Six must-read business stories of the week

30 November 2018 - 07:34 By Odwa Mjo
MTN is contesting the Electronic Amendment Bill, which will require major cellphone networks to share their infrastructure with smaller competitors, at a prescribed rate.
MTN is contesting the Electronic Amendment Bill, which will require major cellphone networks to share their infrastructure with smaller competitors, at a prescribed rate.
Image: BLOOMBERG/WALDO SWIEGERS

Missed all the important business stories of the week? Here are six you will need to catch up on.

1. Eskom’s debt doubles

The South African power utility’s service-costs debt doubled in a year to R45bn. Eskom’s profit dropped from R6.3bn to R671m in six months in 2017. 

According to its CFO, Calib Cassim, Eskom is likely to surpass its R11.2bn loss that was projected for 2018. 

Eskom’s worrying performance was announced at a presentation of its financial results on Wednesday. 

The power utility’s primary energy costs increased by 12% to R46bn and employee-benefit expense grew by 12% to R16.9 billion. 

2. Nepi Rockcastle 

The commercial property investor and developer lost R9bn of its value on Wednesday after Viceroy Research accused the company of overstating its profit. Nepi Rockcastle dismissed Viceroy’s claims as “fiction”. 

According to Viceroy, Nepi’s Romania subsidiaries, which account for roughly 57% of the company’s net and rental income, reported a pre-tax profit of €248m (R3.8bn), despite the company operating at a loss of €41m (R638m). 

Nepi is one of the companies involved in the Resilient Group share-trading scandal.


3. Pepkor fined for misleading investors 

The Steinhoff subsidiary was fined R5m by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange for not disclosing to shareholders its R15.bn loan guarantee to Steinhoff International, as well as giving loans to senior management.

According to the JSE, Pepkor, formally known as Steinhoff Africa Retail (Star), failed to disclose a number of things required by the JSE when it released it’s pre-listing statement in September last year. 

4. African Bank to launch transnational banking product

African Bank is set to debut a transnational banking product in 2019 that promises to beat the cheapest banking charges in the country. 

According to Business Day, digital-based transnational banking is already being piloted, with 3000 employees utilising it.  

This is part of the bank’s plan to increase its customer base from 1.05m to 2.5m by 2021. 

5. The Electronic Communications Amendment Bill

MTN is standing its ground against the Electronic Amendment Bill, which will require major cellphone networks to share their infrastructure with smaller competitors, at a prescribed rate.

MTN contested the bill, seeing it as unfair. MTN and Vodacom already provide roaming services for smaller networks, at a price. However, the bill will require the Independent Communications Authority (Icasa) to decide the rates networks can charge their smaller competitors. 

Telkom recently signed a roaming agreement with Vodacom after using MTN’s services for nine years. Cell C also sealed a roaming deal with MTN in 2018. 

6. Anglo-American wants to chip in on land reform 

The mining company’s CEO, Mark Cutifani, said the land debate is a major topic on the table for its international investors.

According to Business Live, Cutifani hinted that Anglo American would chime in on land reform, possibly in the form of donating unused land around some of the company’s mines. 

Bloomberg reports that Anglo-American will make an announcement in December.


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