JOHANNESBURG, Aug 30 (Reuters) – South African retailer Woolworths (WHLJ.J) on Wednesday reported a nearly 15% rise in annual profit as promotional sales, online growth and lower debt offset the impact of power cuts in the country and a cost-of-living crisis in its operating regions.
The food and fashion retailer posted headline earnings per share – a profit measure – of 423.4 South African cents from continuing operations in the 12-month period ended June 25, from 368.7 cents seen a year earlier.
The company sold an Australian clothing division earlier this year, therefore profit from continuing operations are a more precise measure for the year.
Known for its high-end products, the company has seen increased food wastage as a result of South Africa’s worst rolling blackouts on record, it said in a statement in July.
Woolworths has had to increase its diesel spend on back-up generators to keep produce fresh and operations afloat across the South African supply chain.
Adding to the risks, sticky inflation across both its South African and Australian operations prompted consumers to tighten their purse strings.
“The trading environment is likely to remain challenging across both geographies for the foreseeable future, as elevated inflation and interest rates pose a headwind to the outlook for disposable income and discretionary spend,” the company said in a statement.
Woolworths announced a total dividend of 313 cents per share.
By Felix Onuah
ABUJA, Aug 28 (Reuters) – Nigeria will seek to encourage investments rather than rely on borrowing to create jobs, Finance Minister Olawale Edun said on Monday, as the new government tries to find a solution to sluggish growth, double-digit inflation and a high debt burden.
Edun, 62, who doubles as coordinating minister for the economy, was speaking to reporters in Abuja after president Bola Tinubu held his first meeting with his new cabinet following last week’s swearing-in of ministers.
“The federal government is not in a position to borrow at this time,” Edun said, adding that the emphasis is on creating a stable environment to attract both local and foreign investments.
Nigeria’s economy has been battered by previously low oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic, which triggered two successive recessions in 2016 and 2020. The country has since exited that recession but growth is still fragile.
The disruptions weakened Nigeria’s public finances and created large deficits, leaving the previous government reliant on both local and foreign loans to plug holes in its budgets.
Tinubu at his inauguration in May vowed to expand the economy by at least 6% a year, lift barriers to investment and create jobs, while also tackling rampant insecurity.
He has embarked on some of the boldest reforms that Nigeria has seen in years, including scrapping a popular but costly petrol subsidy and removing exchange rate restrictions. The naira has weakened to record lows.
The reforms are a gamble to try to kick-start growth but inflation has soared, worsening a cost of living crisis.
Edun, an ex-investment banker, who was special adviser to Tinubu on monetary policy before his appointment as minister, said he will focus on fixing Nigeria’s public finances.
He added that the government’s naira revenues have increased from crude oil proceeds following a devaluation in June.
“The federation earns dollars and if those dollars are feeding through, at let’s say, 700 naira or 750 naira or so to one dollar as opposed to 460 naira where it was before. Clearly, that is repairing the finances of government,” Edun said.
“So, that’s the plan.”
Leading event in Accra shines a spotlight on responsible change
The town of Obuasi in the Ashanti region of Ghana, West Africa, has a long and rich mining history. In 1897, large scale commercial and industrial mining began at the Obuasi Gold Mine and continued for over a century until its closure in 2014 for major restructuring.
In 2018, a $500 million investment from AngloGold Ashanti was approved for the redevelopment of the Obuasi mine, with first gold poured in 2019. Today, the project is in its third phase, with construction currently underway to develop the necessary supporting infrastructure to sustain a ramp-up in production by the end of 2023.
According to Eric Asubonteng, Managing Director of AngloGold Ashanti, the Obuasi redevelopment project is an excellent example of public and private collaboration within the mining sector that has sustainability at its core.
“The Ghanaian government has provided an enabling environment, by issuing the relevant approvals and permits to assist us in getting the mine ready for development and prioritise re-opening,” he says.
Not only this, but in its role as a development partner, the government has worked collaboratively with AngloGold Ashanti to ensure that the Obuasi project aligns with the interests of the wider Obuasi community.
