SA Airways group revenue grew 12 percent to reach R30.3 billion, according to its financial results for the year 2013/2014.]]> |||
Johannesburg - SA Airways group revenue grew 12 percent to reach R30.3 billion, according to its financial results for the year 2013/2014 released on Friday.
“During the period in review, the SAA Group has realised growth in revenues by 12 percent (from R27,1 billion to R30,3 billion) with an operating loss (EBITDA) of R374 million reported (R425 million FY 2012/13),” SAA said in a statement.
EBITDA stands for “Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization”.
Cost containment during the reporting period yielded sustainable savings of R453 million.
“The SAA Group's domestic operations remain profitable with 10 percent growth in its profit contribution from R722 million to R791 million.”
African routes grew 17 percent, from R648 million to R761 million.
“SAA's long-haul intercontinental operations recorded an increased loss from R1.3 billion in the previous financial year (2012/13) to R1.6 billion in losses reported for the 2013/2014 financial year.”
However re-configurated routes to Beijing and Mumbai were expected significantly improve performance.
The weakened rand and high fuel prices had affected the financials for period review. Also, revaluation of seven wide-body aircraft owned by SAA resulted in an impairment of R782 million - as well as an extra R192 million write down on related spares and inventory.
There were further impairments relating to the delivery of four new A320 aircraft, part of a 2002 legacy agreement, renegotiated in 2009, for 20 planes.
“However, the contract provides for annual escalations which resulted in the purchase price exceeding the market value at date of delivery Ä thus leading to a further impairment of R369 million.
Future deliveries on the contract were expected to lead to further impairments, the airline group said.
“SAA's remaining capital commitment for these purchases is R822 million.”
SAA was one of three state owned companies transferred to the Treasury from the department of public enterprises on December 12
last year after Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said Cabinet was concerned about their performance.
Last week the finance ministry announced that Minister Nhlanhla Nene had approved an additional R6.488 billion guarantee for SAA, taking the total guarantees granted to the airline to R14.3bn, subject to certain provisos.
The release of SAA's financial statements for the 2013/14
financial year had been delayed because it was technically insolvent. The guarantee allows SAA to borrow more money.
“It is the intent of the Board (reconstituted in October 2014) and SAA management to reduce the reliance on guarantees and return the business to relative stability,” SAA said.
Nene said in a speech prepared for delivery after SAA's annual general meeting on Friday that state-owned companies would not simply be granted hand-outs.
“Let me reiterate, over the medium term, any funding of state-owned companies will be contingent on the implementation of sound restructuring plans with strong government oversight.
“Given fiscal constraints over the next two years, re-capitalisation will not be drawn from tax revenue or added to the debt of national government.”
The 90-day action plan, which ends March 24, for the airline's recovery would take time to fully reflect on the company's financials, Nene said.
“Importantly, SAA must be self-sustaining as no recapitalisation will be forthcoming from the shareholder and SAA will therefore be required to generate the required profits to return the airline to financial sustainability.”
Petrol and diesel prices in Namibia will drop by more than one Namibian dollar from next week.]]> |||
Windhoek - Petrol and diesel prices in Namibia will drop by more than one Namibian dollar from next week, government announced on Friday.
“The petrol price will drop by one Namibian dollar per litre from 4 February and diesel by one Namibian dollar and twenty cents,” the mines and energy ministry said in a statement.
Three weeks ago, the ministry decreased petrol and diesel prices by 60 cents each.
Fuel prices have fallen by nearly two Namibian dollars in one month.
“The global price of crude oil, which has been around US100 per barrel for the past six years, has been collapsing in the past months and is now below US50,” the ministry said.
“The supply of oil has increased sharply in recent months, mainly because of the prolific production of shale oil in the United States.”
Growth in the total value of outstanding credit balances in the household sector slowed to 3.4 percent year-on-year at the end of December.]]> |||
Johannesburg - Growth in the total value of outstanding credit balances in the household sector slowed to 3.4 percent year-on-year at the end of December last year, the lowest level since early 2010, Absa said on Friday.
