NewsSouthern Africa

Tue,24Jan2017

Southern Africa

On the road in Zimbabwe: Winners and losers from Mugabe's land legacy

Robert Mugabe at Zimbabwe's State House. Photo: Herman Verwey/Foto24 /Rex/SIPA.The Africa Report takes a road trip across Zimbabwe, from Harare to Masvingo Province and Mashonaland East – to see the long-term impact of the country's early-2000s land revolution.

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South Africa car makers sign 3-year wage deal with union

A worker inspects cars at Nissan's manufacturing plant in Rosslyn, outside Pretoria, file. Photo: Reuters/Siphiwe SibekoCar makers in South Africa signed a new three-year wage deal with militant union Numsa on Friday, industry officials said, easing concerns of a labour dispute in a key export and manufacturing industry.

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South Africa's Oakbay "implores" banks to reopen its accounts

 Atul Gupta outside magistrates courts in Johannesburg. Photo: AP/SIPAOakbay Investments said on Thursday it will again try to restore its relationships with South African banks which ostracised it after allegations of undue political influence by its owners, the Gupta family.

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Steinhoff reports 3% drop in earnings per share

People walk near the reception at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in Sandton, Johannesburg. Photo: REUTERS/Siphiwe SibekoSouth Africa-based retail group Steinhoff reported a 3% decline in its earnings per share on Wednesday, weighed down by an increased number of shares and the weaker rand currency.

Steinhoff, which has been seeking to expand abroad with a series of acquisitions, the latest being the offers to buy U.S. bedding retailer Mattress Firm and Britain's Poundland, said diluted adjusted EPS came in at 29.5 euro cents in the year ended June, down from 30.3 cents the previous year.

Adjusted EPS strips out certain one off, non-trading items and is a required performance measure by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, where Steinhoff has a secondary listing.

Steinhoff funded its 2014 purchase of Africa's no-frills clothes retailer Pepkor with cash and shares, while the result was also affected by weaker exchange rates, with the rand depreciating by 17% during the period.

Since moving its primary listing to the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in December last year, Steinhoff has been looking to expand its businesses abroad at a time when consumers are turning to cheaper chains and its home market is struggling.

Steinhoff is close to securing an $800m takeover of British discount retailer Poundland, with shareholders due to vote on the deal later on Wednesday.

Meanwhile its $3.8bn offer for the United States' largest bedding retailer Mattress Firm already has the backing of the board and the Texas-based company's biggest shareholder, JW Childs.

"Steinhoff continues to see opportunities for growth within our key markets in the territories where the group operates," said Chief Executive Markus Jooste.

More than just pipe dreams: Mozambique’s gas may power its expansion

A pipeline runs through the Pande-Temane gas field in Mozambique. Photo: Graham KietzmannIt is tempting to see the oil price crash as denting hopes for economic growth, especially for energy exporters. But for gas producers, there may be a silver lining, with lower prices creating an opportunity to use natural gas for power generation and other projects. The future of Southern Africa’s gas market, for example, could lie along a 2,600km pipeline linking the gas fields of Mozambique to South Africa’s Gauteng Province. The African Renaissance Gas Pipeline (ARGP) is the biggest planned gas project on the continent and is set to link Mozambique’s 180 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of re­ serves with consumers at home and in South Africa.

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South Africa's economy avoids recession as manufacturing, mining grow

South Africa's Doornkop Gold Mine, about 30kms west of Johannesburg. Photo: Themba Hadebe/AP/SIPASouth Africa's economy grew by its most in six quarters as the mining and manufacturing sectors reversed sharp contractions due to an uptick in exports, the statistics agency said, ending fears of a recession.

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