Africa

The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) said on Monday it had suspended trading of Kenya’s ARM Cement three days after it was put under administration, Reuters reported. “The suspension in trading of the company’s shares takes effect from August 20, 2018,” NSE said in a statement. “This suspension shall remain in force for seven (7) working days.” The suspension is issued with the approval of the Capital Markets Authority, NSE said.
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Ghana is borrowing its way out of a banking crisis. The government of West Africa’s second-biggest economy --- its budget already stretched by interest costs that consume about a third of its revenue -- is piling on debt to cover the liabilities of failed lenders and settle arrears dating back 20 years, Bloomberg News reported. It was left with little choice but to issue bonds to save an industry the International Monetary Fund sees as a financial-stability threat.
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Kenya’s ARM Cement has been put into administration, PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a statement on Saturday, days after ARM Cement’s chief executive officer said he was relinquishing his post but staying on its board, Reuters reported. PWC’s Muniu Thoiti and George Weru have been appointed as joint administrators. PWC’s statement, published in local newspapers, said the administration, under Kenya’s Insolvency Act, was effective on Aug. 17.
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Tax collection in Africa resembles an exasperating fishing expedition, in which the big fish wriggle into tax havens and the tiddlers hide in the informal sector. It is made even harder by a self-inflicted problem. Governments give out a range of exemptions, thereby poking holes in their own nets, The Economist reported. Consider “tax expenditures”, a measure of the revenue lost by deviations from usual tax rates. Taxmen in Kenya and Uganda let about 5% of GDP slip through their fingers in this way, according to the World Bank.
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Ghana’s central bank plans to prosecute executives of failed local lenders suspected of dissipating depositors’ funds and insider dealing, the regulator told Reuters on Tuesday. The Bank of Ghana on Aug. 1 said it had revoked the licenses of Unibank and smaller peers Royal Bank, Beige Bank, Sovereign Bank and Construction Bank, and had appointed a receiver to manage their assets because they had become insolvent, Reuters reported.
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South African state-owned power firm Eskom has hired financial adviser Lazard to draft a plan to shore up its balance sheet as it struggles to emerge from a financial crisis, two banking sources told Reuters. Cash-strapped Eskom is critical to Africa’s most industrialised economy as it supplies more than 90 percent of its power and is one of its most indebted state firms, Reuters reported. President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed a new board at Eskom early this year in one of his first interventions since becoming leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
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Standard Chartered Plc and Commerzbank AG are among companies targeted by investors suing Steinhoff International Holdings NV to recover as much as 12 billion euros ($13.8 billion) they claim they lost because of accounting irregularities at the retail giant, Bloomberg News reported. The suit was filed in Johannesburg and seeks class-action status to cover shareholders who bought Steinhoff stock from June 26, 2013 to December 5, 2017, South African lawfirm LHL Attorneys said in an emailed statement.
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Steinhoff International Holdings NV relocated two units at the heart of its accounting scandal to the U.K. as the retailer embarks on a new phase of recovery after reorganizing debt, Bloomberg News reported. Steinhoff Europe AG and Steinhoff Finance Holdings GmbH will move from Austria to Cheltenham, England -- where the South African company’s U.K. business is based. The supervisory boards of both units have been redrawn, with Steinhoff Chief Financial Officer Philip Dieperink and Commercial Director Louis du Preez holding positions at the Europe division.
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Heavy debt exposure to Ivory Coast’s largest domestic cocoa exporter, which has been ordered into liquidation, risks destabilizing the West African nation’s banking sector, bank officials said on Tuesday. A court on July 18 ordered the liquidation of the SAF-Cacao group of companies, which includes exporter CIPEXI and processor CHOCO-IVOIRE, over unpaid debts to the Ivorian marketing board, the Coffee and Cocoa Council, Reuters reported.
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