Africa

Air Zimbabwe Ltd., the state-owned carrier that declared itself insolvent this month, is considering long-haul routes and seeking partners in an effort to repair its finances, Bloomberg News reported. The airline will decide by the year end whether to start flights to China and Brazil, acting chief executive officer Edmund Makona said in an interview on March 25. Another potential destination is New York, he said. The company’s only current international destination is Johannesburg.
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Sierra Leone-focused mining company African Minerals has appointed administrators, it said on Thursday, having being battered by a rout in iron ore prices and costs related to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Reuters reported. After failing to repay its lender and partner in the Tonkolili iron ore project Shandong Iron and Steel Group, African Minerals has appointed Neville Kahn and Ian Wormleighton of Deloitte LLP as joint administrators of the company and of its subsidiary African Minerals Engineering Limited.
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Zimbabwe’s beleaguered mobile network operator Telecel Zimbabwe’s finances are in a sorry state amid indications the company is bankrupt. The company reportedly has management inefficiencies, high director fees and is riddled with hefty management fees paid out to its foreign shareholders. Since its inception in 1998, Telecel has gone through major changes in shareholding at an international level.
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Sierra Leone-focused mining company African Minerals said on Friday it will appoint administrators after failing to repay its lender and partner in the Tonkolili iron ore project Shandong Iron and Steel Group, Reuters reported. After taking on some of African Minerals' debt from banks and demanding immediate repayment last week, Shandong, which owns 25 percent in Tonkolili, took control of the holding companies in the project.
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Failed South African lender African Bank Investments Ltd (Abil) is lending at levels below what is required to set up a new "good bank" using its healthy assets, administrators said on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The bank collapsed under a mountain of bad debt in August, forcing the government to appoint external administrators to oversee a restructuring that includes curving out a "good bank" using its healthy assets worth 26 billion rand ($2.2 billion).
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African Minerals said on Friday its Chinese partner in its sole asset, the Tonkolili iron ore project in Sierra Leone, has taken on some of its multi-million dollar debt and is demanding repayment, Reuters reported. The loan is secured against certain assets of the borrower and by taking ownership of the debt, Shandong is in a position that could allow it to take control of the project. "The borrowers and guarantors do not have sufficient funds available to make the payment demanded," African Minerals said in a statement on Friday.
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Power Crisis Knocks South Africa Economy

A deepening power crisis that has triggered almost daily outages across South Africa, hitting key industries as well as households, has forced the government to sharply downgrade its growth forecast for the year, the Financial Times reported. Nhlanhla Nene, the finance minister, highlighted energy supply as the government’s critical challenge as he projected that growth for the year would be 2 per cent, down from the 2.5 per cent the Treasury forecast in October.
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South Africa recorded its worst economic growth in five years in 2014 as Africa’s most developed economy counted the cost of a wave of strikes, infrastructure bottlenecks and fragile business confidence, the Financial Times reported. An unprecedented five-month wage strike in the platinum mining sector, followed by a weeks-long strike by more than 220,000 metalworkers and engineers, dragged growth down to 1.5 per cent for the year. Mining and manufacturing however rebounded in the fourth quarter, with the economy expanding 4.1 per cent on a quarter-on-quarter basis.
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The business rescue plan for the furniture arm of failed South African lender Abil has realised a better cash position than had been earlier hoped, administrators said in a report. The retailer with debts adding up to around 1.3 billion rand ($115 million) was forced into business rescue last year, which allows for temporary protection from creditors, as parent African Bank Investments (Abil) crumbled under bad debts.
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Angola has dramatically slashed its budget for the year and is reaching out to the World Bank and international lenders for at least $1bn in loans as Africa’s second-biggest oil producer and one of the continent’s star economic performers grapples with the fallout from the collapse in crude prices, the Financial Times reported. Luanda has already approached Goldman Sachs and Gemcorp Capital LLP, a small London-based investment firm set up last year, for loans of $250m from each institution. Both groups declined to comment.
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