Gigaba Wants Steinhoff & Auditors Investigated

Finance minister Malusi Gigaba has reacted with  “concern” to the recent revelations on Steinhoff International’s accounting irregularities. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) will be conducting an internal audit into the holdings company and is expected to report its findings to Gigaba. Gigaba said he had requested the Financial Services Board, Public Investment Corporation, and the Government Employees Pension Fund to provide him with a report on the extent of exposure for retirement funds. “The minister expects that this report will give assurances that the interests of the shareholders are protected, including their retirement and savings funds,” said Gigaba. Gigaba said he supported the FSB’s independent investigation into possible false and misleading reports in terms of section 81 of the Financial Markets Act, as well as any related abuses regarding Steinhoff.

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Moodys Downgrades Steinhoff

Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Steinhoff by four notches to B1, and placed the global retailer’s rating on review for further downgrade. The rating agency said in a statement late on Thursday that it had downgraded the issuer ratings of Steinhoff International Holdings and Steinhoff Investment Holdings, and the senior unsecured notes rating of Steinhoff Europe to B1 from Baa3.

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EOH Shares Tumble 34%

Software and technology company EOH plunged 34.7% on Thursday to close at R45. The free-fall came one day after investigators from the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) reportedly searched the home of Keith Keating, a director of three businesses owned by the group, over his involvement in corrupt government contracts. On Wednesday, Daily Maverick reported that Keating was implicated in alleged procurement irregularities in the South African Information and Technology Agency and South African Police Service (SAPS) amounting to about R6.1bn. EOH’s share price has fallen more than 73% over the past year, as questions arose over the way in which the group landed lucrative government contracts.

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General Electric To Shed 12000 Jobs

The US industrial group expects the “painful but necessary” job losses to help save $1bn next year as demand for fossil fuel power plants wanes. GE intends to cut 1,100 jobs from its UK power business, one-third of the firm’s Swiss workforce and one-sixth of German workers are likely to be hit. In October, GE slashed its profits guidance after posting a 5% fall in third-quarter earnings to $1.8bn, due to weak trading in its power and oil and gas businesses. GE Power is the company’s largest industrial business, employing more than 55,000 people worldwide.

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Bitcoin Soars Past $18000

The price of Bitcoin crashed through $19,000 today, just days after hitting $10,000, $12,000, and other psychological barriers, and then retreated to $18,000. Many cryptocurrency experts are predicting Bitcoin will hit $50,000 or even $100,000 as institutional investors continue to pile in.

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SA Egg Prices Rise 20%

Egg prices in South Africa are expected to increase by as much as 20% after an outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian flu in June forced farmers to cull egg laying birds, industry experts said on Thursday. The outbreak of avian flu prompted farmers to cull millions of birds and neighbouring countries including Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana to ban poultry imports from South Africa. Industry experts said in October commercial egg production had tumbled 17% and over 1 000 workers lost their jobs in the wake of the outbreak of avian flu. Prices are expected to increase between 15 and 20% from December to June 2018.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R243,000.Ether R6,351 . R/USD13.73 . R/GBP18.46 . R/EUR16.11

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R180 Bn Wiped Off JSE After Steinhoff Crash

Investors are shell-shocked after the market witnessed a stunning crash yesterday. Shares in the biggest retailer in Africa, Steinhoff, went into free-fall and fell by more than 61% as the JSE opened – plunging from R45.64 to around R17.50. The company fell even further during the day. This means that more than R130 billion was wiped off the company’s market capitalisation or value in one day. And R180 billion was wiped off all related companies combined.

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Christo Wiese Lost R28bn In A Day

Following Tuesday evening’s announcement that Steinhoff would not be publishing its financial results due to allegations of accounting fraud, South African billionaire and chairman of the company Christo Wiese has seen his net worth halved. Retail tycoon Wiese, who owns 23% of Steinhoff, was named as the fourth richest person in South Africa with a net worth $5.5 billion of according to a January 2017 report by Forbes. This amount was nearly halved on Tuesday as shares in the company dropped to R17.56, a loss of R28.09 or 61.53%, shortly after the JSE opened. According to Forbes’ real-time tracker, Wiese lost $2.1 billion (R28.3 billion) by 11:40AM on Wednesday. This equates to a loss of 54.2% of his total net worth since 5PM EST on Tuesday (midnight local time).