“We have achieved this by putting in place a local employment procedure to create employment opportunities for the youth host communities that also ensures proactive, local SMME participation in the value chain.”
Of the total monies spent to date on redevelopment, over 80% has gone towards Ghana registered businesses – both local and foreign-owned businesses registered in Ghana, paying taxes in Ghana.
And for every ounce of gold produced, AngloGold Ashanti contributes US$2 into the AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Community Trust Fund, governed by an independent board who possess full decision-making responsibilities as to how and where the funds are spent for the development of the host communities
Other Corporate Social Investment (CSI) projects to have blossomed from the Obuasi mine redevelopment include a growing 1,500-strong university in the Obuasi town that provides education and skills to youth in areas of engineering and technology.
Driving Responsible Change within Mining
According to Asubonteng, sustainable and responsible mining lies at the heart of all AngloGold Ashanti’s efforts, and as such, the company has committed to many similar CSI projects which will be showcased at the 2022 West African Mining & Power Expo (WAMPEX), taking place from 1-3 June at the Accra International Conference Centre in Ghana.
As the leading exhibition for the mining and power value chain, WAMPEX attracts thousands of senior mining professionals from both public and private sectors across Africa and globally, making it one of the most important industry meeting places in the mining calendar.
In addition to extended networking opportunities, the event will host a series of interactive technical workshops, providing the latest insights into sustainability, automation and operational excellence, while suppliers showcase latest technologies, innovations and products.
Looking forward to the in-person interaction of the event, Asubonteng admits to having missed networking with like-minded industry professionals from around the world, due to Covid.
“An event like WAMPEX gives more credibility to the increasingly prominent West-African mining jurisdiction, drawing the right attention to West Africa,” he concludes.
The new event facilitates strategic African trade opportunities
With the number of African e-commerce users expected to exceed half a billion over the next three years, there is an increasingly urgent need for sophisticated logistics systems to strengthen and support the continent’s expanding transport infrastructure.
The pandemic served as a catalyst for the advancement of the global e-commerce market and has given rise to a number of trends that impact the logistics industry. Not only are consumers demanding quicker delivery times, but the costs of servicing the last mile are increasing, which has retailers and logistics operators working hard to improve and develop their distribution models so that they can cut inefficiencies and keep stock nearer to consumers.
It is with the primary goal to connect corporate logistics teams and service providers from across the African logistics supply chain, that global event company dmg events announce the launch of its newest trade event, Logistics Evolution Africa. As a leading organizer of face-to-face industry events, dmg events has a long track record of success with over 80 trade shows held across 25 countries, attracting in excess of 425,000 visitors.
“Boosting intra-African trade begins by enhancing African transport and connectivity. At Logistics Evolution Africa, we will connect the dots between policy and operations, to help traders and economic operators reduce the time and cost of moving people, goods, and information around the African continent,” says Ziad M. Hamoui, National President – of Ghana at Borderless Alliance, a multilateral partnership of private and public sector stakeholders working to increase trade in Africa.
Logistics Evolution Africa is a unique platform that brings together public and private stakeholders, decision-makers and innovators from key industries such as mining, retail, automotive, logistics, health, and retail. It takes place from 20-23 September 2023 at the Inkosi Albert Luthli ICC Complex in Durban, South Africa, and is co-located with Transport Evolution Africa Forum & Expo, the only event in Africa to connect the region’s port, road and rail authorities under one roof.
Le-Ann Hare, Portfolio Director at dmg events, says: “We are extremely excited and proud to launch our newest trade show under the Evolution Africa portfolio. Logistics Evolution Africa is the international meeting place for Africa’s logistics supply chain, and the only platform on the continent to enable the logistics sector to drive efficient logistic chains and trade corridors.”
As well as an extensive range of innovative products and services on display from local and international exhibitors, the three-day in-person event will offer visitors and exhibitors the opportunity to explore long-term strategies to address some of the ongoing logistics challenges faced by the industry at its dedicated conference, The Forum. Here, industry experts will also share their insights on best practices and new technology solutions needed to enhance efficiency for the handling, moving, and transportation of goods throughout Africa.
