Moneyweb has filed an application in the Tsakane Magistrate’s Court in Ekurhuleni.]]> |||
Johannesburg - Moneyweb has filed an application in the Tsakane Magistrate’s Court in Ekurhuleni, asking that its journalist assist the court in deciding whether administration orders should be granted, it reported on Thursday.
“This is a very serious case where desperate people are exploited... hopefully this act of activist journalism... will prevent the further fraudulent exploitation of vulnerable people,” Moneyweb editor Ryk van Niekerk said.
The application, lodged on Wednesday, requested that its journalist be admitted as a friend of the court, and sought to question the validity of 15 debt administration order applications brought by PI Debt Solutions.
Moneyweb said the journalist and one of Debt Solutions’ recent administration order clients carried out an intensive investigation on the validity of the residential addresses used by the administration order applicants.
“In every instance investigated by Moneyweb, the applicant had used a false address. We were able, in nearly every matter, to track down and confirm the applicant’s true address,” it said.
“According to the law, the residential or work address determines in which court an administration order can be granted. Not one of the 15 applicants’ actual addresses was found to be in the jurisdiction of the Tsakane court.” - Sapa]]>
German software giant SAP said it is sticking to its full-year forecasts for 2014 after profits rose slightly in the first quarter.]]> |||
Frankfurt - German software giant SAP said Thursday it is sticking to its full-year forecasts for 2014 after profits rose slightly in the first quarter.
SAP said that net profit rose by 3.0 percent to 534 million euros ($739 million) in the period from January to March, underlying or operating profit was up 12 percent at 723 million euros on a 3.0-percent increase in revenues to 3.698 billion euros.
SAP publishes two sets of accounts, one according to international financial reporting standards (IFRS) and another according to national accounting standards or non-IFRS.
It provides forecasts based solely on non-IFRS data.
“Our outlook for the full-year 2014 ... remains unchanged,” SAP said.
Operating profit was projected to come out at 5.8-6.0 billion euros, which would represent an increase of 6.0-9.0 percent from 2013, the software maker said. - SAP]]>
Cellphone giant MTN announced it had dropped its voice call rates to R0.79c a minute across all local networks.]]> |||
Johannesburg - Cellphone giant MTN announced on Monday it had dropped its voice call rates to R0.79c a minute across all local networks, adding more competition to an already highly competitive market.
The mobile network launched the promotion on its website, stating: “In the past 20 years, South Africa has ushered in amazing changes.
“And, as one of South Africa’s largest cellular network providers, MTN has been proud to play a part in bringing about these historic changes by connecting people and starting conversations.”
And indeed, the network has created considerable hype with the announcement at a time when voice calls are declining in the country in favour of data bundles and wi-fi services use.
But it’s for a limited time only.
Yesterday, the network said in a statement: “The 79c flat rate is accessible to MTN customers from 11 April 2014 for the next three months, with the intention to make this a permanent rate.”
The announcement became a trending topic on social networking site Twitter, with the hashtag #MTN79, with many noting in their tweets that it was setting a new bar for cheaper call rates from Cell C, which offers 99c a minute.
However, one will have to read the small print carefully as there are different terms and conditions for the three service plans it offers.
For example, the MTN Pay Per Second price plan normally allows for an all-day flat rate of R0.02c a second (R1.20 a minute) billing on all local calls to any local network.
The reduced pricing of R0.79c a minute for that plan is effective from 11.59pm last Thursday until 23.49pm on July 9.
In terms of the MTN PAYG Bundles, the provider offers the R0.79c/minute call rate for voice bundles from February 23 until next Thursday.
The MTN PAYG R7, R12, R17 bundle promotional rate is effective from last Thursday until June 17 when the calls will also be charged at R0.79c/minute.
Vodacom spokesman Richard Boorman said the challenge for all network operators was to get the balance between pricing and investment right so that customers could benefit from lower prices, but did not suffer from a worse network experience as a result.
“The mobile voice market is highly competitive – as an example, Vocadom’s average effective price per minute on prepaid as per our most recent trading statement is 56c.
