Today in business: Multichoice rockets 8% after Canal+ takes stake – Business Insider South Africa

Today in business: Multichoice rockets 8% after Canal+ takes stake – Business Insider South Africa
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3 October

Multichoice rockets 8% after Canal+ takes stake

The French media company Groupe Canal+ now holds 6.5% of Multichoice,
the company announced on Monday. The share price of Multichoice, which owns
DStv, rocketed by 8% in response. 

Multichoice’s share price. Source: Sharenet

Canal+ is owned by Vivendi, which
is also the owner of one of the biggest record labels in the world, Universal
Music Group, as well as the advertising giant Havas.

“As a publicly held company, MultiChoice regularly engages with its
strategic partners and maintains an open dialogue with the investment
community. The Groups policy is not to comment on its individual shareholders
nor on its interactions with them. The Company remains committed to acting in
the best interests of all shareholders and to create sustainable long-term
shareholder value,” Multichoice said in a statement.

Fuel price cuts from Wednesday

From Wednesday morning, 93 petrol will be 23 c/l lower, while 95 petrol will decrease by 32c/l. Diesel will be lowered with some 90c. This is thanks to a stronger rand last month, and a falling oil price. The Brent crude oil price fell from an average of $44.78 per barrel in August to $40.82 in September, while the average rand level was R17.28 in August, and R16.72 in September.

On Monday, oil prices rebounded as US president Donald Trump’s doctors suggested that he could be discharged from hospital today. Trump’s illness triggered uncertainty in the market. Brent crude oil was back above $40 a barrel. The rand was trading firmer at R16.44/$.

NUM to strike at De Beers, Exxaro

Members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) are set to down tools at De Beers, Exxaro and Petra Diamonds after they failed to reach a wage settlement at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

The planned strike at the three companies had been given the go-ahead by the CCMA, with the union saying it was now finalising logistics.

The NUM wants an 8% increase at De Beers, while the company is offering 1.5%. Exxaro Coal is offering 5, against the union’s 7.5% demand.

SAA, Mango strike agreement with technical services

After threatening to stop supplying services to SAA and Mango, South African Airways Technical reached an agreement with the airlines, who have agreed to pay in advance for maintenance work on their aircrafts. Both SAAT and Mango are subsidiaries of SAA, which is in business rescue and still awaiting a R10.5 billion bailout from government.

SAAT employees were paid only 25% of their salaries in September.

Gautrain workers start strike

Fin24 reports that Gautrain services will continue on Monday, even as workers go on an indefinite strike over a pay hike. The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa), is demanding an 8% increase for its members at Gautrain and has rejected the 4% offer on the table. Gautrain says it is implementing a “contingency plan”, which includes additional security.

2 October

Gold rallies, oil slumps after Trump diagnosis

Global equity markets and oil plunged on Friday, while gold spiked after US president Donald Trump said he and his wife had tested positive for coronavirus.

The Brent oil price was down 3% to below $40 a barrel, while gold jumped 3% to $1,909/oz.

Sasol in deal to sell half of Lake Charles

Sasol plans to sell a 50% stake in US base chemicals business, including its beleaguered Lake Charles project, to Dutch chemicals multinational LyondellBasell in a deal worth $2 billion. The proceeds will be used to lower Sasol’s debt burden of $10 billion.

Lake Charles has been hit by huge cost overruns – it cost double the budgeted amount – and other technical problems. 

The unit will become a joint venture between the South African company and LyondellBasell, Sasol said in a statement Friday. The deal is expected to be completed this year.

The article has been updated to reflect that Sasol is selling a stake in its base chemicals business in the US.  

1 October

Two women take CEO, CFO positions at Spur

Val Nichas has been appointed as the new CEO of the Spur Corporation, which also owns Panarottis, John Dory’s, RocoMamas and Hussar Grill. Nichas was formerly the managing executive for quick service restaurants at Famous Brands, which owns Steers, Debonairs Pizza, Wimpy, Mugg & Bean, Fishaways and Milky Lane.

Spur also announced that its CFO, Phillip Matthee, has requested to stand down from his current position for personal reasons. He will take a senior operational role within the group’s finance department.

Cristina Teixeira, previously CFO of Group 5 and the Consolidated Infrastructure Group, will take his place.

Christo Wiese resigns as Shoprite chair after 41 years

Christo Wiese will retire as a chairman of Shoprite next month. Wiese has been Shoprite’s chairperson since 1979, and will be followed up by the chairperson of Absa, Wendy Lucas-Bull. Last year, shareholders holding 61% of the shares in the company voted against his re-appointment as chairman.

Wiese was once South Africa’s richest man, Bloomberg reported. But much of his wealth was lost after he exchanged Pepkor for shares in Steinhoff. He was its biggest shareholder at the time 90% of its share value was wiped out, and is currently suing Steinhoff for R59 billion.

Rand at the best level in a week

The rand reached R16.67/$ this morning – its best level in a week. The currency has recovered from a low point of R17.23 a couple of days ago. Risk appetite improved overnight amid renewed hopes for a stimulus deal in the US, and positive US jobs data.

Also, South Africa’s trade surplus increased in August, with the country exporting R38.9 billion more than it imported. Exports were up almost 9% than a year ago.

Dollar/rand exchange rate. Source: XE

Big day for spectrum

Icasa is expected to publish an invitation for telecommunication companies to apply for spectrum today. Mobile operators have long blamed the lack of spectrum for SA’s high data prices. 

In July 2016, Icasa invited applicants for spectrum licences, but the courts halted the process. Government argued that its policy regarding spectrum had not yet been finalised and that the sale risked only benefitting big companies with access to capital.

Capitec rallies after results

Capitec’s share price gained another half a percent early on Thursday, after a rally of more than 5% yesterday. Its share price climbed above R1,000 after it released its results

Capitec’s headline profit fell by 78% to R650 million in the six months to end-August.

The group impaired R5.8 billion for bad debts, and rescheduled payments for R7.5 million in loans.

“Banking clients’ income was negatively impacted by the lockdown and decreased by 25% in April 2020 compared to March 2020. By August income had returned to March 2020 levels,” Capitec said.

Its share price is still down 30% from its highest level over the past year, but has doubled from recent lows.

Capitec’s share price. Source: Google

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