“With partnership development, networking, knowledge sharing, and project expansion at the heart of the Forum, Africa’s entire value chain will actively participate to strengthen collaboration, initiate new projects and partnerships, and implement visionary objectives,” says Le-Ann Hare.
Furthermore, through a series of technical workshops on the exhibition floor, visitors will be able to increase their knowledge, skills and expertise and earn their annual CPD points.
Le-Ann Hare concludes: “With global demand for e-commerce continuing on the up, Logistics Evolution Africa is a significant and timely addition to our international trade event portfolio, and we believe it will play an extremely beneficial role in boosting strategic trade competition and productivity across Africa and beyond.”
Residential property put in a strong show in the Cape Town CBD in 2022 with an impressive line-up of cutting-edge developments dominating the property development scene in the city centre – and values and rentals also performing well post-Covid.
Of the 22 property developments that came on stream in 2022, with a net worth of R3,555bn, eight were residential builds conservatively estimated to be worth R1.65bn.
These were among the key findings of the latest edition of the State of Cape Town Central City Report 2022 – A Year in Review (SCCR), published annually by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID). The 11th edition of the report reflects on the economic climate in the CBD across the previous year and is a reputed investment tool for business and property investors.
With the overall value of all property in the Cape Town CBD set at R42.9bn according to the City of Cape Town’s 2022 property evaluation, the new developments added to the ongoing dynamism of the city centre last year.
Rob Kane, CCID chairperson and chief executive officer of Boxwood Property Fund, says: “With the construction sector regaining its pre-Covid momentum in 2022, the CBD’s skyline was punctuated by yellow cranes hovering over building sites. This was unique to the Cape Town CBD, which remains the most economically successful central business district in South Africa and has recovered remarkably post-Covid-19.”
Kane says the new developments – which were completed last year, under construction, planned or proposed – added to the ongoing vibrancy and economic stability of the Cape Town CBD, which continued to open its doors to an increasing number of national and international visitors, including digital nomads, solo travellers, and so-called “semigrants” from other provinces.
With the residential market in town highly competitive, developers are ensuring their buildings offer potential residents a dynamic inner-city living experience characterised by maximum convenience, quality finishes and features, green credentials, flexible letting options and convenient co-living and co-working amenities.
The new developments are set to add thousands of new residential units to the central city’s residential market on completion. They have spearheaded a year-on-year increase in residential accommodation. In 2022, the number of residential units in town was 6,827, up from 5,791 recorded at the end of 2021 and 4,954 at the end of 2020.
Only one residential building was completed last year, namely Neighbourgood Reserve (R75m), which offers fully furnished loft apartments, co-living- and co-working amenities in a community-centric environment – while four others, with a combined value of R1,480bn, were under construction.
They include Fleetway House – now called Vida d’Chette (R60m) which offers flexible and shared letting on the Foreshore – and two developments that are set to change the dynamic of Loop Street, namely The Tokyo (R150m) and The Carrington (R70m).
However, the stand-out residential build is the R1.2bn development going up in Upper Bree St called The Fynbos. Set to become Africa’s first biophilic building, The Fynbos incorporates nature in its design by offering occupants of each unit a “garden experience”. Thirty species of trees and 20 species of shrubs will be incorporated in the façade of the building.
Says Kane: “These new residential builds have the potential to change the character of inner-city precincts and will not only boost the retail economy in town but also prompt new business opportunities in the area as footfall increases.”
The sharp decline in the demand for office space following the pandemic prompted Cape Town developers to repurpose commercial buildings into mixed-use properties that combine both residential and retail or commercial components.
In 2022, three striking mixed-use developments were under construction:
– One Thibault (R500,000m), the iconic former Standard Bank building on Thibault Square that is an example of a highly successful office-block conversion with the residential component offering both aparthotel and Airbnb-type accommodation.
– The Barracks, the R150m Bree Street development which comprises the redevelopment of a well-known CBD heritage landmark with the addition of a sleek modern residential component that will see 70 micro-units floating on top of an 18th-century former warehouse and military barracks.