“This is 25 percent lower than a year ago and 50 percent lower than three years ago,” he said. - The Star]]>
PepsiCo reported a stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit as the company slashed costs and sold more snacks around the world.]]> |||
New York - PepsiCo reported a stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit as the company slashed costs and sold more snacks around the world.
The company, which makes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Mountain Dew and Tropicana, said global snack volume rose 2 percent while beverages were even from a year ago.
Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston said on CNBC that the results show the company's snack and beverage units are “really performing terrifically” together.
Johnston compared the combination to peanut butter and jelly, saying that “snacks and beverages are bought together 55 percent of the time.”
His comments seemed to address ongoing calls by activist investor Nelson Peltz of Trian Fund Management for PepsiCo to split up the two units.
Peltz says the company's stronger snack unit is being overshadowed by the underperforming beverage unit, which has long trailed Coca-Cola.
PepsiCo has steadfastly rejected the suggestion.
In its closely watched North American beverage unit, PepsiCo Inc. said volume was even for the quarter ended March 22.
A 1 percent decline in sodas was offset by growth in other drinks. Core revenue rose as the company raised prices.
For its Frito-Lay North America unit, volume rose 3 percent.
In Europe, snack and beverage volume each rose by 3 percent.
In the unit encompassing Asia, the Middle East and Africa, the company said revene growth was driven by higher snack volume.
For the quarter, the company earned $1.22 billion, or 79 cents per share.
Not including one-time items, it earned 83 cents per share, above the 75 cents per share Wall Street expected.
A year ago, it earned $1.08 billion, or 69 cents per share.
Revenue edged up to $12.62 billion, higher than the $12.39 billion analysts expected.
PepsiCo, based in Purchase, N.Y., stood by its outlook for the year.
It expects adjusted earnings per share to grow by 7 percent. - Sapa-AP]]>
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing said its first-quarter net profit rose 21 percent year-on-year.]]> |||
Taipei - Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co said Thursday its first-quarter net profit rose 21 percent year-on-year, boosted by stronger than expected demand for chips used in smartphones and tablets.
The world's biggest contract chip maker said net profit rose to Tw$47.87 billion ($1.6 billion) in the January-March period, while revenue grew 11.6 percent to Tw$148.22 billion from a year earlier.
Net profit and revenue rose 6.8 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, from the fourth quarter last year, the company said in a statement.
The figures exceeded a forecast TSMC made last month when raising its first-quarter guidance on robust demand for sophisticated chips used in mobile devices.
The company had expected first-quarter revenue of around Tw$147 billion.
“In the first quarter, we saw much stronger demand for our wafers across all segments but more pronounced in mobile-related applications than we had initially predicted,” said chief financial officer Lora Ho.
TSMC said mobile device makers have turned more positive in their outlook this year, driven by better-than-expected business in the last quarter of 2013.
They were actively restocking inventory before new product launches.
The company expects a strong rebound in demand to continue in the second quarter, with estimated revenue of around Tw$180-Tw$183
billion while gross profit margin is expected at 47.5-49.5 percent and operating profit margin at 36.5-38.5 percent.
TSMC is also expected to get a boost from supplying the “A8” chips to be used in Apple's next iPhone starting in the second or third quarter, according to Dow Jones Newswires. - Sapa-AFP]]>
Finance, Economic Development and Tourism MEC Alan Winde has braved the bowling of some of South Africa’s best cricket stars in support of local business.]]> |||
Cape Town - Finance, Economic Development and Tourism MEC Alan Winde has braved the bowling of some of South Africa’s best cricket stars in support of local business.
Winde padded up and took to the crease at the indoor cricket nets at local bat-maker D&P Cricket yesterday – staring down Proteas Vernon Philander, Rory Kleinveldt and Dane Piedt, the up-and-coming star with the Cobras.
Winde said of the experience as a batsman: “It’s easy to act very bravely behind a TV set watching our guys. When you’re having to face them yourself it’s a very different story.
“We have huge respect for our cricketers, and when you face them, that respect just grows.
