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Africa Brief: Business News from around the continent

Botswana’s Choppies to list on JSE

THE JSE will get another African boost when Botswana grocery retailer Choppies Enter­prises lists on the main board at the end of this month. This will be the fourth inward listing from the rest of the continent, following in the footsteps of Namibia’s Trustco, Botswana’s Wilderness Safaris and Nigeria’s Oando.

Choppies would use the sec­ondary listing to raise about R600m by issuing new shares equal to 10% of issued stock, CEO Ramachandran Ottappath said yesterday.

Choppies commands a mar­ket capitalisation of 5.2-billion pula (about R6.3bn) on the Botswana Stock Exchange.

Publication: Business day

Author: SIKONATHI MANTSHANTSHA

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African Bank gets CEO for ‘good’ unit

A NEW CEO was yesterday appointed to the “good” part of African Bank in the latest step in its curatorship. Former Wesbank CEO Brian Riley will lead the entity which has the good loans of African Bank and which will absorb Stangen, the insurance arm of the failed African Bank Invest­ments Limited.

Mr Riley’s hiring also gives the “good” bank an opportunity to grow in vehicle asset financing although this type of lending is expected to be done on an unsec­ured basis in the short term.

In the past African Bank owned the commercial vehicle asset finance division, which is now known as SA Taxi and owned by Transaction Capital.

Publication: BUSINESS DAY

Author: PHAKAMISA NDZAMELA

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ArcelorMittal SA to cut output

STEEL I ArcelorMittal SA will cut its second-quarter production by 6% due to slack demand from its domestic market, it said yesterday. “Production is to be reduced by a further 6% to 4,300 tonnes a day to reduce the steel stock on hand,” the company said in a presentation delivered at its Newcastle steel plant in KwaZulu-Natal. Reuters.

Publication: BUSINESS DAY
Author: Reuters

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RioZim to build 1,400MW coal-fired power plant

POWER utility Eskom would be willing to buy electricity from coal-fired power stations being planned in Zimbabwe, as and when the utility had a shortfall, but it would not provide assistance to finance those projects, spokes­man Khulu Phasiwe said yesterday. Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed mining company RioZim this week became the second owner of large coal deposits in Zimbabwe to announce plans to build a power station, to help alleviate the acute shortage of electricity in Southern Africa.

RioZim was considering a $2.1bn invest­ment in a 1, 4G0MW plant using its deposit at Sengwa to supply its own needs and to sell to Eskom and Namibia Power Corporation, Reuters reports.

Last year Makomo Resources, Zim­babwe’s biggest private-sector coal producer, said it was considering building a $1.5bn, 600MW coal-Fired power plant near Harare, to be financed partly by Chinese investors.

Publication: BUSINESS DAY
Author: CHARLOTTE MATHEWS

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Glencore’s SA coal production grows

GROWTH in its South African ferrochrome and coal opera­tions were a highlight amid a mixed production perfor­mance for the March quarter reported by diversified global miner Glencore yesterday.

Although prices for almost all commodities have con- tinued to weaken, reflecting oversupply, expansion pro­jects launched during the years of higher prices are only now coming on stream. Attributable ferrochrome production had risen 15% to 385,000 tonnes compared with the same quarter last year, as the Lion 2 expansion project started last April, Glencore said. Total coal pro­duction from SA, Australia and South America grew 4% to 35.6-million tonnes, driven by the commissioning of two new projects in SA.

Glencore, which produces and markets more than 90 commodities, including agricultural produce, reported higher quarterly out­put of ferrochrome, nickel and zinc compared with a year ago but lower output of copper, cobalt, lead and platinum group metals (PGMs).

Publication: BUSINESS DAY
Author: CHARLOTTE MATHEWS

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Car exporters back in the driving seat

SA’s motor industry export earnings are recovering from an “aberration” that saw the industry’s trade deficit widen sharply in 2013-2014, writes David Furlonger

Strike action badly damaged the industry, which exports more than half the vehicles it produces. Its foreign earnings were also hurt by a prolonged shutdown at one of SA’s main exporters, Mercedes-Benz SA (MBSA). To make a bad situ­ation worse, sales to some African markets were under­mined by policy changes and low oil prices, which caused countries such as Nigeria and Angola to defer orders.

Figures in the 2015 Automo­tive Export Manual appear to show a narrowing of the industry’s trade deficit since the 2013 introduction of the Auto­motive Production and Devel­opment Programme.

Publication: BUSINESS DAY
Author: David Furlonger

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PIC mulls larger Vodacom slice

TELECOMS I The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) is considering increasing its stake in Vodacom by buying government-owned shares in the wireless operator, people familiar with the plans said. PIC, which already owns 3.19% of Vodacom, is seeking advisers for a deal that could make it the company’s second-largest shareholder after UK carrier Vodafone, said one source. The government’s 13.9% stake is worth R30.5bn at Vodacom’s current share price. Bloomberg

Publication: BUSINESS DAY
Author: Bloomberg

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Vodacom Tanzania plans to expand

VODACOM Tanzania, the country’s biggest cellular operator, will spend 200 billion shillings (R1.2bn) expanding its network this year to tap market potential in rural areas and add mobile-money subscribers.

The company, which belongs to a South African unit of UK-based Vodafone, planned to work with rival operators to provide access to more remote areas hampered by a lack of electricity and roads, said Georgia Mutagahywa, the head of corporate affairs. She said that the company wanted to increase the number of customers for its mobile money-transfer service, known as M-Pesa, by 25 percent by the end of this year. Tanzania’s rural population was “where growth will come from in the next decade”, Mutagahywa said last week. About 70 percent of the country’s 45 million people live in rural areas, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Vodacom Tanzania has a 37 per­cent share of the mobile market in Tanzania. The country has 56 cellphone subscribers per 100 inhabitants, compared with 73 in Nigeria and 146 in South Africa -the continent’s two biggest economies – according to data from the Geneva-based Interna­tional Telecommunication Union.     

Publication: THE STAR BUSINESS REPORT
Author: Felix Njini

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About Femi Oke

Relentless passion for creativity and digital acumen to help a professional services firm thrive in the digital space. Femi is an individual with a rich experience on regional African knowledge, its diverse business culture and he understands the continent’s economic drive. He thrives on selfless service and lasting mutually beneficial relationships with colleagues and especially clients encountered in the course of his duties. He is creative, practical and self-motivated with business judgement in corporate, brand and strategic communications, social, digital & traditional media and executive profiling. Roles in the firm include New Media, Digital Communication, Corporate Communication, executive profiling and Brand Management execution. Working on the multi-million dollar Africa high growth market project stands out for femi; besides this, managing all KPMG’s digital communication for the World Economic Forum on Africa is another project that gives him great delight. Femi holds a Masters Degree in Global Marketing from the University of Liverpool.

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