– The Rubik, another impressive mixed-use build valued at R600m which will have premium residential units above 5,000m² of P-grade office space in a striking sleek skyscraper destined to change the city’s skyline.
The residential market in greater Cape Town performed well despite rising interest rates in 2022, with the CBD holding its own – despite falling sales and asking prices – recording more sales than before the onset of the pandemic. (*It’s essential to note that the data available exclusively pertains to apartments situated within the Cape Town Central City Improvement District’s 1.6km² geographical footprint within the Cape Town CBD.)
The median price of sectional-title properties sold in the CBD eased from R1.71m in 2021 to R1.47m in 2022, which amounts to a decrease of 13.8%.
With 648 units sold in the CBD in 2022, this is less than the bumper number of 750 units sold in 2021 – which was due in large part to the pandemic-induced rebound in housing market activity – but it still represents an elevated level of sales activity when compared to sales before Covid-19 hit.
Monthly rentals in the Cape Town CBD
There were 57 apartments listed on Property24.com as available for rent in the central city at the end of 2022. This is significantly lower than the 217 units listed at the end of 2021, and the 475 units listed at the end of 2020 at the height of the pandemic.
Most of the units were listed fully or partially furnished, which is a growing trend in recent years to accommodate the digital nomad trend and may also have contributed to the increase in rentals in 2022.
Studio/bachelor apartments: Monthly rentals ranged from R7,000 for a 30m² unit to a maximum of R21,500 for 66m², with the average monthly rental set at R11,586 (compared with R9,027 a year earlier). There were 18 units available to rent in 2022.
One-bedroom apartments: Monthly rentals ranged from R9,500 for 26 m² to a maximum of R25,000 for 94 m², with the average monthly rental set at R14,233 (compared with R11,124 a year earlier). There were 18 units available to rent in 2022.
Two-bedroom apartments: Monthly rentals ranged from R13,500 for 55m² to a maximum of R42,000 for 180m², with the average monthly rental set at R24,750 (compared to R17,768 a year earlier). There were 16 units available to rent in 2022.
Three+ bedroom apartments*: Monthly rentals ranged from R40,000 for 210m² to a maximum of R150,000 for 262m², with the average monthly rental set at R71,667 (compared with R40,314 a year earlier). There were three units available to rent in 2022. *The average rental was distorted by the inclusion of a penthouse listed at R120,000 a month.
CAPE TOWN, Aug 28 (Reuters) – Australian gas explorer Kinetiko Energy, which has found shallow sandstone gas in South Africa, has started talks with petrochemical company Sasol (SOLJ.J) on a possible supply agreement, Kinetiko’s (KKO.AX) chief executive said on Monday.
The natural gas deposit in Block 272, Mpumalanga province, close to Sasol’s Secunda petrochemical complex, could be a boon for Sasol, South Africa’s largest gas user and distributor, which needs to find alternative sources.
Sasol currently receives almost all of its gas via the Rompco pipeline from Mozambique to South Africa, but the Pande and Temane onshore fields in Mozambique that supply it are expected to run out within a few years.
Kinetiko CEO Nick de Blocq told Reuters the company was in “very early and undetailed discussions” with Sasol, which he said was geographically “the natural off-taker for any gas produced in our northern block”.
A Sasol spokesperson said the company’s CEO Fleetwood Grobler had confirmed the very early stage talks, adding it was “too early to consider details”.
On Wednesday Sasol cut its final dividend by almost a third after a 35 billion rand ($1.87 billion) non-cash impairment related to difficulties that threaten the post-2030 viability of Secunda, which produces fuel from coal and natural gas.
Besides Block 272 in the north, Kinetiko has also found sandstone gas in Block 270 and Block 271 further south, where it aims to develop South Africa’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) onshore project.
Initially, it would produce gas equivalent to 50 megawatts of power, potentially increasing in stages to 500 and eventually 1,500 MW equivalent.
