike at the Moatize coal plant in Mozambique. Workers downed tools on Friday demanding two bonuses including a 14th salary and a retention bonus. VALE in Mozambique employs 2 500 direct workers and about 7 000 indirectly. Moatize produced 5.5mt of metallurgical and thermal coal in 2016. VALE said there was "no provision for any payment" to meed the demands of the striking workers, adding that the action was illegal. "We advise our workers to return to their jobs, so that this type of issue is dealt within the competent forums", VALE said, adding that pay was calculated based on performance. In 2016, VALE increased the salaries of its workers by up to 9% and in 2017 raised it by 15.6%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Kibo expects imminent signing of PPA - Megan van Wyngaardt (KBO) 19/12/17 07:23:00

KIBO MINING yesterday said it expected to sign a final power purchase agreement with the newly formed Tanzania Ministry of Energy for the Mbeya project in Q1 2018. The company said this followed a "positive" briefing between KIBO, GENERAL ELECTRIC, TANESCO and the Deputy Minister for Energy on Dec. 14, where the parties discussed the strategic importance of the MCPP. "We are delighted with the commitment to sign a memorandum of understanding within ten to 12 working days and the prospect to finalise the PPA, which will allow us to materially advance the project level financing talks we have been conducting", KIBO CEO LOUIS COETZEE said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


PPC to expand alternative fuel initiative in SA - Roy Cokayne (PPC) 19/12/17 07:23:00

PPC is planning to expand its alternative fuel initiative in SA as part of the company's profit improvement programme. CEO JOHAN CLAASSEN said the company was already doing tyre burning at PPC's De Hoek plant in the Western Cape, and the next step was refuse-derived fuel. This involved burning "fluff" and PPC had started with the separation and sorting of refuse in the Cape Peninsula and would be taking and using a certain fraction of that as an alternative fuel for the De Hoek kilns. CLAASSEN said PPC had also saved costs at De Hoek by conserving about 40% of the water used by the plant. These initiatives formed part of the group's cost optimisation programme, which was focused on cost savings and revenue enhancement. This programme was under way and aimed to deliver targeted savings of R50/t as part of PPC's second phase profit improvement programme. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nigerian annual inflation slows - Chijioke Ohuocha () 19/12/17 07:23:00

Annual inflation in Nigeria slowed for the 10th consecutive month in Nov., easing to 15.9%, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. A separate food price index showed inflation at 20.3% in Nov., compared with 20.31% in Oct. The central bank has kept its main rate at 14% for over a year now as it battles inflation and seeks to attract foreign investors to support the naira. However, the government wants to see interest rates come down to lower its borrowing costs and stimulate the economy. It repaid some treasury maturities last week. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Dangote Cement shares trade in $350m off-market deal - Chijioke Ohuocha () 19/12/17 07:23:00

Around 550m shares of DANGOTE CEMENT were sold at 225.7 naira apiece yesterday in a one-off stock market deal valued at $350m, traders said. Traders said it was negotiated in a deal between sellers MERISTEM STOCKBROKERS and buyer CSL STOCKBROKERS. DANGOTE CEMENT's last trading price was 238.99 naira by market close. The stock shed 4.17% yesterday. The cement maker has been selling small stakes to increase its free float, which is well below the Nigerian stock exchange's required level. It sold 128.5m shares at 210 naira each last month, and in Aug., it sold a 2.3% stake to foreign investors in a deal valued at 86.1bn naira. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Angolan crude exports in Feb. set so far at 45 cargoes - Alex Lawler () 19/12/17 07:23:00

Angolan crude oil exports are set to slip in Feb. to 45 cargoes from 51 in Jan., a trade source said yesterday, citing preliminary loading schedules. The Feb. total excludes loading schedules for small grades Palanca and Gimboa, which were not yet available and could potentially add a couple of cargoes to the total. SONANGOL has yet to issue the Feb. programme, meaning the number of cargoes could be further updated. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Steinhoff to issue update after meeting bankers on Tuesday - Tiisetso Motsoeneng (SNH) 19/12/17 07:23:00

STEINHOFF will provide further information about its finances following a meeting with bankers later today, it said on Monday. The company is working with MOELIS & CO to help it prepare for the delayed meeting with lenders in London today to discuss its financial health. It has been under investigation for suspected accounting fraud in German since 2015. Four current and former managers are under suspicion of having overstated revenues at subsidiaries, prosecutors said. Shares in STEINHOFF were up 6% and 5% in Johannesburg and Frankfurt, respectively. The stock is still down around 80% since its disclosure of accounting irregularities on Dec. 5. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nigerian oil union PENGASSAN says will suspend strike - Camillus Eboh () 19/12/17 07:23:00

A major Nigerian oil union will suspend a nationwide strike it began on Monday, its general secretary said, adding that members had what they wanted from a dispute resolution with the government and an oil company. "The strike has not been suspended for now but we are 100% sure it will be suspended", said LUMUMBA OKUGBAWA, the general secretary of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN). This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Rand hits 9-month high on Ramaphosa win - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo () 19/12/17 07:23:00

The rand scaled nine-month highs yesterday after CYRIL RAMAPHOSA became the new leader of the ANC, succeeding President JACOB ZUMA. Even before RAMAPHOSA was crowned winner, expectations that he would win the race had pushed the rand to 12.52/$, its firmest level since Mar. 27. The currency held on to gains after the announcement, trading 2.6% firmer at 12.75/$ last night. Domestic government bonds closed firmer before the results, with the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 down 22 bps at 8.855%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 19/12/2017 () 19/12/17 07:23:00

At 07h23 on 19 December 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 12.75 ZAR/EUR 15.04 ZAR/GBP 17.06 Gold 1262.46 Platinum 906.50 Brent Crude Oil 62.71 All Share 57707.42


Updated market indicators for 08/11/2017 () 18/12/17 11:00:00

At 10h59 on 08 November 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.05 ZAR/EUR 15.39 ZAR/GBP 17.44 Gold 1257.13 Platinum 894.00 Brent Crude Oil 62.61 All Share 57481.71


Zim inflation jumps as Mnangagwa sparks revival hopes - Crecey Kuyedzwa () 18/12/17 10:59:00

Zimbabwe's November inflation has increased to 2.97%, data from the Zimbabwe National sTatistics Agency showed today. This rate is 0.73 of a percentage point higher than the corresponding annual rate of 2.24% in Oct. The CPI increased at an average rate of 0.74% from Oct. to Nov. 2017. The latest inflation figures come at a time when the new government, led by EMMERSON MNANGAGWA, is looking at reviving an economy which has been subdued for several decades. The y/y food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation stood at 5.65%, while the non-food inflation rate was 1.74%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Eurozone goods trade surplus narrows in Oct. y/y - Adam Samson () 18/12/17 10:59:00

A bigger rise in imports than in exports left the eurozone's goods trade surplus a little slimmer in Oct. y/y, data showed on Friday. The surplus clocked in at €18.9bn in Oct. 2017, from €19.2bn y/y, data from Eurostat showed. Imports grew 10.1% on a y/y basis to €168.9bn, with exports up 8.8% to €187.9bn. For the Jan.-Oct. period this year, the surplus is running at €187.9bn, from €213.8bn y/y. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China to do away with export tax on steel products - Lucy Hornby () 18/12/17 10:59:00

China will remove the export tax on steel products, its Ministry of Finance said on Friday in a move likely to increase trade tensions. China typically adjusts export tax levels at the end of each year, to either encourage or discourage exports. Removing the tax should make it easier for steel mills to export, since they can still make a profit even if overseas market prices are closer to Chinese prices. In 2017 the export tax on many steel products was set at 15% while high-value steels including stainless steel, special steel and steel alloy were at 10%. The export tax will be scrapped effective Jan. 1. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Russia surprises with interest rate cut - Katie Martin () 18/12/17 10:33:00

