M&G sees opportunities in South Africa

The South African unit of M&G, the UK fund manager overseeing more than R6 trillion in assets, sees opportunities in investing in the nation’s industrial and financial companies as earnings growth may surprise.

Some of these companies have recovered faster from Covid than many in the market anticipated, said Kaitlin Byrne, a Cape Town-based equities fund manager at the firm. They offer an alternative for investors to the Johannesburg market’s large resources segment, she said in an interview.

"People have under-estimated the ability of earnings" to rebound, said Byrne. "Given the valuations we are seeing, it is more difficult deciding which stocks to exclude from our portfolios than finding good ideas."

South Africa’s economy is back at the size it was before the pandemic struck, after expanding 1.9% in the three months through March, a potential boost for the financial sector. While the country's main stock index slipped 10% in the first half, that was a better performance than the benchmark for emerging-market shares, which slumped twice as much.

Still, there are domestic threats to the outlook for South African stocks, beyond global concerns of a potential recession. Record rolling power blackouts imposed by struggling Eskom threaten to disrupt the economic rebound, while the gloomiest consumer mood in decades may curb household spending.-Fin24

Eskom rejects Tshwane's debt repayment plan

Eskom has rejected the City of Tshwane Municipality's offer to enter into payment settlement arrangements for R878 million owed to the power utility. Tshwane failed to pay Eskom a total amount of R908 million, which was due and payable by 17 June 2022. The municipality only made a payment of R10 million on 23 June, and R20 million on 30 June 2022, Eskom said.

"As a utility, we are obliged to operate this business in a sustainable manner, and to consequently take all the appropriate measures to recover money owed to us. We remain hopeful that the City will review its current position regarding the appeals made to them by Eskom and honour their payments," said Daphne Mokwena, the Eskom Senior Manager for Customer Services in Gauteng.

"Out of the eight metropolitan municipalities in the country, the City of Tshwane is the only one with erratic payments," Eskom added on Monday. "The City's erratic payments over the past year have contributed negatively to Eskom's increasing overdue debt (which is in excess of R46.6 billion), liquidity, financial performance, and the sustainability of the organisation, such that Eskom has to borrow to meet its financial commitments."-Fin24

Spur launches first RocoMamas drive-through

The very first RocoMamas drive-through outlet opened in South Africa last week, giving the Spur Corporation another boost in its efforts to expand its quick service offerings. The restaurant, which is in Little Falls, Roodepoort opened its doors on Thursday and is a follow up to the franchise chain’s first Spur drive-through in 2021.

The RocoMamas store includes graffiti done by local artists."Venturing into the drive thru space is a perfect extension for the unconventional RocoMamas brand that brought the unique smashburger to South Africa," said Spur CEO Val Nichas. The group will open its second RocoMamas drive-through in Pretoria later this year.

"There are widespread changes in the trading environment, as well as shifting consumer trends. These create opportunities for innovation, which include providing alternative trading channels, such as drive through offerings, new meal solutions and expansion of restaurant formats."

Nichas added making RocoMamas the second drive-through outlet was based on it being the group’s biggest takeaways contributor. RocoMamas CEO Nkululeko Zulu said the drive-though is "a key milestone" for the brand, ahead of its tenth anniversary in 2023.-Fin24

Transnet signs agreement with Mozambican railways
Transnet Freight Rail has signed a co-operative agreement with its Mozambican railways counterpart, Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM), to boost exports of chrome and ferro-chrome from Belfast in Mpumalanga province, direct to the Maputo Port in Mozambique.

South Africa holds about 70% of the world's total chrome reserves and is the largest producer of chrome ore in the world, supplying 83% of China’s total annual chrome ore imports. The Minerals Council South Africa has flagged chrome as one of the commodities which is losing out on significant export opportunities because of continued poor railing performance.

The agreement will see the two implement a new model which will see consignments of 50 chrome and ferro-chrome wagon loads being hauled by two 43D diesel locomotives from Belfast straight through to the Port of Maputo.

This replaces a current operating model that involves exchanging of locomotives which require five crews from origin to destination and result in significant time delays each time the locomotives are exchanged.

The new model is expected to reduce the transit time by twelve hours and improve efficiency and crew requirements, allowing the current 15 trains per week to be increased to 21 per week which translates to a volume increase of more than 800 000 tons per annum.-Fin24