The plan envisages drilling an initial 30-well field, with each set of 10 wells producing around 5,000 tonnes of LNG a year, but De Blocq said he could not give a timeframe as the company is awaiting regulatory approval.
To help finance the LNG project, a joint venture with South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation, De Blocq said Kinetiko, listed on Australia’s ASX, was considering a secondary listing in London or Johannesburg.
NAIROBI, Aug 22 (Reuters) – Deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars are expected to be struck at next month’s Africa Climate Summit, including increasingly popular nature-based investments, the event’s main organiser said on Tuesday.
African officials hope the meeting will strengthen the continent’s voice and send a unified message ahead of the COP28 U.N. climate summit later this year.
“We are anticipating deals from $1 million all the way to hundreds of millions of dollars,” Joseph Ng’ang’a, the chief executive for the Africa Climate Summit’s secretariat, told Reuters in an interview.
He said the deals would involve private and public funding for nature-based investments, clean energy production and climate adaptation efforts.
More than 20 African heads of state and government and 20,000 delegates from around the world, including U.N chief Antonio Guterres, have confirmed their participation in the Sept. 4-6 summit in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.
Several nature-based deals, which help resolve the dilemma of who foots the bill to combat climate change impacts, have been announced in recent months involving African countries.
Portugal said in June it would swap $153 million worth of Cape Verde’s debt for nature investments while Gabon completed its own such deal this month, allowing the central African nation to buy back a nominal $500 million of its international debt and issue an eco-friendly amortizing bond of equal size.
African governments will also prepare to push at the COP28 summit for the realisation of financing commitments made in previous climate summits by richer nations, Ali Mohamed, Kenya’s special envoy for climate change, said at the same interview.
Last year’s COP27 summit in Egypt agreed to create a loss and damage fund for developing countries, but it has not materialised yet, Mohamed said.
“We are holding this summit not to continue repeating the same messages. We are holding this summit for Africa to present solutions to the challenges,” he said.
He cited the recognition of the Congo forest basin as a key carbon sink as one of African countries’ main objectives heading into COP28.
Its basic earnings per share, which includes one-off costs, was down by over three-fourths
South African petrochemicals major Sasol posted a 13% rise in annual profit on Wednesday as better operations in the second half offset the impact of weaker crude prices.
The company said its headline earnings per share (HEPS), a profit measure, was 53.75 South African cents for the 12 months ended on June 30, up from 47.58 cents posted a year ago.
Its basic earnings per share, which includes one-off costs, was down by over three-fourths, however, on account of a huge impairment at its flagship plant. (Reporting by Tannur Anders; Editing by Tom Hogue)
Figures published by Uganda’s Capital Markets Authority show average individual balances recorded among local unit trust funds, also referred to as collective investment schemes, stood at $8,010 by close of June 2023
Bernard Busuulwa, The East African
The investments made by Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations in unit trust funds, reasonable interest rates registered by savers and strong product uptake among low-income earners are attributed to notable unit trust account balances held by Ugandan savers compared to its peers in Kenya and TanzaniaUnit trust products are organised, collective savings channels that attract short-term savings from both poor and rich clients seeking to achieve different financial goals.
Figures published by Uganda’s Capital Markets Authority show average individual balances recorded among local unit trust funds, also referred to as collective investment schemes, stood at $8,010 by close of June 2023.
Read: Uganda CMA woos industrialists to list stocksThe total number of client accounts increased from 56,787 in March 2023 to 66,188 by end of June 2023 while the total value of assets held by Ugandan unit trust funds amounted to $530.2 million by close of June 2023.
In comparison, average individual balances belonging to Tanzanian unit trust savers stood at $3,529 while the total number of client accounts was estimated at 183,987 by end of June 2023.
Total assets managed by Tanzania’s unit trust funds were valued at $649.3 million by close of June 2023.
The average account balance held by Kenya’s unit trust funds stood at $1,286 while the number of client accounts was estimated at 942,236 by end of June 2023. Total assets managed by Kenya’s unit trust fund industry amounted to $1.2 billion during the period under review.