Russia's central bank has delivered a bigger than expected cut to interest rates, lopping half a percentage point off the key rate to 7.75%, saying that the move to reduce oil production will dampen inflation risks over a one-year horizon. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a quarter-point cut. The oil production cut that was made along with OPEC has led the central bank to lift growth forecasts for next year, it said. But medium-term prospects are unchanged. A further cut in the first half of 2018 remains a possibility, it added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Old Mutual nears deal for fund unit - Jennifer Thompson (OML) 18/12/17 10:33:00

High profile fund manager RICHARD BUXTON and private equity group TA ASSOCIATES are close to agreeing a deal to buy a large part of OLD MUTUAL GLOBAL INVESTORS for about £600m, according to a source. BUXTON, CEO of OMGI, plans to buy the asset manager's £25bn single strategy business and create a newly independent investment boutique with the support of TA. The planned deal was triggered by the wider break-up of the £9bn OLD MUTUAL financial services group, announced last year by group CEO BRUCE HEMPHILL in a bid to boost investor interest. OMGI, which oversees close to £40bn in assets, had more than doubled in size under BUXTON's leadership and has internationalised its investor base. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US industrial output growth hits brakes in Nov. - Jessica Dye () 18/12/17 10:33:00

US industrial output growth slowed in Nov. from the previous month's advance, as gains in the mining sector were offset by a drop in utilities output. Industrial production rose 0.2% in Nov., according to data from the Federal Reserve. That undershot analysts' expectations for a 0.3% gain. October's growth was revised upwards form its initial 0.9% reading to 1.2%, the Fed said. Manufacturing production notched a 0.2% gain for its third consecutive monthly advance. Utilities output fell 1.9%, while the mining index rose 2%, with oil and gas extraction returning to normal levels after being weighed down by Hurricane Nate in Oct. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SA regulator probes Deloitte's audit of Steinhoff - Madison Marriage (SNH) 18/12/17 10:33:00

SA's Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors has launched an investigation of DELOITTE's audit of STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL. The regulator said on Friday it would liaise with accounting regulators in Germany and the Netherlands during its investigation of DELOITTE SA. The prove applies to audit work done by DELOITTE SA for STEINHOFF from 2014 to 2016. IRBA CEO BERNARD AGULHAS said the prove "will follow due process and the timing will depend on information which will come to our attention once we have established the nature of the alleged irregularities and have had further discussions with the relevant parties". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Japan exports record 12th straight month of growth - Alice Woodhouse () 18/12/17 10:33:00

Japan's exports grew at a faster pace than expected in Nov., allowing the country to maintain a trade surplus for a sixth consecutive month. The value of exports rose 16.2% y/y in Nov., according to the Ministry of Finance, up from 14% in Oct. It marked the 12th straight month of expansion. Outbound shipments to Asia rose 20% y/y as exports to China grew 25%. Imports grew 17.2% y/y, slightly below estimates of 18% growth and slowing from the 18.9% rise recorded in Oct. These figures resulted in a trade surplus of Y113.4bn, beating expectations the country would record a deficit of Y54.9bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Adani cancels Carmichael contract - Jamie Smyth () 18/12/17 10:33:00

ADANI GROUP cancelled a $2bn contract with a mining services company to build and manage operations on its proposed Carmichael coal mine in Australia today, following its failure to raise funds for the project. The cancellation of the contract with DOWNER follows a decision last week by the Queensland state government to veto the award of an A$900m federal government loan to ADANI. ADANI said it remained committed to the A$16.5bn Carmichael project but planned to develop and operate the mine on an owner-operator basis to achieve the "lowest quartile cost of production". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China state planner issues new rules for offshore investments - Hudson Lockett () 18/12/17 10:33:00

China's National Development and Reform Commission today said it had sent out new guidelines for offshore investment by private companies to combat what an official described as "vicious competition" and "blind decision-making". NDRC spokesperson MENG WEI said the planning agency had - together with the Ministry of Commerce, the PBoC and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce - jointly drawn up new rules on offshore investments by private enterprises. MEI said the new rules were intended to help ensure private companies "carry out relevant procedures both on and offshore, develop healthy competition and operate with integrity", as well as strengthen regulators' ability to control offshore risk. The new regulations represent the latest crack of the whip over what Beijing views as harmful and often illicit capital outflows. China's outbound non-financial investment fell 40.9% during the 10 months through Oct., reflecting the enduring impact of strict capital controls. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Tencent, JD.com to invest in Chinese online retailer Vipshop - Alice Woodhouse (NPN) 18/12/17 10:33:00

TENCENT and JD.COM have agreed to invest $863m into discount online retailer VIPSHOP. TENCENT and JD.COM will buy VIPSHOP Class A ordinary shares for $65.40/share, the equivalent of $13.08 per American depositary share, VIPSHOP said. That represents a 55% premium over the closing price of the shares on Friday. TENCENT will buy newly issued Class A shares for $604m and JD.COM is investing $259m. After the deal closes, TENCENT will hold a 7% stake and JD.COM a 5.5% stake in VIPSHOP. Under the deal, VIPSHOP will be able to attract traffic from TENCENT's social media app WeChat and to appear on the main page of JD.COM's mobile app and WeChat page. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


STAR gave la Grange generous 30% pay increase - Robert Laing (SRR) 18/12/17 10:33:00

STEINHOFF AFRICA RETAIL paid former CEO BEN LA GRANGE R50.2m in its 2017 FY, its annual report showed on Friday. LA GRANGE, who resigned as STAR's CEO on Dec. 6 to focus on his other job as CFO of STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL, received a 30% pay hike from the R38.7m he was paid in the prior year. LA GRANGE's basic remuneration for the FY to end-Sep. was R14.4m, whihc was topped up with a R13.7m annual bonus, a R13.3m deferred bonus and an R8.3m strategic bonus. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


EU court rejects US request to join Apple tax appeal case - Rochelle Toplensky () 18/12/17 09:29:00

The EU court has rejected the US government's request to join APPLE's appeal of Brussels' order that it pay €13bn in back taxes. The General Court on Friday ruled that the US government did not have a direct interest in the result of the case, rejecting its arguments that the case could harm tax treaties with EU member states, cut US tax revenues and hurt global efforts to reform tax rules. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


New minimum wage bill has gaping holes - Dewald van Rensburg () 18/12/17 09:21:00

The long-awaited National Minimum Wage Bill has major holes that could undermine the purpose of a new universal wage floor. The bill has a different definition of "worker" than the bill that emerged from negotiations at NEDLAC earlier this year. It now seems to exclude so-called independent contractors, meaning it is no longer a universal minimum wage and could exclude the most vulnerable casual workers. The definition creates even more incentive to restructure employment relationships in order to avoid labour laws, warned SHANE GODFREY, a senior researcher at the University of Cape Town's labour and enterprise policy research group. The bill opens the door for wage reductions in a number of sectors where wages are set by sectoral determinations. Other key demands from the labour constituency that negotiated the bill at NEDLAC are conspicuously missing. The bill's definition of "worker" now simply reads "employee as defined in section 1 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


RBPlat gets nod for ABMS - Lesetja Malope (RBP) 18/12/17 09:21:00

ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUM has won a court order to transfer workers from AFORIKA BORWA MINING SOLUTIONS, after terminating its contract with the company, which has links to the GUPTAS. ABMS is an offshoot of WESTDAWN INVESTMENTS, the GUPTAS' better-known mining contractor which trades at JIC MINING SERVICES. RBPLAT recently experienced various raids by safety inspectors from the Department of Mineral Resources which resulted in the shutdown of operations at some of its shafts. The court order came after ABMS tried to strike a deal to sell off the company. It followed an urgent court application by ROYAL BAFOKENG and its newly appointed contractor, REAGETSWE RASIMONE. According to the order, 1 200 ABMS mine workers are set to become employees of REAGETSWE from 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Shoprite deal unravels as Wiese scurries to save Steinhoff - Loni Prinsloo (SHP) 18/12/17 09:21:00