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Bitcoin Soars Past R14000

Bitcoin climbed as much as 7.9% on Thursday as it surged above $14 000, extending this month’s advance to more than 40%. The price of the cryptocurrency touched $14 399.99, a new record, according to Bloomberg pricing

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Mugabe’s Missing $15 Billion Saga

Zimbabwean opposition parties have welcomed a call by Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa for all persons who under Mugabe’s rule, externalised money to return the said monies within three months. Mnangagwa has set the amnesty deadline line to February for the return the ill-gotten wealth with the promise prosecution post deadline. Former Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe previously revealed that the country had “lost” an amount of USD $15 billion in diamond mining revenue. The missing money is believed to have been externalised and squandered by government officials with the aid of dodgy investors.

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New Regulation Structures For Financial Services Sector

At present, South African insurers, pension funds, collective investment schemes and other financial services providers are regulated by the Financial Services Board (FSB), whereas banks are regulated by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). Each institution is required to comply with its own industry-specific legislation. The current Financial Services Board (FSB) will be transformed into the FSCA – responsible for regulating how firms conduct their business, design and price their products and treat their customers. While the Prudential Authority will regulate financial institutions’ solvency and liquidity.

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Tshwane Asks Treasury For Help

Tshwane city manager Moeketsi Mosola has approached National Treasury to help draft a financial recovery plan that might see it restructuring income and expenditure in its current approved budget. Tshwane’s creditors amount to R6.9 billion and include service providers such as Eskom, Rand Water and many small businesses that are normally dependent on timeous receipt of the payment for the services rendered.

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Currencies: R223,400 . Ether R5,922 . R/USD13.54 . R/GBP18.07 . R/EUR15.97

Free Education Plan Blocked by Treasury

President Jacob Zuma’s budget-busting plan for free higher education set off a flurry of panic among senior government officials this week‚ even prompting threats by a senior National Treasury official to resign should the proposal go ahead‚ the Sunday Times reports. It said the president had planned to announce the R40-billion free education plan on Tuesday last week ‚ but held off amid warnings from officials that such a move would plunge South Africa into an economic crisis.

Source: https://goo.gl/UXbFgg

Bitcoin Rollercoaster Erases $38bn Off Market

Bitcoin plunged as the cancellation of a technology upgrade prompted some users to switch out of the cryptocurrency, spooking speculators who had profited from a more than 800% surge this year. The cryptocurrency has dropped 9.5% since late Friday, extending its slide from last week’s record to as much as 29%, according to data compiled by Coinmarketcap.com and Bloomberg. Bitcoin cash, a rival that split from the original bitcoin in August, has jumped nearly 40% since Friday.

Source: https://goo.gl/1NuCxX

Eskom Cash Dries Up

Eskom’s latest report to its shareholder representative, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, showed that the state utility’s liquidity is fast drying up, as it struggles to raise funds in an unsympathetic market. In the report, Eskom tells Brown that its governance issues are having a negative impact on financial sustainability and the utility’s ability to keep going. Several key Eskom executives, including suspended chief financial officer Anoj Singh, ex-Eskom boss Brian Molefe and suspended executive Matshela Koko are being investigated for their role in state capture at the state utility, while parliament has heard shocking revelations of how looting took place at Eskom with the assistance of key executives.

