Africa

Mozambique has indicted 18 citizens for their involvement in fraud involving $2 billion in loans to state-owned companies, the attorney general's office (AGO) said on Monday, in a scandal that has ensnared two major international banks, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. "Mozambique AGO is indicting 18 defendants, (ranging) from public workers and other citizens, on charges of abuse of power, abuse of trust, swindling and money laundering," it said in a statement.

Read more

Sibanye Gold Ltd. said a protracted strike at its South African gold mines may hurt earnings at a time when the producer remains under pressure to reduce debt, Bloomberg News reported. Thousands of workers started a strike in November over pay, and there’s inconsistent output at three mines amid limited operations, spokesman James Wellsted said, without saying how many workers are showing up. Sibanye is assessing the impact on its finances, he said. While the strike won’t force a restructuring of the affected mines, there could be a review if the impact is severe, he said.

Read more

Emerging markets were a boon for bankers after the 2008 crisis, when resource-rich Africa and Asia seemed to have definitively decoupled from the debt-laden economies of the U.S. and Europe. Yet as lawsuits over alleged corruption and bribery pile up, an uglier side of those glory days is emerging — and taxpayers and investors will be left to pick up the tab, a Bloomberg View reported. Credit Suisse Group AG’s dealings in Mozambique, where about half the population lives in poverty, are the latest to be thrust in the spotlight by U.S. prosecutors.

Read more

Three former Credit Suisse bankers were charged by US prosecutors alongside Mozambique’s former finance minister over alleged fraud connected to the southern African nation’s $2bn hidden loans scandal, the Financial Times reported. A spokesperson for the US attorney’s office for the eastern district of New York said that three former employees of the Swiss investment bank were arrested in London on Thursday and their extradition was being sought over alleged money laundering and defrauding of US investors in the loans.

Read more

Absa Group Ltd. is having a hard time convincing some investors it can win back the market share lost while under the control of Barclays Plc. South Africa’s third-largest lender was once the leading retail bank with over 10 million customers and more mortgages on its books than any of its Johannesburg-based peers, Bloomberg News reported. Now, released from the shackles of London-based Barclays, Absa Chief Executive Officer Maria Ramos can take on more risk with a plan to grow revenue faster than her main rivals from 2019 to 2021.

Read more

Mozambique's former finance minister, Manuel Chang, has been arrested in South Africa at the request of the United States, a police spokesman said on Monday. Chang, who was in charge of Mozambique's finances when it guaranteed $2 billion in secret borrowing by state-owned firms in 2013 and 2014, was arrested on Saturday in Johannesburg, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. "He is wanted by the U.S.," police spokesman Vish Naidoo said.

Read more

Edcon Holdings Ltd. said lenders extended waivers to give the debt-laden South African retailer time to implement a recapitalization plan that was approved by its board, Bloomberg News reported. “The restructuring and recapitalization of Edcon has passed its next hurdle,” Chief Executive Officer Grant Pattison said in an emailed statement on Friday.

Read more

Troubled low-cost African carrier Fastjet Plc said on Thursday it had enough cash to operate until Dec. 21 and that it had met the conditions for an open offer and equity refinancing to raise funds, Reuters reported. The company in September announced a fundraising and equity refinancing aimed at increasing its equity base by at least $40 million, which will give the airline enough working capital until the end of 2019. The airline said it had cash balance of $7 million as of Wednesday, of which $6.5 million was restricted cash held inside Zimbabwe.

Read more

Amid rising fears that the South African economy is stuck with low growth, major financial institutions along with the South African National Treasury have cut their 2018 growth forecasts for Africa’s most industrialised economy, the Financial Times reported. One of numerous issues the government is facing is the financial health of Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned monopoly power utility company. The company’s semi-annual results announced on November 28 highlight just how daunting this issue is.

Read more