The collapse in the share price of STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL is hindering CHRISTO WIESE's plans to pool his African retail assets. WIESE has had to pull out of a deal that will give STEINHOFF AFRICA RETAIL a 23.1% stake and a 50.6% voting interest in SHOPRITE HOLDINGS. STAR is now in talks with the PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION and its BEE investors about exercising the option to take the stake. Shares in SHOPRITE fell 5.7% to close at R210.69 on Friday. STAR rose 10% to end the day at R18.50. "The market is worried that CHRISTO WOESE will now have to sell his shares in SHOPRITE for liquidity", said WAYNE MCCURRIE, a money manager at ASHBURTON INVESTMENTS MANAGEMENT. STAR's board will enter into talks with the PIC and LANCASTER, a group of black investors who own around 8.8% of the retailer, STAR said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


PSG CEO puts Steinhoff ripple effect into perspective - Carin Smith (PSG) 18/12/17 09:21:00

PSG GROUP does no co-investment business with STEINHOFF, nor does it have any JVs with the company, PSG CEO PIET MOUTON said on Friday. STEINHOFF had an equity stake of 25.5% in PSG GROUP and has a non-executive board representative, but exercised no operational or investment control over PSG whatsoever. In addition, PSG GROUP and STEINHOFF do not have any inter-related deals or ventures. "The negative impact on the PSG share price can largely be explained by the potential PSG share overhang in the market - as STEINHOFF had a 25% shareholding in PSG - as well as the negative sentiment attributable to the STEINHOFF fallout", MOUTON said. Fin24 reported earlier that STEINHOFF announced on Friday afternoon that it has sold 20.6m shares in PSG - about 9.5% of its totak share capital - raising some R4.7bn. STEINHOFF sold the PSG shares at an average price of R230/share. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Appointment of new Eskom CEO a priority - ANA () 18/12/17 09:21:00

Public Enterprises Minister LYNNE BROWN on Friday said the process of appointing a new permanent group CEO for ESKOM was "a priority" and that the finalisation of the probe into suspended executives was of "paramount importance". This comes as news emerged on Friday that suspended acting CEO MATSHELA KOKO had been found not guilty following a protracted disciplinary hearing, and that the utility had been ordered to reinstate him. KOKO was facing six charges, among others, for allegedly failing to declare a conflict of interest after a company in which his stepdaughter had shares was awarded a tender by a division he led. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


SARS to collect sugar tax from Apr. - Natasha Odendaal () 18/12/17 09:21:00

SARS will start collecting the sugary beverages levy from Apr. 1. The levy is fixed at 2.1c/g for a sugar content exceeding the levy-free threshold of 4g/100ml. Only commercial manufacturers that produce sugary beverages with a total annual sugar content in excess of 500kg/y need to be licensed and pay the SBL, with the licensing and registration to start from Feb. "Imported products will be taxed when they are cleared for home consumption and locally manufactured products will be taxed at source", SARS said. The revenue service will engage industry stakeholders during planned roadshows, the dates of which will be published in Jan. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Sappi confirms expansion plan for dissolving wood pulp capacity - Creamer Media Reporter (SAP) 18/12/17 09:21:00

SAPPI has announced plans to "significantly" expand its dissolving wood pulp capacity by 2020, starting with the preparatory work for the potential expansion of its Saiccor DWP mill. The company aims to increase the mill's capacity by up to 250 000t/y to meet strong projected demand growth. "Building on the previously announced debottlenecking investments, which will increase the Saiccor mill's capacity by 10 000t/y by the end of 20187, work has also started at increasing the chipping capacity and modernising the Saiccor mill's wood yard", SAPPI said on Friday. The new equipment for the wood yard is scheduled to be delivered and installed at end-2018, with start-up planned for Jan. 2019. SAPPI is also in the process of expanding its DWP capacity at its Ngodwana mill by 50 000t/y through debottlenecking projects, with completion expected by Aug. 2018. "At our Cloquet mill, we are completing a study regarding the expansion of pulping capacity within our existing permit limits, maintaining our ability to make either DWP or kraft pulp", SAPPI added. The expansion is envisaged to enable DWP production to expand by around 30 000t/y and could be brought on line by mid-2019. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Vale workers in Moz down tools over bonus pay - Reuters () 18/12/17 09:21:00

Workers at VALE's Moatize mine in Mozambique downed tools on Friday in a dispute over bonus payments. The workers embarked on a strike early on Friday, paralysing work at the plant. VALE officials were not available to comment. Mozambican Miramar television quoted workers saying that VALE cut the bonus because the price of coal had dropped sharply globally, and wanted the bonus reinstated as the price has recovered. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


PanAf completes BEE restructure - Creamer Media Reporter (PAN) 18/12/17 09:21:00

PAN AFRICAN RESOURCES has completed the restructuring of its BEE ownership structures. The company has replaced the current BEE equity shareholdings in the company, held through interests in PAR GOLD, with BEE shareholdings in EMERALD PANTHER INVESTMENTS. SA HOLDCO will house all PAN AFRICAN's South African mining operations following implementation of the deal. PAN AFRICAN's BEE ownership is calculated at 26%, comprising 21% in SA HOLDCOM and 5% from its on-mine employee ownership schemes. While the prior BEE ownership structure terminates during Dec. 2018, the new BEE structure will only terminate on Dec. 31, 2021, equating to a three-year extension. PAN AFRICAN has established a new BEE entity, CONCRETE ROSE, which will house the interests to be acquired in SA HOLDCOM, with BABINDU holding 24.75%, PANAF RESOURCES MANAGEMENT TRUST 10.5%, PANAF RESOURCES EDUCATION TRUST 4.95% and ALPHA INVESTMENT 9.9%. The remaining shares in CONCRETE ROSE are held by FUND CO with 49.9%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Hummingbird starts Yanfolila ore commissioning - Natasha Odendaal () 18/12/17 07:44:00

HUMMINGBIRD RESOURCES expects first gold production from its Yanfolila mine before the end of Dec. as ore commissioning gets under way. "Ore commissioning represents the final step ahead of first gold production at Yanfolila. Everybody on site is totally focused on a smooth ramp-up of the plant as we look to move into the production phase", HUMMINGBIRD CEO DAN BETTS said. Commercial ramp-up is expected during Q1 2018, with a target of delivering 130 000oz of gold during the first full year of production, which is projected to generate around $70m of free cash flow at a gold price of $1 250/oz. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


AMCU laments 'lack of consultation' over Sibanye-Stillwater's acquisition of Lonmin - Dylan Slater (SGL) 18/12/17 07:44:00

Trade union AMCU has taken issue with the proposed all-share buyout of LONMIN by SIBANYE-STILLWATER. AMCU said the R5bn buyout will lead to SIBANYE-STILLWATER assuming "full control of LONMIN", thereby granting the current LONMIN shareholders an 11.3% stake in SIBANYE-STILLWATER. This is of "great concern" to AMCU, which said the mining companies had not consulted with it, the majority union at LONMIN. AMCU said such actions "once again confirm that for the mining bosses of this country, workers are nothing more than machines who should have no say" in the manner in which the economic affairs of the country are managed". According to AMCU, the buying out of competitors serves to concentrate power in the hands of a small group of "capitalist bosses" which the union also suggests uses such power to restructure companies, thereby "maximising their profits". It said the merged entity will try to cut costs "and this will mean job losses, 'consultation' and extreme forms of intimidation in an effort to extract greater profits". The union warned that it will "fight and not sit quietly as our members' future is destroyed". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Amplats expects double-digit rise in FY earnings - Natasha Odendaal (AMS) 18/12/17 07:44:00

ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM on Friday said cost cuts and an improved operational performance are expected to bolster earnings for the FY to end-Dec. by at least 20%. The company said headline earnings and HEPS for 2017 would be R373m and 143cps higher than the respective R1.8bn and 713cps reported in FY2016. Basic earnings and EPS are anticipated to be R126m and 48cps higher than the R632m and 241cps respectively reported y/y. AMPLATS will report results on Feb. 19. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Rio Tinto not expected to relinquish interest in Freeport Indonesia until 2022 - Reuters () 18/12/17 07:44:00