“I was very grateful to have pads all over me.
“The coach came along and told me: ‘C’mon, hit the ball.’ Sometimes you just need to be brave and face what’s coming your way. I also worked out today that I’m a bit better at legislation and the economy than being a professional cricketer…”
Philander, while not bowling at full tilt, joked: “It is not us who hurt batsmen, it’s the ball.”
The small Cape Town company has for 15 years been quietly crafting bats for the best in the world.
Their timber comes from JS Wright & Sons, a company born around 1894.
They target mature willow trees, 15 to 20 years old, with trunks with a circumferences of 142cm, at 142cm from the ground.
Their preferred species is Salix alba Caerulea which has tough, lightweight wood that does not splinter easily.
Each trunk should yield three to five bat lengths of 71cm each, and the trees are purchased standing, with all felling, extraction and clearing down to JS Wright & Sons.
They are then cut into clefts and each end is waxed to prevent splinting.
The clefts are dried naturally and then under lights, before being sent around the world.
The company supplies 90 percent of the world’s willow, and 80 percent of it goes to factories in India and Pakistan.
But several paletts of clefts are also delivered to Ottery into the hands of D&P Cricket, and its founder, Paul Borst, an Englishman who settled in Cape Town in 1998.
After being hammered into shape, the company produces about 1 000 bats a year, with specifications strictly adhering to rules imposed by the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club), the historic home of Lords cricket ground in St John’s Wood in London.
Unlike mass-produced bats, the timber is compressed by hand-operated presses, after which the bat-maker will strike the face with a wooden mallet, listening for minute, for tell-tale differences in the “clunk” sound to ascertain whether the timber is hard yet flexible enough in the right places – much like a piano tuner.
“Every piece of wood is different. The longer you spend with each piece, the better. Pressing is essentially the most significant, controllable aspect of determining the ‘response’ and lifespan of each bat,” Borst explained
An Indonesian cane handle, laminated with rubber or cork, is then spliced into the willow, with its own characteristics for strength and flexibility.
The bats are then hand-shaped with a draw knife and every bat is given uniquely shaped edges, toes and shoulders, crafted by master bat-maker Kevin Heuvel, before being sanded, oiled and tested – often with their new owners checking in at the factory to watch their bats being born.
The company also produces a wide range of cricket gear, and counts among its sponsored players the trio whose bowling Winde faced yesterday.
Winde said, after touring the factory: “It was great to see the skill and artistry.
“This is not mass production with programmed milling, but personal shaping of willow. It was amazing to watch. Every bat has a unique feel to it.
“Their label has their brand on it, as well as the words ‘Cape Town’, and that’s great, having our world-class products used by our heroes around the world.
“But, most importantly, it’s quality, home-made – and this is how we’re going to grow our economy,” Winde said. - Cape Argus]]>
There was a mixed reaction from traders to a new draft of the Western Cape Liquor Amendment Bill at a sitting of the provincial authority yesterday.]]> |||
Cape Town - There was a mixed reaction from traders to a new draft of the Western Cape Liquor Amendment Bill at a sitting of the provincial authority yesterday.
The draft proposes 11 amendments to the legislation in an attempt to refine regulations and control liquor consumption in the Western Cape.
The MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde, said the department wanted to reduce the red tape surrounding liquor licensing.
“These laws need to be easy – they can’t be so bureaucratic that we make it easier to be illegal,” said Winde.
“Liquor usage is a personal responsibility. Personal responsibility around alcohol is where we have to be.”
Key draft amendments include broadening accessibility to special event licences and a repeal of the provision prohibiting unlicensed individuals from possessing more than 150 litres of alcohol.
The draft would also repeal the prohibition on the sale or consumption of liquor in the grounds of petrol stations, a provision that had been introduced to discourage drinking and driving.
It would allow police officers with low ranks to inspect premises without a warrant and close down licensed vendors indefinitely.
Previously, the bill had allowed for closures to remain in force only until the end of the business day.