Source: https://goo.gl/HhxHcp

Nigeria Rejects Moody’s Downgrade

Nigeria has rejected the downgrading of Nigeria from a B1 stable to a B2 stable rating by Moody’s Investors Service Research. In a statement, the Nigerian authorities said the downgrade was not a true reflection of the current state of the country’s economy, which government said has improved. “The attention of the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Debt Management Office (DMO) has been drawn to today’s announcement of the decision by Moody’s to downgrade Nigeria from a B1 stable to a B2 stable rating. “While we respect the right of Moody’s to make this decision, we strongly disagree with the premise and must address some of the conclusions upon which the decision rests,” the statement said.

Source: https://goo.gl/Rqg8L9

Uber Loses Employee Rights Case In Britian

Uber on Friday lost a landmark case in Britain that would give drivers the right to paid holidays and the national minimum wage, lawyers representing the claimants said. The London employment tribunal rejected Uber’s appeal against an October 2016 ruling in a case that is being closely watched for the wider implications for Britain’s booming “gig economy”.

Source: https://goo.gl/gU2VC3

Vodacom Hits 40 Million Subscribers For First Time

Vodacom has released its results for the six months ended 30 September 2017. The company said it gained 2.9 million local customers during the period, taking the network to 40 million South African subscribers for the first time. Vodacom said it defines a customer as a user using any service during the last three months. This includes customers paying a monthly fee.

Source: https://goo.gl/wJLjCD

Hlaudi Sues SABC For Pension

Former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng has filed another court application to force the SABC pension fund to pay him R8-million in pension benefits. Motsoeneng, through his attorneys Majavu Incorporated, filed an application in the South Gauteng High Court on Monday asking for an order to compel the public broadcaster’s pension fund to release the millions he is claiming.

Source: https://goo.gl/3wTzCw

Currencies : Bitcoin R99,205 – Rand/USD 14.41 – Rand/GBP 18.85 – Rand/EUR 16.77

 

 

 

 

Zuma Must Give Gordhan Recall Reasons

The High Court in Pretoria has given President Jacob Zuma until next Thursday to submit all documents containing his reasons for dismissing former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas. Initially, he cited an alleged fake intelligence report claiming Gordhan and his deputy were not acting in the best interests of the country and were trying to effect regime change.

Source : https://goo.gl/UBMcrp

Pioneer Profits Drop 40-45%

Pioneer Foods has cautioned its shareholders to expect a decline in earnings for the six months to end March. The company said it anticipated that its operating profit for the period to ease between 40 percent and 45 percent, down from R1.24 billion reported in 2016. The group said it attributed the decline to an impact of the Phase1 B-BBEE share-based payment charge and merger and acquisitions costs during the period.

Source : https://goo.gl/o5lJtP

China Launches First Major Commercial Jet

China’s first large jetliner has successfully completed its maiden flight, a key moment in the country’s push to challenge the U.S. and Europe as a global manufacturer. With the flight, China joins the ranks of the few nations that have developed homegrown large airliners: the U.S., Russia, Brazil, Canada, the U.K., France and Germany. Made by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac), the 168-seat C919 is roughly the same size as Airbus’s A320 and Boeing’s 737-800, which are the most popular airliners in the world.

Source : https://goo.gl/7tBFG2

Gauteng To Spend R46bn On Infrastructure Projects

The Gauteng provincial government will spend R46-billion on infrastructure over the next three years, Premier David Makhura said on Thursday. Makhura said it was important to note that the Gauteng Infrastructure Master Plan estimates that R1.8-trillion is needed to meet the province’s infrastructure needs over the next decade-and-a-half. Makhura pointed out that between 2013 and 2016, the Gauteng government spent R30-billion on infrastructure project developments.

Source : https://goo.gl/2VIx1S

Mugabe Defiant At WEF

Mugabe was a panellist on a debate about fragile states in the main hall at the International Convention Centre that included diverse voices from former AFDB head Donald Kaberuka to Hollywood actor Forest Whittaker. The first question went to Mugabe about whether he thought Zimbabwe, with its economic troubles, is a fragile state. “We are not a poor country, you can’t call us a fragile state, you can call America a fragile state,” says Mugabe to chuckles from the hundreds in the audience. Mugabe pointed to his country’s vast resources, 14 universities and 90 per cent literacy rate.