RIO TINTO is not expected until 2022 to relinquish its interest in the Grasberg copper mine in Indonesia, operated by PT FREEPORT INDONESIA, a government official said on Friday. "In 2022 it will automatically convert to a shareholding", the official said, referring to RIO's 40% participating interest in Grasberg under a JV with PT FREEPORT INDONESIA. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


CAPCO caps prime Covent Garden deal - Roy Cokayne (CCO) 18/12/17 07:44:00

CAPITAL & COUNTIES has acquired the leasehold interest in 15-17 Long Acre & 27b Floral Street in Convent Garden for £79m before purchaser's costs. MICHELLE MCGRATH, a director of CAPCO COVENT GARDEN, said the purchase of the property was in line with the group's strategy of acquiring prime assets at Covent Garden that offered the opportunity to create value. CAPCO said the property was located at the western end of Floral Street, opposite the Floral Court development, and benefits from dual frontage on both Floral Street and Long Acre. It presented long-term asset management opportunities, and generated an annual rental income of £3.4m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


NERSA allows Eskom to raise tariffs by 5% - Tanisha Heiberg () 18/12/17 07:44:00

NERSA on Friday said it had granted ESKOM a 5.23% electricity tariff hike for the 2018/19 FY, less tan the 19.9% the utility had requested. ESKOM has said the 2.2% tariff hike it was granted by the regulator for 2017/18 had presented challenges to its liquidity position for the current FY, and hoped it would get a higher raise this year. It was granted a 9.4% tariff rise in the 2016/17 FY. "We are disappointed that we couldn't get at least a double digit increase or at least what we were hoping for", ESKOM spokesperson KHULU PHASIWE said. "We how have to go back to the drawing board". ESKOM is already reliant on R350bn in guarantees from the Treasury, and has been persistently cited by rating agencies as one of the biggest risks to SA's credit rating. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


STAR to repay $1.2bn loan to Steinhoff - Tiisetso Motsoeneng (SRR) 18/12/17 07:44:00

STEINHOFF's African business is preparing to repay $1.2bn it owes to its parent, it said on Friday. STEINHOFF is seeking to raise $2.4bn to shore up its finances. STEINHOFF AFRICA RETAIL said it had appointed RAND MERCHANT BANK to arrange the refinancing of around R16bn in shareholder loans from the parent company. Reuters last week reported that STEINHOFF was also considering selling its stakes worth $1.4bn in PSG GROUP and KAP INDUSTRIAL to fill the hole in its balance sheet. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Angola 2018 budget forecasts 4.9% growth - Stephen Eisenhammer () 18/12/17 07:44:00

Angola's government expects the country's economy to grow 4.9% next year, according to a draft of the state budget presented to parliament on Friday. The budget forecasts a fiscal deficit of 2.9% of GDP in 2018 with government revenue and expenditure of 9.6tn kwanzas, according to a report by state news agency Angop on Friday. "This is a budget built on very realistic foundations, we want the numbers presented to be perfectly realisable", Economic Development Minister MANUEL NUNES JUNIOR said. The 4.9% growth forecast is well above the 1.6% growth expected by the IMF for Angola next year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Egypt's Zohr gas field to start production at 350m cft/day - Nadine Awadalla () 18/12/17 07:44:00

Egypt's offshore Zorh gas field in the Mediterranean is live and set to produce an initial 350m cubic feet per day, the petroleum ministry said on Saturday. Discovered in 2015 by ENI, the field contains an estimated 30tn cubic feet of gas. Egypt has been seeking to speed up production from recently discovered fields, with an eye to halting imports by 2019 and achieving self-sufficiency. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 18/12/2017 () 18/12/17 07:44:00

At 07h44 on 18 December 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.07 ZAR/EUR 15.38 ZAR/GBP 17.43 Gold 1255.33 Platinum 894.00 Brent Crude Oil 62.61 All Share 57412.76


Russia to bail out Promsvyazbank - Max Seddon () 15/12/17 10:19:00

Russia's central bank today announced it would nationalise PROMSVYAZBANK, the country's ninth largest lender, in the third such collapse in under four months. PROMSVYAZBANK, which has Rbs1.3tn in assets, will be taken over by a fund set up to save struggling lenders, the central bank said. The bank will continue to function as normal and receive extra liquidity support. PROMSVYAZBANK, owned by brothers DMITRY and ALEXEI ANANIEV, is the third top ten bank to go under since the new fund was launched in the summer, as well as the second on the central bank's list of "systemically important lenders". The central bank rescued OTKRITIE, formerly Russia's largest private bank, and B&N at the end of the summer. It is currently merging them with a view to an IPO of the recapitalised entity in three years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


H&M to close more stores after Q4 sales 'significantly below expectations' - Katie Martin () 15/12/17 10:19:00

Swedish fashion retailer H&M says it will be shutting more stores and boosting its online efforts after its Q4 from Sep. to Nov. held down FY gains. All told, group sales rose by 4% y/y, but with neat symmetry, they declined by 4% in Q4 y/y. The issues were varied. "The growth was dampened by the fact that the sales development in the fourth quarter was significantly below the company's own expectations... The quarter was weak for the H&M brand's physical stores, which were negatively affected by a continued challenging market situation with reduced footfall to stores due to the ongoing shift in the industry. In addition, there have been imbalances in parts of the H&M brand's assortment composition. In order to correct this, a number of actions have been taken. Moreover, the management team of the H&M brand has recently been strengthened", the retailer said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Kweichow Moutai reported to plan 3 IPOs by 2020 - Alice Woodhouse () 15/12/17 10:19:00

CHINA KWEICHOW MOUTAI DISTILLERY GROUP has said it plans three IPOs of its businesses by 2020, according to a report by Bloomberg. The company's chair YUAN RENGUO told Bloomberg it plans to list its e-commerce business, its agricultural arm and a business selling its Xijiu mid-tier liquor. The company's listed unit, KWEICHOW MOUTAI, overtook DIAGEO as the world's largest liquor company by market cap earlier this year. Its share price has jumped 98% for the year to date. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Oracle shares slip as cloud growth misses but quarterly results top view - Richard Waters () 15/12/17 10:19:00

ORACLE's stock fell by around 4% in after-market trading on Thursday as its cloud revenues turned up just shy of Wall Street forecasts, even as quarterly revenues and earnings topped estimates. The slip follows a 20% gain over the past year as investors have grown increasingly confident that the company's transition to the cloud is starting to pay off. Co-CEO SAFRA CATZ said the results reflected "the increasing scale and the gathering momentum" in the cloud business, which now accounts for more than 15% of sales. Cloud revenues rose 44% to $1.52bn but were just shy of forecasts for $1.56bn. That lifted ORACLE's overall growth to 6%, with revenues of $6.9bn slightly ahead of an expected $9.52bn. Pro forma EPS rose 14% to 70cps, two cents higher than forecast. The cloud business was once again boosted by cloud-based applications, which registered a 55% revenue jump, to $1.1bn. By contrast, the cloud platform and infrastructure businesses revenues rose 21% to $396m. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Adobe shares up on upbeat quarterly results - Mamta Badkar () 15/12/17 10:19:00

ADOBE SYSTEMS said its quarterly revenue grew 25% in its Q4 ended Dec. 1, but its outlook showed its blistering pace of growth is slowing. Shares in the group were up 1.7% to $178.01 as it reported that revenues rose 25% y/y to $2.01bn in Q4. That topped analysts' estimates of $1.95bn. Net income rose to $501.5m in the quarter, compared with $399.6m y/y. EPS rose to $1.00, up from 80cps y/y. Adjusting for one-time items, earnings of $1.26/share also topped analysts' estimates of $1.16. While revenues increased 25% y/y in fiscal 2017, it is expected to cool to 19.5% in 2018. Looking ahead, ADOBE is targeting fiscal 2018 adjusted earnings of $5.50/share, on revenue of $8.725bn. That compared with analysts' estimates for earnings of $5.52/share, on sales of $8.729bn. For the current quarter, ADOBE expects adjusted EPS of $1.27, ahead of Wall Street projections for $1.24/shgare, on revenues of $2.04bn, in line with forecasts. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Costco profit benefits from higher membership fees - Jessica Dye () 15/12/17 10:19:00