“Growth in household unsecured credit balances dropped further to a level last seen around mid-2010, while growth in secured credit balances was largely stable at a low level in the last four months of 2014,” the bank's property analyst, Jacques du Toit, said in a statement.
“Growth in outstanding household mortgage balances was only marginally up to 2.3 percent year-on-year at end-December last year, from 2.2 percent year-on-year, and two percent year-on-year at end-November and end-October respectively.”
Economic developments, and the resulting impact on household finances and consumer confidence, would affect household credit and its various components.
Growth in household credit balances, including mortgage balances, was forecast to remain in single digits this year.
This was despite economic growth forecast to pick up this year, lower inflation on the back of decreasing international oil and domestic fuel prices, and interest rates projected to rise only later in the year.
South Africa's cumulative trade deficit was R95.3 billion in 2014, the SA Revenue Service said.]]> |||
Johannesburg - South Africa's cumulative trade deficit was R95.3 billion in 2014, the SA Revenue Service (Sars) said on Friday.
In 2013, it was R71.4bn, Sars said in a statement.
In December, the country recorded a trade surplus of R6.9bn, due to exports of R87.5bn and imports of R80.5bn.
Exports increased from November to December by R3.2bn (3.8
percent), and imports decreased from November to December by R8.9bn (9.9 percent).
The trade statistics include country trade data for Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Swaziland.
South Africa recorded a trade surplus of R13.5bn with Africa, having exported goods worth a total of R23.7bn, and imported goods worth a total of R10bn.
Trade with the Americas registered a R827 million surplus. Trade with Asia showed a R8.9bn deficit. Trade with Europe saw a R4.3bn deficit. Trade with Oceania registered a R131m surplus.
The price of all grades of petrol will drop by 93 cents a litre next week.]]> |||
Johannesburg - The price of all grades of petrol will drop by 93 cents a litre next week, the energy department said on Friday.
The price of diesel (0.05 and 0.005 percent sulphur) would decrease by R1.02 a litre.
The new prices would come into effect on Wednesday.
Power supply will remain extremely constrained over the weekend but no blackouts are expected, Eskom said.]]> |||
Johannesburg - Power supply will remain extremely constrained over the weekend but no blackouts are expected, Eskom said on Friday.
“The forecast for the weekend and the coming week indicates that the system will remain extremely constrained,” it said in a statement.
“The electricity supply system is still tight but stable and no load shedding is expected.”
However, extra loads or faults could result in rolling blackouts.
Eskom was making progress with planned maintenance, but it urged customers to save electricity.
Funding for SA’s state firms will be raised in a way that has no effect on the national budget deficit, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene reiterated on Friday.]]> |||
Johannesburg - Funding for South Africa's state firms will be raised in a way that has no effect on the national budget deficit, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene reiterated on Friday.
The state has said it would sell “non-essential assets” to raise 20 billion rand ($2 billion) for cash-strapped power utility Eskom. Earlier this month, the government approved an additional loan guarantee of 6.488 billion rand for similarly troubled national airline SAA.
“National Treasury... will continue to monitor all guarantees that have been issued to SOCs (state owned companies) closely,” Nene said after SAA's annual general meeting.
“Further government support in the form of guarantees will only be provided on the basis of a sound business plans.” - Reuters]]>
US rap star Jay Z will make a $56-million foray into the music streaming business.]]> |||
US rap star Jay Z will make a $56-million foray into the music streaming business by taking over the Norwegian service Wimp, its shareholders confirmed Friday.
The platinum-selling artist and record producer Jay Z used his controlling stake in Project Panther Bidco to launch the 464-million-kronor ($56-million, 49-million-euro) bid for Aspiro, the Swedish-listed company behind Wimp.
“I think they will be a better owner to lift Aspiro and its advanced music streaming service to a new level,” said Trond Berger, the financial director of Norwegian media group Shibsted, currently Aspiro's majority owner.
He said in a statement that Jay Z's company “has adequate financial resources and a high level of competence in the music industry”.
At the end of the third quarter 2014, Wimp said it had 512,000 paying users in Germany, Poland and the Nordic countries.
That is a far cry from the its Nordic rival Spotify, a pioneer in the streaming music business. The unlisted company boasted 15 million paying subscribers in mid-January and is available in more than 60 countries.