Source : https://goo.gl/XdcPxj

Oil Price Collapses Below $45

Oil slid below $45 a barrel for the first time since OPEC agreed to cut output in November as US shale confounds the producer group’s attempts to prop up prices. Prices are still more than 50% below their peak in 2014, when surging shale output triggered crude’s biggest collapse in a generation and left rival producers such as Saudi Arabia scrambling to protect market share.

Source : https://goo.gl/wIinzC

CurrenciesRand/USD 13.64 – Rand/GBP 17.63 – Rand/EUR 14.98

 

 

 

Petro SA Board Asks For Business Rescue

The board of state-owned oil company PetroSA has asked its holding company, the Central Energy Fund (CEF), to place it under business rescue, raising questions over its status as a going concern. PetroSA has a projected loss of R2.2bn for the year to March 2017. This follows its record R14.6bn net operating loss in the 2014-15 financial year. Despite these losses, PetroSA paid out large performance bonuses to its executives at the end of 2016, linked to the Ikhewzi project, responsible for a near R15bn impairment in financial 2014-15

Source : https://goo.gl/3Co6f1

SAA Gets Court Order Against Strike

The Labour Court granted South African Airways (SAA) a final order against the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) and its members. This was after the court had granted an interim order in favour of the airline on 26 April. The order interdicts Sacca and its members from embarking on industrial action and declares the industrial action an unprotected strike.

Source : https://goo.gl/sC23kh

ABInBev To Launch Budweiser In South Africa

Anheuser-Busch InBev plans to launch Budweiser in SA, it said in its March quarter results on Thursday morning. The group’s overall revenue grew 3.7% to $12.9bn from the matching quarter in 2016.

Source : https://goo.gl/0Leykf

Eskom Ready To Report On CEO Nepotism Scandal

Eskom has finalised the report on its investigation into allegations that a stepdaughter of acting chief executive Matshela Koko benefited from contracts worth at least R1 billionFollowing reports that Koketso Choma, Koko’s stepdaughter, had scored the contracts, there were also allegations that the board had proposed to pay Molefe R30 million after he was at the helm of the power utility for about 18 months.

Source : https://goo.gl/SjbPq9

Whatsapp Blackout Causes Havoc

WhatsApp experienced downtime around the world, leaving many users unable to send and receive messages over the app for over two hours. Africa, Europe, South America and the US experienced downtime with WhatsApp hashtags #WhatsAppDown and #WhatsAppisDown trending on the social network.

Source : https://goo.gl/hr3CFn

indicators : Oil 50.36 – Rand/USD 13.50 – Rand/GBP 17.36 – Rand/EUR 14.73

Joemat-Petersen Lies Exposed By Kubayi

The government has admitted for the first time that the secret disposal of 10.3-million barrels of SA’s strategic oil reserves by the Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF) in December 2015 had indeed been a sale and not a “rotation of stock”, as former energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson repeatedly had asserted to justify her approval of the deal. Newly appointed Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi apologised to MPs and Parliament on Tuesday for their having been misled about the nature of the transaction. This was after DA energy spokesman Gordon Mackay expressed concern that the energy portfolio committee had been misled.

Source : https://goo.gl/7qiwSZ

S.A May Appeal Court Ruling On Nuclear

South Africa’s government may appeal last week’s court judgment declaring a cooperation pact with Russia’s state-owned nuclear company Rosatom unlawful, the energy minister said on Tuesday. South Africa and Russia signed an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) in 2014 for cooperation between Rosatom and South African utility Eskom, which aims to build 9 600 MW of nuclear capacity to wean the African nation off coal.

Source : https://goo.gl/cTKcIb

McDonalds Accused Of Overcharging Franchisees

McDonald’s should be investigated for gouging franchisees on rents and deceiving them about how the amounts are calculated, a labour union said in letters to two state attorneys general. US franchisees paid the world’s biggest fast-food chain more than $3bn in rents last year, a rate of return on McDonald’s real-estate investments that’s as much as triple the industry average. McDonalds has denied the allegations.