COSTCO saw its revenue rise 13.3% y/y in the most recent quarter as rising membership fees and the addition of the Black Friday shopping day helped boost its bottom line. The US retailer said sales for the quarter ending Nov. 26 came to $31.12bn, a hair shy of the $13.3bn analysts expected. It was a 13.3% increase on the same quarter y/y. The first quarter of COSTCO's fiscal 2018 saw a 1.5% net benefit thanks to the timing of Black Friday that fell during the period. Net income came in at $640m, up from $545m y/y and ahead of the $587m analysts were looking for. Earnings per diluted share were $1.45, topping forecasts for $1.33. COSTCO earlier this year raised the fees it charges shoppers to become members to gain access to its stores. That helped raise its membership fee revenue to $690m in the quarter, from $630m y/y. Comparable sales of 10.5% during the quarter fell to 7.9% when the effects of gas, inflation and currency were stripped out. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Mexico cbank raises key rate - Jude Webber () 15/12/17 10:19:00

The Bank of Mexico raised its key lending rate by a quarter point to 7.25% in the first monetary policy meeting under the stewardship of new governor ALEJANDRO DIAZ DE LEON. Rising inflation forced a U-turn on previous long-held expectations of a hold, in line with most market expectations. In bringing the rate to an eight-year high, Mexico's central bank followed in the footsteps of the Federal Reserve, which delivered its third rate rise of the year on Wednesday. Inflation rose to an annual rate of 6.63% in Nov., near a 16-year high. Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted the increase by a slender margin. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


FCC votes to scrap US net neutrality rules - Richard Waters () 15/12/17 10:19:00

The Federal Communications Commission has followed through on its pledge to scrap US net neutrality rules adopted in the final years of the OBAMA administration. Commissioners voted 3-2, on partly lines, to jettison the regulations. The expected decision signals a major victory for cable and telecoms companies, who will be freed to charge internet companies higher prices for guaranteed delivery of their services. COMCAST and AT&T have promised they won't take advantage of their new freedoms to block or slow down internet services running over their networks, though they stopped short of searing off using internet "fast lanes" or giving preference to their in-house video services, leaving them free to generate new sources of revenue. FCC chair AJIT PAI said rolling back the net neutrality rules would return the intenet to "the light touch regulation" that has existed before 2015. "It is not going to kill democracy", he added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Updated market indicators for 08/11/2017 () 15/12/17 10:19:00

At 10h19 on 08 November 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.48 ZAR/EUR 15.90 ZAR/GBP 18.11 Gold 1256.99 Platinum 880.00 Brent Crude Oil 62.62 All Share 57593.73


Teva to cut 14 000 jobs, suspends dividend in major restructuring - David Crow () 15/12/17 09:31:00

Israeli drugmaker TEVA yesterday said it would cut 14 000 jobs even after the national trade union body called a general strike and threatened "total war" to stop the plans. The company did not say where it would make the cuts, equivalent to 25% of its global workforce. Unions fear roughly 7 000 Israeli workers will bear the brunt of job losses. As well as announcing plans to close a "significant number" of factories and research centres, TEVA said it would suspend its dividend and sell off assets as it seeks to cut its $16bn of annual costs by $3bn before the end of 2019. The company is groaning under $35bn of debt, much of it taken on to fund the ill-fated acquisition of ALLERGAN's generics business, which closed shortly before the price of copycat medicines started to crumble. Last month, FITCH downgraded TEVA's rating to junk territory, citing "significant operational stress at a time when it needs to reduce debt". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Disney to buy 21st Century Fox assets in $66bn deal - Matthew Garrahan () 15/12/17 09:31:00

RUPERT MURDOCH's 21ST CENTURY FOX has agreed to sell its entertainment businesses to WALT DISNEY in a landmark $66bn deal with far-reaching implications for the global media landscape if it is approved by regulators. DISNEY will consolidate its position as the world's largest media company if the deal is cleared, adding FOX's 39% stake in SKY and the 20TH CENTURY FOX movie studio to a vast portflio of brands and intellectual property. Under the terms of the deal, DISNEY will pay $52.4bn in stock. Including $13.7bn in debt, the total transaction value is $66.1bn. Shareholders of 21ST CENTURY FOX will receive 0.2745 in new DISNEY shares for each 21ST CENTURY FOX share they hold. FOX shareholders will own about 25% of the combined company. DISNEY CEO BOB IGER has extended his contract until 2021 to bed down the acquisition. DISNEY said it would seek $2bn in cost savings from the deal. It expects FOX to complete its takeover of SKY by the end of H1 2018. DISNEY will end up as the ultimate owner of SKY as long as that transaction completes before DISNEY's deal. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


BoE keeps rates on hold in unanimous decision - Chris Giles () 15/12/17 09:31:00

The Bank of England yesterday held its benchmark interest rate at 0.5% in a unanimous 9-0 vote. The central bank confirmed it thinks "further modest increases" in interest rates are likely to be needed to help bring inflation down to its target of 2% over the next few years. If the central bank follows this course, it would bring official interest rates up from 0.5% now towards 1% by the end of 2018. Though borrowing would become more expensive, that rate would still represent a historically low level of interest rates and would still be encouraging households and businesses to borrow and spend. With the monetary policy committee now believing the UK economy cannot grow much faster than 1.5% a year without pushing up inflation, the BoE's outlook for the economy and living standards remains weak and much less optimistic than before the EU referendum. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Putin to run for re-election as an independent - Kathrin Hille () 15/12/17 09:31:00

Russian President VLADIMIR PUTIN will run for re-election not as a candidate of the ruling United Russia party but as an independent, he announced yesterday. The move underscores the Kremlin's determination to cast him as a leader who has grown far beyond ordinary politicians. United Russia's support and trust ratings lag far behind those of PUTIN himself, which continue to stand above 80%. PUTIN said he did not see any opposition politicians who qualified as a true alternative to himself. Without mentioning anti-corruption blogger ALEXEI NAVALNY, PUTIN said: "We can't just talk about a noisy opposition politician fighting against an undemocratic regime. The opposition has to come up with something. The opposition have to come up with a programme to make our country better". This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Rising US shale output may lead to early 2018 oil supply surplus - IEA - Anjli Raval () 15/12/17 09:31:00

US shale oil companies will help output from outside the OPEC cartel to grow faster than initially expected next year, with global supply and demand not forecast to balance until late 2018, the International Energy Agency said yesterday. The IEA said US drilling and well completion rates have picked up as prices have rebounded, meaning output is set to rise. The uptick will be closely watched by oil forecasters and producers which last month joined forces to extend an agreement to curb supplies through 2018. "2018 might not be quite so happy for OPEC producers", the IEA said, adding that hopes that inventories will shrink at the same pace as this year "may not be fulfilled". Total supply growth could exceed demand growth in the coming months, with the IEA calculating an oil surplus of 200 000 bpd in H1 2018 before the market sees a deficit of 200 000 bpd later next year. The IEA raised US crude oil growth to 390 000 bpd this year and 870 000 bpd for 2018. Non-OPEC output, led by the US, will expand by 630 000 bpd in 2017, followed by an increase of 1.6m bpd during 2018 which is an uptick of 200 000 bpd from prior forecasts. Meanwhile, OPEC crude supply fell in Nov. for the fourth consecutive month to 32.4m bpd. Commercial oil stockpiles in industrialised nations fell 40.3m barrels in Oct. to 2.9m barrels. The IEA maintained its forecast for global demand growth at 1.5m bpd in 2017 and 1.3m bpd for 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


