Africa

Ncondezi Energy Limited has received support “in principle” for a restructuring of an outstanding US$4.3mln loan plus interest, Proactive reported. The restructuring involves a 12-month extension on existing terms, including 12% annual interest rate and the ability for lenders to swap debt for equity in part or in full at a conversion price of 10p per share. Ncondezi can also nominate to pay the loan off through the issue of shares at a 25% to 30% premium to the 30-day average price. Half of the amount owed is to Ncondzei’s largest shareholder while 45% is held by the board and management.

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Zambia’s Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) smelter could restart next week after a delay of around a fortnight, mines minister Richard Masukwa told Reuters. The smelter was shut down in early October for annual maintenance, two days earlier than planned due to a leak, Reuters reported. It was initially scheduled to reopen on Nov. 15. “This week we are testing and I hope that next week (the smelter) will be up and running,” Masukwa said on the sidelines of the London Mines and Money conference.

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Nigerians are set to become poorer for the fourth year in a row, with economic growth, estimated by the IMF at 2.3 per cent, undershooting the 2.6 per cent increase in population, the Financial Times reported. The fund does not see this scenario reversing before 2022, a grim prospect for the 200m people in a country whose gross domestic product per head is a little over $2,000. Despite lower global prices, the oil sector has made modest progress this year. Production is up thanks to the Egina oilfield coming on line and fewer acts of sabotage by militants in the Niger Delta.

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Weak UK banking and wealth management performances dragged on Investec’s first-half profit, piling pressure on the Anglo-South African financial services firm’s shares, Reuters reported. Investec said on Thursday the spin-off of its asset management division next year was on track, a plan that will leave it with just banking and wealth management operations. Shares in Investec are down by almost 10% following a profit warning in September, and were around 2.5% lower in both London and Johannesburg by 0823 GMT.

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South African investment firm RMB Holdings (RMH) said on Tuesday it planned to distribute among shareholders its stake in lender FirstRand , worth about 130 billion rand ($8.8 billion), as part of a restructuring, Reuters reported. RMH has an almost three-decade history of investing in financial services, and FirstRand was born out of the group. It is the bank’s largest shareholder with a 34% stake. RMH’s largest investor, Remgro Ltd, has an almost 4% stake in FirstRand.

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Steinhoff International said on Monday its Australasian subsidiary Greenlit Brands sold its general merchandise division to Allegro Funds, as the South African retailer grapples with the fallout of an accounting scandal worth about $7 billion, Reuters reported. Steinhoff had said in August its only way to survive was to slim down and sell its assets. “The sale of Greenlit Brands General Merchandise division is a further step in Steinhoff’s programme of planned divestments,” Louis du Preez, Steinhoff Group CEO said.

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South Africa’s government has appointed packaging firm chief executive Andre de Ruyter as the new head of Eskom and tasked him with restructuring the heavily indebted state utility whose power plants are struggling to keep the nation’s lights on, Reuters reported. Investor worries about South Africa’s economy have been reignited after repeated power cuts in February and March dragged growth into negative territory in the first quarter. The Ministry of Public Enterprises said de Ruyter, chief executive of Nampak, would start at Eskom on Jan.

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Steinhoff International has sold its UK furniture retailing business to Alteri Investors’ new retail fund as it strives to cut debt, the Financial Times reported. The stores Bensons for Beds, Harveys Furniture and upholstery and bedding manufacturers Relyon have been owned by the troubled South African conglomerate since 2005 but have struggled recently as UK consumers turn more cautious about big-ticket items. In the year to September 2017, the last period for which accounts are available, Bensons and Harveys made a combined operating loss of £28m on sales of £566m.

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The South African government signaled it’s going to take a hardline approach to its cash-strapped national airline as labor unions prepared to strike over pay and job cuts, forcing the carrier to cancel almost all its flights over the next two days, Bloomberg News reported. “If some tough decisions need to be made, we’ll make them,” Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said in a speech at a conference in New York Thursday.

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South Africa’s post office is cutting several hundred jobs, the second state-owned company in as many days to detail plans to lay off workers as the government looks to slash its wage bill, Bloomberg News reported. Finance Minister Tito Mboweni signaled last month he’s intent on lowering the government’s payroll costs, which consume 35% of national spending. The cuts are part of a plan to defend the nation’s last remaining investment-grade credit rating, which has a negative outlook.

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