Source : https://goo.gl/gDDkhG

MTN Releases Encouraging Revenue Numbers

MTN has released its quarterly update for the period ended 31 March 2017. The company stated that it currently serves approximately 237 million people in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East. Group total revenue increased by 7.1%, with data revenues up 29.4% year-on-year. Data revenue contributed 20% to total revenue, said MTN.

Source : https://goo.gl/j0W4In

Look & Listen To Close Final Store

The Look & Listen at Hillfox Value Centre – the last one in South Africa – will soon close, marking the end of an era. Look & Listen was started nearly 50 years ago by Rob Ziegler. In February 2013, Look & Listen halted its online purchases, and in June 2014, the company was placed under business rescue.

Source : https://goo.gl/Rjzy4x

Indicators : Oil50.87 – Rand/USD 13.32 – Rand/GBP 17.16 – Rand/EUR 14.56

More Money Needed For Nkandla

Government is set to spend “millions” in taxpayers’ money on president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead, according to a report by the Sunday Times. The Department of Public Works said that plans were in place to refurbish the property, repair “shoddy workmanship”, and address security concerns. While the assessment is not complete, the cost of additional upgrades and repairs could run into millions of rand.

Source : https://goo.gl/93Iv7s

PetroSA Board Told To Resign

Central Energy Fund (CEF) chairman Luvo Makasi has told the board of troubled state-owned oil company PetroSA to resign with immediate effect. Leadership and management instability have plagued CEF subsidiary PetroSA, which has suffered huge financial losses over the past three years. In a letter sent to the board at the end of March, Makasi said the CEF had been concerned for some time about the strategic direction, financial standing and management of PetroSA.

Source : https://goo.gl/WMuVx5

Cyril Ramaphosa Launches Presidential Bid

“Corruption must be rooted out” and anyone found guilty must be dealt with severely, Ramaphosa said at a memorial for the late ANC leader Chris Hani in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. Allegations of families and people unduly influencing government appointments and contracts should be “of great concern” to the ANC, he said, adding that he supports a judicial commission of inquiry into charges of state capture.

Source : https://goo.gl/gLnXFY

Lynn Browne Blocks Brian Molefe Payout

The Sunday Times reported a fortnight ago that Molefe was due to get a R30.1-million golden handshake from Eskom. He told the newspaper that he was to be paid what was due to him but refused to give a figure. Brown said yesterday she could not support the payout because there was no justification for it. “I found the argument presented by the board lacking in legal rationale and it cannot be substantiated as a performance reward because Molefe has already been granted a performance bonus for his contribution to the turnaround of Eskom,” said Brown.

Source : https://goo.gl/xL5nZf

Net1 Denies Wrongdoing In Sassa Payments Saga

Net1 has come out with guns blazing in a bid to “set the record straight”, releasing a Sens announcement and links to 23 documents that it claims prove that accusations against the group have no merit. The documents, which include court rulings, relate to its controversial South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) contract to distribute social grants to 11-million recipients.

Source : https://goo.gl/MDbtPl

Venezuela Down To $10bn In The Bank

Venezuela only has $10 billion in reserves — the cash that’s intended to keep an economy stable and weather tough times. What’s worse: most of those reserves aren’t in hard cash. About $7 billion is in gold bars, which doesn’t make it easy to make payments. Venezuela has a lot of bills to pay soon. It owes $6 billion in debt payments for the rest of this year. There’s also no sign that the country’s lone source of revenue – oil exports – will be able to pay down those debts. Venezuela is running the risk of defaulting on its debt this year, meaning it wouldn’t be able to get more loans to pay for basics like food and medicine

Source : https://goo.gl/iIZHQC

Indicators : Oil 52.25 – Rand/USD 13.00 – Rand/GBP 16.59 – Rand/EUR 14.12