ECB changes collateral rules for unsecured bank bonds - Thomas Hale () 15/12/17 09:30:00

The ECB has changed its collateral rules for certain bank bonds, in a move that reflects the risks facing holders of financial debt in a post-crisis regulatory era. The central bank requires borrowers to post collateral when it lends to the banking sector. Yesterday, it announced that a new class of unsecured subordinated bank bonds will be excluded from the list of securities that can be used as collateral, meaning that any financial institutions that hold them will be unable to use them to borrow cheaply from the ECB. The move, which stands to affect tens of billions of euros of outstanding bonds, comes after European regulations have sought to transfer the risk of banking failure to bond investors. As such, it highlights the greater degree of risk facing investors in bank bonds, and reduces their attractiveness for certain buyers. The European move reflects a wider global push for a post-crisis regulatory model which avoids the need for taxpayers to bail out financial institutions. The central bank added that old-style senior bonds which are not subordinated will still be eligible to be used as collateral, as will bonds issued by certain agencies. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Disney will pay Fox $2.5bn if regulators block deal - Arash Massoudi () 15/12/17 09:30:00

DISNEY has agreed to pay 21ST CENTURY FOX $2.5bn if their first-announced $66bn transaction is blocked by regulators, according to a regulatory filing yesterday. FOX would owe DISNEY $1.5bn if it walks away from the deal in lieu of a higher bid. DISNEY will likewise be on the hook to FOX for a $1.5bn fee if FOX pulls the plug because DISNEY's board changes its recommendation on the deal before DISNEY shareholder approval is secured, the filing said. The fees highlight the hurdles that the deal still faces before it can be fully consummated, including what will likely be tough scrutiny by antitrust and communications regulators about its possible effect on the entertainment industry. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


ECB defends 'small' losses on Steinhoff bonds - Katie Martin (SNH) 15/12/17 09:30:00

ECB chief MARIO DRAGHI has defended the central bank's purchases of bonds issued by STEINHOFF that have since tanked in value. DRAGHI said the "scope of the [bond-buying] programme is not to maximise profits or minimise losses, so let's bear that in mind". Any losses relating to the bonds are very small as a proportion of the central bank's overall bond-buying scheme, and have been exaggerated in reports "by a factor of 10", he said. "We have a risk framework which has served very very well since beginning of the existence of the ECB, and if we need to draw lessons, we will certainly draw lessons", DRAGHI added. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ineos declares force majeure on Forties pipeline crude deliveries - Anjli Raval () 15/12/17 09:30:00

Deliveries of crude oil via the Forties pipeline in the North Sea are under force majeure after a crack in the system prompted an emergency shutdown, with operator INEOS saying repairs are expected to last for weeks. The Forties network has been closed since Monday as INEOS assessed how to fix the hairline crack in an onshore section close to Aberdeen, Scotland. "At this stage it is still too early to say how long the repair will take to complete, but it is expected to be a matter of weeks rather than days", INEOS said yesterday. Oil industry analysts said enacting force majeure are uncommon in the North Sea. "Although North Sea cargoes are often delayed form one month to the next, it is very rare for force majeure to be declared, highlighting the severity of the issue", analysts at consultancy FGE said. "For INEOS to declare force majeure suggests to me this is a big deal", one London-based oil trader said. "I'm surprised markets are taking it rather calmly as I suspect something more is going on and this is not a straightforward fix". Brent was trading at $62.22/barrel yesterday afternoon. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US consumers spend more than expected in Nov. - Pan Kwan Yuk () 15/12/17 09:30:00

Americans stepped up their spending in Nov., providing a welcome sign of consumer sentiment for retailers ahead of the all-important holiday shopping season. Retail sales in the economy rose 0.8% last month from Oct., the Commerce Department said yesterday. The figure is ahead of the 0.3% increase the market was expecting and comes on top of a 0.5% advance recorded in Oct. Control retail sales, which exclude volatile items like vehicles, fuel sales and other products, also rose 0.8% from Oct., topping analysts' forecasts for a 0.4% rise. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Steinhoff chair Wiese quits supervisory board after scandal - Bloomberg (SNH) 15/12/17 08:07:00

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL's chairperson and largest shareholder, CHRISTO WIESE, is stepping down from the supervisory board after an accounting scandal engulfed the retailer. The board accepted WIESE's resignation to resolve questions of conflict of interest, STEINHOFF said yesterday. HEATHER SONN, a member of the board and its independent subcommittee, will take the role of acting chair. WIESE had stepped in to lead the company on an interim basis last week after MARKUS JOOSTE quit as CEO as the company postponed publishing its financial results. WIESE's son JACOB also resigned from the board, STEINHOFF said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Comair acquires new training facility - Fin24 (COM) 15/12/17 08:07:00

COMAIR has acquired EPT AVIATION TRAINING as part of ongoing diversification of its non-airline operations. COMAIR has developed a successful in-house pilot training facility, which it has since expanded, offering training to 34 airlines and air forces. Captain GLEN WARDEN, head of COMAIR's training facilities, said the acquisition will provide school-leavers and other job-seekers who are interested in a career in aviation, the opportunity to enter the aviation sector and help promote standardisation and the promotion of high standards across the industry. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Standard Bank SA appointes Lungisa Fuzile as CEO - Fin24 with Bloomberg (SBK) 15/12/17 08:07:00

STANDARD BANK SA yesterday announced the appointment of LUNGISA FUZILE as its new CEO with effect from Jan. 15 2018. The former Treasury director general will replace SIM TSHABALALA, who as recently as Sep. 2017 took over as sole CEO of the bank. Before this, and since 2008, TSHABALALA shared the CEO role with BEN KRUGER. TSHABALALA will become group CEO, with FUZILE reporting to him. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Green light for PIC, hospital group merger - Fin24 () 15/12/17 08:07:00

A merger in which the PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION will obtain a shareholding in the CLINIX HOSPITAL GROUP has been approved by the Competition Tribunal, without conditions. CLINIX controls a number of private hospitals across Gauteng and the North West, built in or around lower income areas and targeting lower income earners. Pre-transaction, CLINIX is controlled by FRIEDSHELF 41, which is controlled by the KOP SHARE TRUTS, MATSEKE MEDICAL INVESTMENTS and CLINIX. The deal will see the PIC acquiring a sufficient shareholding in CLINIX to afford it minority shareholder protections. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


EPP posts strong results - Megan van Wyngaardt (EPP) 15/12/17 08:07:00

ECHO POLSKA PROPERTIES has posted growth in distributable earnings to €59.2m and a distribution per share of €0.8 for the nine months to end-Sep. CEO HADLEY DEAN said the company was pleased with another robust performance, with all key indicators in line with forecasts. Net profit for the period came to €56.41m, while total NAV talled €844m equating to a net asset value per share of €1.20. Footfall in the retail portfolio rose by 5.1% during the period, with sales up 9.6%. The loan-to-value ration remained static at 52.7%, with an average cost of debt of 2.09%. Post period-end, EPP announced its €692m acquisition of the M1 portfolio, comprising 12 retail properties as well as the disposal of three offices. Vacancies in the retail portfolio stood at 1.66%, while rent-to-sales improved to 10.1% with an occupancy cost ratio of 13.3%. The weighted average lease term by gross lettable area stood at 5.30 years. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Ansys acquires LAWtrust - Natasha Odendaal (ANS) 15/12/17 08:07:00

ANSYS has entered into a sales agreement with the shareholders of IT developer LAW TRUSTED THIRD PARTY SERVICES to acquire the firm for an undisclosed sum. ANSYS said the deal remained subject to conditions precedent, including Competition Commission approval. ANSYS expects the acquisition of LAWTRUST to bolster its current cybersecurity business via strategically aligned products and access to new markets. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Pioneer Foods eyes UK acquisition - Creamer Media Reporter (PFG) 15/12/17 08:07:00

