Africa

Steinhoff International Holdings NV tumbled after the global retailer said the results of a forensic investigation by auditors PwC will be delayed, Bloomberg News reported. The news comes exactly a year after the disclosure of accounting irregularities and the resignation of its CEO threw the company into crisis. The findings of the probe were postponed until the end of February, while the release of earnings for both last year and fiscal 2018 were pushed out to mid-April, the company said Thursday, dashing its efforts to publish audited results for 2017 by the end of this year.

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Kenya is in talks with lenders to roll over a $760 mln syndicated loan this fiscal year and lengthen its maturity in order to make debt repayments more manageable, a senior Treasury official said on Tuesday. The loan, which was initially for two years, was arranged by TDB bank, said Kamau Thugge, the principal secretary at the ministry of finance, Reuters reported. The government aimed to increase the tenor of the loan to seven or 10 years, he said, adding that they had not yet struck an agreement with lenders whom he did not identify.

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Oman’s Raysut Cement said on Tuesday it plans to acquire Kenya’s ARM Cement, which went into administration in August, as part of its expansion plans. Raysut has expressed its interest to the administrators to acquire the company, it said in a statement. “The acquisition will complement Raysut’s revised strategy to manufacture clinker in proximity to the markets it supplies to in East Africa,” Raysut said in the statement, adding that the acquisition was estimated to be worth more than $100 million, Reuters reported.

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South Africa’s government is prioritizing regaining an investment grade rating on its debt as part of its plans to revive a stagnant economy, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said. Moody’s Investors Service is the only one of the three major credit-rating companies that still assesses South Africa’s debt at investment grade, Bloomberg News reported. S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings Ltd. cut their ratings to junk during former President Jacob Zuma’s tenure which was characterized by political uncertainty due to multiple cabinet reshuffles and corruption scandals.

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The liquidator of Saf-Cacao, formerly one of Ivory Coast’s biggest cocoa exporters, accepted a new bid for the shipper from a company headed by the mayor of the second-largest city, according to two people familiar with the matter. Liquidator Alain Guillemain approved Saf-Cacao’s sale to Societe Agricole du Cafe-Cacao in a 145 billion CFA francs ($250 million) deal, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, Bloomberg News reported.

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Insolvencies Halved Since Last Year

The number of insolvencies during this financial year so far is half that of the last financial year, according to statistics provided by the master of the High Court at the national consultative workshop on the insolvency bill being held at Swakopmund, The Namibian reported. Last year, 32 insolvencies were registered, which included 12 companies and 15 close corporations being liquidated, and five people being sequestrated.

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South African Airways’s suppliers are slashing payment periods to reduce the risk of losing out from a collapse of the troubled state carrier, which is struggling to pay lenders 5 billion rand ($361 million) due by the end of this month, Bloomberg News reported. Companies with contracts with SAA are cutting settlement terms to seven days from 21 days as the creditor deadline looms, interim Chief Financial Officer Deon Fredericks said in an interview in Cape Town. The National Treasury is working to facilitate the payment, with the process “well under way,” he said.

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Minister of Justice Sacky Shanghala says there is a need for the Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC) to also include cross-border insolvency when formalising the Insolvency Bill that will eventually replace the Insolvency Act of 1936, AllAfrica.com reported. Cross-border insolvency, also referred to as international insolvency, regulates the treatment of financially distressed debtors when they have assets or creditors in more than one country.

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Nigeria’s fourth-biggest wireless carrier 9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria, repaid part of a loan taken from a group of banks following its acquisition by Teleology Holdings Ltd, Bloomberg News reported. “The money has been distributed to the banks,” Abiola Rasaq, head of investor relations at Lagos-based United Bank for Africa Plc, one of the institutions that received a payment, said by phone. The reimbursement is expected to improve the asset quality of the creditor banks that had classified the loan as non-performing, he said.

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Steinhoff International said on Thursday its Mattress Firm Inc unit, the largest U.S. mattress retailer, emerged out of bankruptcy with access to $525 million in exit financing, within two months of filing for Chapter 11 protection, Reuters reported. Mattress Firm also closed about 660 underperforming stores, said Steinhoff, which has been working on a deal to restructure the debt of some units after revealing multi-billion-euro holes in its balance sheet. The store closures still leave the Houston-based company with about 2,600 stores across the United States.

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