Danie Cronje, a liquor law specialist who manages a portfolio of liquor retailers for Cluver Markotter, was unhappy about increased police access.
“It’s the lower-ranking officials making a judgement about health, which is not in their expertise,” said Cronje.
Business owners also spoke out about a city by-law that came into effect on February 1, forcing stores to close at 6pm and prohibiting selling on Sundays,
“By the time people get out of work we’re closed and we’re really seeing a drop in sales,” said an Athlone store owner.
Thys Giliomee, chief executive of the Western Cape Liquor Authority, said: “You must apply to the city for extended hours.” - Cape Argus]]>
DRDGold announced the appointment of chartered accountant Johan Holtzhausen as an independent non-executive director.]]> |||
Johannesburg - DRDGold Limited on Thursday announced the appointment of chartered accountant Johan Holtzhausen as an independent non-executive director with effect from April 25, the company said in a statement.
Holtzhausen has more than 42 years' experience in the accounting profession, having served as a senior partner at KPMG, and held the highest generally accepted accounting principles (United States), the company said.
“Mr Holtzhausen currently serves as an independent director and chairs the audit and risk committee, on a voluntary basis, of the Tourism Enterprise Partnership...” the statement said. - Sapa]]>
The Copper Theft Barometer increased in March to R11 million, from R10.7m in February, the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said.]]> |||
Johannesburg - The Copper Theft Barometer increased in March to R11 million, from R10.7m in February, the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said on Thursday.
This was 10 percent higher than the previous year, and above the 2013 monthly average of R10.5m, it said in a statement.
“The relatively low monthly volatility in the series over the past 13 months would suggest that R10m has become the new initial benchmark,” Sacci said.
“While this is certainly a positive development... it is still a very high number.”
The Copper Theft Volume Indicator increased in March to 153 metric tons from 136 metric tons in February.
“The outlook for reduction in copper theft levels for 2014 remains relatively optimistic,” said the chamber.
“Once the R10m a month benchmark is established, the next benchmark should be set below R5m a month.”
It said the lower copper price was likely to contribute to a downward trend in copper theft. - Sapa]]>
The Constitutional Court ordered Sassa to initiate a new tender process for the payment of welfare grants.]]> |||
Cape Town - The Constitutional Court ordered Sassa on Thursday to initiate a new tender process for the payment of welfare grants, but said in the meanwhile the current contract-holder, Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), must continue to carry out its obligations.
To achieve this, the court suspended its declaration of that contract as invalid.
The court also imposed a structural interdict that the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) appoint a new bid evaluation committee and report back on each stage of the tender process.
The ruling follows a Constitutional Court decision in November last year declaring the R10 billion contract with CPS invalid, following a long legal challenge by losing bidder AllPay Consolidated Investment Holdings.
The court then heard further argument about a suitable remedy to ensure that the payment of some 15 million welfare grants continued smoothly, with Sassa arguing that the existing contract should be allowed to run.
On Thursday, the court found that the decision on a final remedy, and the awarding of a new contract, lay with Sassa.
It said if Sassa found that it could not award a new contract for a five-year period, it would suspend the declaration of invalidity until the contract with CPS had run its course.
However, the court also held that CPS was not allowed to benefit from an unlawful contract and that its proceeds should not be beyond public scrutiny.
Sassa had argued that it intended to administer the social grant system itself from 2017, and that any new tender issued would therefore be for a short period and not profitable.
Its legal counsel argued that since all parties agreed that a new tender should run for five years, the court would be stopping Sassa from implementing its prerogative in this regard and violating the separation between the executive and the judiciary.
AllPay initially challenged the contract in the High Court, which found that the tender process had been unfair, but declined to set it aside on the basis that it would disrupt the payment of grants.
The Supreme Court of Appeal overturned the ruling, finding that a contract need not be set aside because there had been “inconsequential irregularities”.
AllPay then appealed to the Constitutional Court, which found that Sassa had an obligation to investigate and confirm the empowerment credentials of the bidders before awarding a tender, and declared giving it to CPS constitutionally invalid. - Sapa]]>