PIONEER FOODS plans to acquire, for an undisclosed amount, UK-based THE GOOD CARB FOOD COMPANY, owner of granola brand Lizi's, to add to its breakfast cereals portfolio. PIONEER FOODS UK has been manufacturing Lizi's products under contract for THE GOOD CARB FOOD COMPANY. "This purchase is in line with our strategic plans for acquisitions in geographies and categories where we have an existing presence", PIONEER FOODS CEO TERTIUS CARSTENS said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Current acc deficit narrows, FDI and trade surplus up - Reuters () 15/12/17 08:07:00

SA's current account deficit narrowed slightly to 2.3% of GDP in Q3 and foreign direct investment in the country grew, as did the trade surplus. The current account deficit narrowed as an increase in agricultural exports was offset by declines in sales of mining and manufactured goods. The economy grew 2% in Q3 after a 2.8% advance in the second quarter. The SARB however still fears the political and policy uncertainty that led to a credit downgrade of the country's local currency debt to junk by S&P in Nov. will continue to weigh on business and consumer confidence, and therefore growth. The trade surplus continued to grow, rising to R71bn from a revised R64bn in the prior quarter, the SARB said. FDI recorded an inflow of R19.2bn in the quarter from an inflow of nearly R4bn previously. Portfolio flows also rose, with the amount of non-residents buying shares and bonds worth R88.4bn from R74.7bn. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Orion identifies exploration targets through survey - Megan van Wyngaardt (ORN) 15/12/17 08:07:00

A 962 km² high-power SkyTEM airborne electromagnetic survey that ORION MINERALS started at the Areachap Belt in the Northern Cape late last month has identified four primary and 11 secondary priority targets for exploration. The company now intends to expand its activities to begin drill testing the highly prospective paleo seafloor for zinc/copper rich massive sulphide mineralisation in early 2018. The first flight block of the survey, covering the Masiqhame prospecting right, was completed on Dec. 6. The survey is planned for completion in late Jan. and all data is being continually reviewed and processed by ORION's Perth-based international consultants SOUTHERN GEOSCIENCE CONSULTANTS. ORION plans to follow up selected anomalies with infill airborne EM and/or high-powered ground EM surveys. "The initial results from our advanced airborne survey are extremely encouraging and underscore the exceptional geological potential of this geological belt. The results justify high-priority follow-up work and also continued application of these modern techniques, across the highly prospective Areachap Belt", ORION MD and CEO ERROL SMART said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Alphamin raises R33m in S African private placing - Natasha Odendaal (APH) 15/12/17 08:07:00

Tin exploration and development company ALPHAMIN RESOURCES has raised R33.8m via a South African private placement. ALPHAMIN will issue 9.95m units to the successful local participants at a price of R3.40/unit. The final number of common shares to be listed on the AltX later today will be 522.2m. Simultaneously, the company is undertaking a $53.6m TSX-V private placement, which is expected to conclude on Jan. 8. In total, ALPHAMIN would have raised some $56.1m via the two placements. The equity raisings will assist the company in jumping the final funding hurdle for its Bisie tin project in the DRC. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Biggest Australian business lender to stop new coal mine funding - Bloomberg () 15/12/17 07:08:00

NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK pledged to stop funding new thermal coal mine developments and boost lending to renewable energy projects as part of global efforts to tackle climate change. "While we will continue to support our existing customers across the mining and energy sectors, including those with existing coal assets, NAB will no longer finance new thermal coal mining projects", NAB said yesterday. The lender said it has created a A$200m fund that lends money to existing renewable energy projects. NAB has arranged A$6.2bn in loans for renewable energy projects since 2003, the fifth largest globally, the lender said. Renewable energy capacity in Australia is expected to more than double by 030 as coal generation declines, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Namibia inflation unchanged at 5.2% y/y in Nov. - Tanisha Heiberg () 15/12/17 07:08:00

Namibia's consumer inflation was unchanged at 5.2% y/y in Nov. from the previous month, the statistics office said yesterday. Inflation on a m/m basis rose to 0.3% from 0.1% in Oct., the statistics agency said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Namibia's economic recession deepens in Q3 - Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo () 15/12/17 07:08:00

Namibia's economy fell deeper into recession in Q3 as declines in the construction and trade sectors eclipsed growth in manufacturing and mining, the statistics agency said yesterday. The economy shrank by 1.9% in Q3 after a revised contraction of 0.7% in Q2. GDP contracted by 2.1% in Q1. "The poor performance is mainly attributed to construction, wholesale and retail trade, utility and fishing sectors that recorded a contraction in real value added", the statistics agency said. The IMF earlier this week said it expects Namibia's economic growth to be in negative territory this year, compared to a growth of 1.1% in 2016. The fund said growth was expected to resume in 2018 and accelerate thereafter to around 4% as output from new mines ramps up and manufacturing and retail activities recover. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nigeria repays $1.1bn worth of T-bills; overnight rates fall - Chijioke Ohuocha () 15/12/17 07:08:00

Nigeria's central bank repaid a total of 340bn naira worth of treasury bills yesterday instead of rolling them over, in a move to lower government borrowing costs. They included 131.4bn naira worth of T-bills issued by the Debt Management Office, while the balance was in open market bills issued by the central bank. The DMO has said it will repay T-bills maturing on Dec. 14 and Dec. 21 totalling 198.03bn naira. Yields on treasuries held up across the board at around 10% yesterday. They fell to 7% after the repayment plan was announced this week. The DMO said it sold 108.66bn naira worth of naira-denominated bonds maturing in 2021 and 2027 at an auction on Wednesday. It issued 50bn naira of 2021 debt at 13.19%, from 14.79% at the previous auction in Nov. The same tenor bond closed at 13.11% on the secondary market on Wednesday. A total of 58.66bn naira worth of the benchmark bond maturing in 2027 was issued at 13.21%, compared with 14.8% in Nov. The 2027 paper closed at 13.23% on the secondary market on Wednesday. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nigeria to issue $29m debut green bond next week - environment ministry - Alexis Akwagyiram () 15/12/17 07:08:00

Nigeria plans to issue a 10.69bn naira debut green bond next week, the first tranche of a 150bn naira programme, the environment ministry said yesterday. The bond, with a five-year tenor, will be used to fund projects to reduce carbon emissions and develop renewable energy. "The Federal Government of Nigeria will issue the first tranche of bonds from this programme during the week of 18th of December 2017", the environment ministry said. The programme was part of the government's effort to align with the global objective of expanding the market for climate finance. A ministry spokesperson gave the value of the first tranche to be issued and that of the overall programme. No details of the length of the programme were given. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


LafargeHolcim ends talks with PPC - Michael Shields (PPC) 15/12/17 07:08:00

LAFARGEHOLCIM has ended talks with PPC about a possible deal, the Swiss group said this week. Ireland's CRH had also decided not to bid for PPC, the South African cement maker said last week, leaving the field clear for rival suitors. Meanwhile, PPC chair PETER NELSON said the company is not interested in telling its assets or any merger talks in the short-term. "PPC is not looking to sell its assets, it's not looking to merge it's assets, it's looking to focus on its business, deliver cash flow and deliver shareholder value", NELSON said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Nigeria to release $1bn from excess crude account to fight Boko Haram - Felix Onuah () 15/12/17 07:08:00

Nigerian state governors yesterday approved the release of $1bn from a foreign reserves account to the government to fight Boko haram, the governor of Edo state said. The money comes from the account which holds foreign reserves from excess earnings from crude oil sales. "We are pleased with the federal government achievements in the insurgency war and in that vein state governors have approved that the sum of $1bn be taken from the excess crude account by the federal government to fight the insurgency war to its conclusion", GODWIN OBASEKI said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Zambia sees 2017 copper output rising - Chris Mfula () 15/12/17 07:08:00