Comparative industry data for other East African Community member states including South Sudan, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda was not available by press time.
Though Uganda’s unit trust industry appears smaller than some of its regional peers in terms of assets, considerable investments made by local Saccos in unit trust funds are cited for the huge average client balances recorded in this segment.
Read: Bourses’ bear-run to persist as investors flee into bondsThe share of unit trust assets held by Saccos is currently estimated at more than 10 percent to date according to industry sources, a figure influenced by growing desires for bigger returns on members’ funds held by savings and credit organisations.
The average interest rate paid on unit trust savings lies in the range of 10-13 percent per year while the 10-year weighted inflation rate — a core tool used in the calculation of returns on people’s savings — stands at 10 percent, according to financial experts.
Simon Mwebaze, chief executive of UAP-Old Mutual Financial Services Uganda Ltd says around 10 percent of unit trust clients in Uganda are institutional investors who generally account for 40 percent of total industry assets today.
However, Uganda’s capital markets industry remains shallow compared to some of its neighbours, which means Ugandan savers are confronted with few investment options and any of them that stands out is bound to receive much attention and this may explain the rapid growth of unit trust assets, he explained.
Kenya and Tanzania, on the other hand, have solid stock markets and these offer local savers more competitive choices to invest their money.
About Ush40 billion ($10.6 million) was withdrawn from UAP-Old Mutual Financial Services’ unit trust business after the announcement of a new withholding tax targeted at interest earned from unit savings earlier this year.
But Mr Mwebaze reveals that the withdrawal of this tax measure prompted new inflows of around Ush70 billion ($18.6 million) into the company’s unit trust funds, which is a reflection of renewed client confidence in the local unit trust market.
There are six-unit trust fund managers and 18 licensed unit trust funds available in the Ugandan market, CMA data shows.
Read: Insurers, unit trusts win in Uganda tax plan“Much of the growth we see in the unit trust segment is linked to the bottom of the pyramid,” said Keith Kalyegira, CMA Uganda’s outgoing Chief Executive Officer.
This, he adds, means that unit trust funds have been able to penetrate the low-income groups but are struggling to reach out to high income earners.
The average savings balance recorded in the unit trust funds market appears lower than the Ush33 million ($8,780) recorded in the past.“We do not see any serious market risk facing the unit trust segment, whether macro or microeconomic at this time in spite of the Russia-Ukraine war,” Mr Kalyegira said.
Common savings goals reported among unit trust savers include accumulation of cash for financing land purchases, motor vehicles, higher education, acquisition of high tech electronic gadgets and funding of luxurious foreign holiday trips among others.“I’ve got a unit trust savings account with Sanlam Investments Limited and it generates 13 percent interest per year,” says Shanaz Jiwani, a unit trust fund client who finds it easier to contribute small amounts of money every month than waiting for a lump sum to deposit there.“But those with huge amounts of money on their accounts tend to earn millions of shillings per month in interest which is enough to cater for their family bills during the same period,” Jiwani adds. © Copyright 2022 Nation Media Group. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).
HARARE, Aug 18 (Reuters) – Zimbabwe will allow developers of carbon credits to keep as much as 70% of the proceeds for the first decade of the project, with 30% paid as an environmental levy, the government said in regulations published on Friday.
Environment minister Mangaliso Ndlovu moved against what he called “climate washing” in May, saying the government would take 50% of carbon project revenue, with 20% on top of that going to communities, in a move that surprised global markets.
The government said at the time that carbon credit projects were largely unregulated and needed to be registered with authorities within two months.
The global $2 billion voluntary carbon offset market involves companies buying credits from emission-reducing projects such as renewable energy or tree planting to offset their own emissions.
“All existing carbon credit projects deemed null and void shall be given 60 days… to comply with the provisions,” the new regulations document said.
“From the eleventh year of the project, the share of proceeds shall be renegotiated taking into account the prevailing circumstances,” it said.
The government did not immediately comment on the latest regulations.
Reporting by Nyasha Chingono Writing by Rachel Savage Editing by Mark Potter
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