Spotify has hired US bank Goldman Sachs to raise around $500 million (440 million euros) in a new round of funding, the Financial Times reported Friday, pushing back a stock-exchange listing for the Swedish startup that analysts have long said is around the corner.
Spotify declined to comment on the report.
In addition to producing records Jay Z has branched out into fashion and last year bought the champagne brand Armand de Brignac that boasts an ace of spades on its label.
Eighty-four miners were killed last year, the lowest ever in SA’s mining history, Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi said.]]> |||
Johannesburg - Eighty-four miners were killed in South Africa last year, the lowest ever in the country's mining history, Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi said on Friday.
“It is encouraging to note that 2014 mine fatalities are the lowest ever recorded in the history of mining in South Africa,” he told reporters in Pretoria.
This continued a trend that began in 2013, as mine deaths had previously been over a hundred a year.
Of the 84 deaths, 44 occurred in gold mines, 15 in platinum mines, nine in coal mines, and 16 in other mines.
Other mines include diamond, chrome, copper, and iron ore mines.
A total of 93 miners died in 2013; 37 at gold mines, 27 at platinum mines, seven at coal mines and 22 on other mines.
The industry had made steady progress in reducing fatalities.
The 2014 figure was an 86 percent drop from the 615 deaths recorded in 1993.
Despite the improvement, the minister said he was concerned about the seven mineworkers who had already been killed in 2015.
“I want to convey my serious concern that we continue to experience loss of life in the sector. It is with deepest regret and sadness that so early in 2015, seven mine workers have already lost their lives.”
He said it was apparent from the figures that gold and platinum mines were the main contributors to accidents and fatalities.
“This is regrettable, as we believe that these mines should be at the forefront in terms of the appropriate systems and expertise to enhance health and safety.”
Workers' health and safety was crucial to mining's long-term sustainability, the minister said.
“Hence our steely resolve to implement enforcement measures in terms of the law.”
The deaths were grouped into “general classification” fatalities (35 percent), falls-of-ground (30 percent), and transportation-related deaths (17 percent).
General classification includes inhaling dangerous fumes, being struck by an object, and falling from height.
The number of mine injuries dropped by about 18 percent, from 3123 in 2013, to 2569 in 2014.
“Although this is the lowest ever reported, the department is still greatly concerned about the high number of injuries reported at our mines,” Ramatlhodi said.
This was because most of the reported injuries were not new, but mainly due to repeat accidents.
The reported number of occupational diseases dropped from 18,371 cases in 2003, to 6810 in 2013, mainly pulmonary tuberculosis and noise-induced hearing loss.
Between 2012 and 2013, there were increases in the number of cases of TB (2838 to 3255), silicosis (1420 to 1430), and hearing loss (1075 to 1389).
“The gold sector continues to report a higher number of occupational diseases than all the other sectors.
“The poor implementation of health programmes at some mines remains a major concern,” Ramatlhodi said.
Namibia Power Corporationis planning a $300 million gas-fired electricity plant venture.]]> |||
Windhoek - Namibia Power Corporation, the state-owned utility planning a $300 million gas-fired electricity plant venture, says construction will start before mid year.
The 250-megawatt project will be commissioned in the following 18 months, Managing Director Paulinus Shilamba said Friday in a telephone interview. The plant, to be located in Namibia’s coastal Erongo region, will use fuel sourced from a U.S.-based gas trader, he said.
“Various fuel options were investigated prior to initiation of the procurement process,” Shilamba said. “Gas and heavy-fuel oils were found to be the viable options for bridging the anticipated power supply gap in the short to medium term, taking into account the required operating regime of the plant post the commissioning of the Kudu project.”
Nampower, as the company is called, plans to have the plant operational toward the end of 2016 or early 2017 to bridge supply imbalances ahead of its planned 1,050 Kudu gas-to-power plant. Nampower owns 30 percent of the facility, while Xaris Energy holds a 70 percent stake, Shilamba said.
The project has secured “political guarantees” from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, a unit of The World Bank, Shilamba said.
“We decided to go the MIGA route because government guarantees take a long process before they are secured,” he said.