South Africa

South Africa should act to preserve its insolvent national airline and seek to partner the carrier with Ethiopian Airlines Group, according to a study commissioned for ruling-party lawmakers, Bloomberg News reported. The assessment, seen by Bloomberg, was prepared by African Aviation Services Ltd. and dated Oct. 4. It was presented to a group of African National Congress lawmakers on Monday, according to an ANC official who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

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South Africa’s National Treasury wants strict conditions attached to any guarantees it provides for loans to the country’s embattled state airline, according to two people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News reported. Treasury and Department of Public Enterprises officials met Saturday to discuss ways to restart South African Airways, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. Representatives of two South African banks attended the talks, they said. SAA halted operations and sought bankruptcy protection in December.

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South Africa has pledged 10.5 billion rand ($650 million) to South African Airways (SAA), one of the administrators of the ailing state-owned airline said on Friday, Reuters reported. The administrators took control of SAA in December after almost a decade of financial losses and have been trying to keep it afloat as the coronavirus pandemic compounds its longstanding problems. Administrators published a restructuring plan in June, but the more than 10 billion rand required for it to work has not materialised since the airline’s creditors approved it in July.

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South African Rugby (SA Rugby) has placed the Southern Kings into voluntary liquidation because of debts of R55 million ($3.37 million) and no chance of generating any income this year, Reuters reported. The Kings, based in Port Elizabeth, were last month withdrawn from all competition due to their financial position following a failed takeover bid that forced SA Rugby and the Eastern Province Rugby Union to take control.

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Woolworths Holdings is reviewing its South African clothing business and the food division of Australian unit David Jones to respond to fashion trends and stem losses amid a slump in earnings, its chief executive said on Thursday, Reuters reported. Roy Bagattini, who took over as CEO of the fashion and food retailer in February, is on a mission to improve the performance of the David Jones department store chain. His predecessor Ian Moir paid a premium to bulk up in Australia and turn the company into a leading southern hemisphere retailer.

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South African banks have made their rainy-day provisions. Now, they must wait and see whether the funds set aside will be enough to manage a potential torrent of bad debt and ease pressure on their earnings in coming months, Bloomberg News reported. The country’s so-called “Big Four” experienced a profit slump deeper than that seen during the global financial crisis in the six months ended June after a spike in credit impairment charges as they grappled with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and a nationwide lockdown.

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Administrators at struggling South African Airways (SAA) have called creditors to a meeting on Friday after the government missed a deadline to make funding available for a restructuring plan, Reuters reported. The administrators took control of state-owned SAA in December after almost a decade of financial losses and published a rescue plan in June following repeated delays and wrangling over its future.

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South African Airways needs short-term funding from the government by the end of next week for the state carrier’s business rescue process to continue, its administrators said on Thursday, Reuters reported. “It is prudent to advise affected persons of the company’s dire financial position,” they said in a statement.

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Ethiopian Airlines is in talks over possible involvement in the rescue of flagship carrier South African Airways (SAA), the head of the airline told Reuters on Friday, Reuters reported. SAA hasn’t made a profit since 2011 and has been under a form of bankruptcy protection since late last year. Creditors have approved a restructuring plan, but the government needs to find at least 10 billion rand ($580 million) of funding for it to work.

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South African retailer Truworths International Ltd said on Thursday it will advance funding of 6.5 million pounds ($8.62 million) to its British footwear unit Office as part of a rescue plan, Reuters reported. The group as a whole, which sells clothes, jewellery and homeware, as well as shoes, has been hit by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and store closures because of lockdowns. On Thursday, it said its headline earnings per share, South Africa’s most closely-watched profit figure, fell by 28.2% in the year to June 28.

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