Zambia's 2017 copper production is expected to rise to between 800 000t and 850 000t due to stable power supply and higher copper prices from 774 290t in 2016, Mines Minister CHRISTOPHER YALUMA said yesterday. Zambia's copper output is next year likely to increase further to reach 1mt, YALUMA said, citing improved power generation and higher prices. Zambia in Sep. estimated copper output to inch lower to 753 992t this year mainly due to lower output from KONKOLA COPPER MINES, a subsidiary of VEDANTA RESOURCES. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Lonmin says more than 12 000 jobs at risk over next three years - Ed Stoddard (LON) 15/12/17 07:08:00

LONMIN and SIBANYE-STILLWATER yesterday said that more than 12 000 jobs could be cut over the next three years after a $382m takeover by the latter. LONMIN has faced the combined pressures of low platinum prices and challenges of operating in SA, where retrenching workers to improve profitability is a fraught issue. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Market indicators for 15/12/2017 () 15/12/17 07:08:00

At 07h08 on 15 December 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.49 ZAR/EUR 15.90 ZAR/GBP 18.12 Gold 1254.39 Platinum 877.00 Brent Crude Oil 62.62 All Share 57845.57


Fed flags three more rate hikes in 2018 - Sam Fleming () 14/12/17 11:08:00

The Federal Reserve raised short term interest rates for a third time this year and predicted more hikes to follow in 2018. The Federal Open Market Committee increased the target range for the federal funds rate by a quarter point to 1.25%-1.5%. Policymakers' median forecast was for another three quarter-point increases in 2018 and two in 2019, even as they acknowledged inflation is continuing to undershoot their target. "The Committee continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace and labour market conditions will remain strong", the Fed said. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Disney deal set to value Fox at more than $75bn - Greg Roumeliotis () 14/12/17 11:08:00

WALT DISNEY's deal to buy film, television and international businesses from 21ST CENTURY FOX will value the latter at over $40/share, or $75bn, a source said. The deal, set to be announced today, will end more than half a century of expansion by RUPERT MURDOCH. Under the terms of the all-stock deal, FOX assets that will be sold to DISNEY, including the 20TH CENTURY FOX movie and TV studio, cable networks and international operations will be valued at around $29/share. FOX's remaining assets will be offered to existing FOX shareholders in a new company likely to be valued at more than $11/share. None of the MURDOCHS are expected to be given board seats at DISNEY. DISNEY will also buy FOX's stake in the HULU video streaming service, giving it majority control of the NETFLIX rival. Under the deal, DISNEY will gain access to 46m subscribers in three major markets, the US, Western Europe and India. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


China retail, investment growth hold steady in Nov. - Hudson Lockett () 14/12/17 11:08:00

China's retail sales and investment growth held basically steady in Nov. as a slight uptick in state-led spending continued to help prop up overall investment heading into the close of 2017. Total fixed-asset investment rose 7.2% during the first 11 months of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, down from 7.3% in the year through Oct. Retail sales growth in Nov. was up 0.2 percentage points from the previous month at 10.2% y/y, in line with expectations but still visibly down from June's peak for the year of 11%. Industrial production outperformed expectations, albeit by 0.1 percentage points, with a y/y rise of 6.1%, though that was a slight deceleration from October's rate of 6.2%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Australia's Myer tumbles to record low after pre-Christmas profit warning - Edward White () 14/12/17 11:08:00

MYER HOLDINGS sank to a record low today after the Australian retailer posted a profit warning amid deteriorating sales in the lead up to Christmas. Sydney-listed shares fell as much as 19% after the company warned weaker pre-Christmas sales would likely mean its HY profit would be "materially below" that of the y/y period. CEO RICHARD UMBERS said: "Trading during the past two weeks has been significantly below our expectations and the year to date run rate, and while there is an additional weekend of pre-Christmas trading this month, we do not know what the sales impact of that will be". He added that a stronger performance from MYER's online business was not enough to offset subdued in-store trading. Shares in the company pulled back from their intraday low to be off 7.6% after the lunch break in Sydney. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Deutsche to sell part of Polish business to Santander - James Shotter () 14/12/17 11:08:00

DEUTSCHE BANK has reached a €305m deal to sell parts of its Polish business to SANTANDER, as CEO JOHN CRYAN presses ahead with his plans to streamline the German lender. DEUTSCHE said it would sell its Polish private and commercial banking units to SANTANDER's Polish arm, BANK ZACHODNI WBK. However, a troublesome foreign currency mortgage portfolio will be excluded from the deal, and DEUTSCHE will keep its investment and transaction banking businesses in the Poland. The deal will cement BZ WBK's position as the third largest lender in Poland and is the latest sign of consolidation in the country's banking market. SANTANDER said the deal would see BZ WBK gain around €4.3bn in assets. The deal is not expected to have any effect on SANTANDER's capital ratios. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in Q4 2018. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US lawmakers close in on tax reform deal - Jessica Dye () 14/12/17 11:08:00

Hopes are rising for tax reform after a senior Republican lawmaker reportedly said an agreement has been reached on legislation to overhaul the tax code. Asked by reporters whether a deal had been reached in talks to reconcile competing bills passed earlier by the House of Representatives and Senate, Republican senator ORRIN HATCH said: "We have. I think we have a deal". The AP earlier reported that an agreement in principal had been reached on the deal, while the Wall Street Journal reported that the agreement would see the top individual rate lowered to 37% and corporate rate set at 21%. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


US crude stockpiles drop, gasoline keeps building - Jessica Dye () 14/12/17 11:08:00

US crude oil inventories have fallen sharply while gasoline stockpiles gained more than double the expected amount. Data from the Energy Information Administration showed US crude stockpiles fell by 5.1m barrels from a week earlier in the week ending Dec. 8. Gasoline inventories rose by 5.7m barrels, while distillates dropped by 1.4m barrels. Analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected crude inventories to fall by 3.76m barrels, a 2.45m build for gasoline and a 902 000 barrel rise for distillate fuels. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


OPEC raises forecasts for non-OPEC oil output - Anjli Raval () 14/12/17 11:08:00

OPEC has revised higher its output growth figures from producers outside of the cartel for this year and next, saying production presented "considerable uncertainties" for the oil market. Its research arm said that non-OPEC oil supply growth for 2017 now stands at 810 000 bpd, an upward revision of 150 000 bpd from prior forecasts. For 2018, OPEC estimates non-OPEC growth of 990 000 bpd, which has been revised higher by 120 000 bpd. The 2018 forecast for non-OPEC supply is "associated with considerable uncertainties" particularly regarding US tight oil developments, OPEC said. OPEC said oil from its members will stand at 33.2m bpd in 2018, which is higher than levels seen in 2017 and slightly higher than what the cartel expects demand for its crude to stand at next year. In November, output stood at almost 32.5m bpd. Global oil demand is projected to grow at 1.5m bpd in 2017, in line with last month's forecast, and by a similar level next year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Eurozone industrial output up 3.7% y/y - Katie Martin () 14/12/17 11:08:00

Industrial production in the euro area grew by 3.7% in the year to Oct., Eurostat said yesterday, after a 0.2% rise on the month. Ireland led the pack for the year with a rise of 13.4%, while the Netherlands recorded a decline of 0.4%. Separately, Eurostat also said employment rose by 0.4% in Q3 q/q, marking a 1.7% rise from the same period last year. This news brief represents a summary of the original article.


Updated market indicators for 08/11/2017 () 14/12/17 11:08:00

At 11h08 on 08 November 2017 the market indicators were as follows: ZAR/USD 13.44 ZAR/EUR 15.90 ZAR/GBP 18.06 Gold 1254.62 Platinum 882.00 Brent Crude Oil 62.77 All Share 57458.45


Zuma files papers to appeal ruling on Abrahams - BDpro () 14/12/17 10:08:00

President JACOB ZUMA has filed court papers, outlining why he is appealing a ruling that Deputy President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA should appoint a new national director of public prosecutions, eNCA reported this morning. The High Court in Pretoria last week ruled that the appointment of current prosecutions boss SHAUN ABRAHAMS was invalid and that ZUMA could not select his replacement, given that he is conflicted. ZUMA himself faces possible prosecution on 783 corruption-related cha