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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

Steinhoff faces legal action, Unions accept Eskom’s wage offer, Sea Harvest expects profits to drop, Tongaat shareholders reject pay policy, GEPF to list property portfolio on JSE.

Here’s what caught our attention on Friday:

1.Steinhoff shareholders to sue firm for R185bn

A consortium of law firms, acting on behalf of Steinhoff shareholders, has applied to the Johannesburg High Court to launch potentially the biggest class-action lawsuit in South Africa’s history. According to Business Day, if the application is successful, investors could seek damages of more than R185 billion, nearly 20 times Steinhoff’s current market capitalisation.

2. Unions accept Eskom’s wage deal ‘in principle’

Following weeks of negotiations, tense protest and blackouts, unions have accepted Eskom’s wage offer of 7.5% increase for 2018 and 7% increase for the next consecutive two years, with an inflation-linked increase in housing allowance and a once-off cash payment of R5 000 ‘in principle’. Reuters is reporting that Solidarity union accepted the offer last week, while National Union of Mineworkers and National Union of Metalworkers South Africa, accepted in principle, but have not signed any agreement.

3. Sea Harvest trading statement

Fishing and food business Sea Harvest is expecting its headline earnings to increase by between 0% and 3% to between R110.7 million and R114.0 million for the six months ended June 30, 2018. Basic earnings per share is expected to be between 46 and 50 cents or a decrease of 31% and 25%, while basic headline earnings per share is expected to decrease by between 20% and 13% to between 45 and 49 cents.

4. Tongaat shareholders reject remuneration policy

The majority of shareholders of sugar producing company Tongaat Hulett voted against its remuneration policy during the company’s annual general meeting held on Wednesday. Moneyweb is reporting that 59.36% voted not to endorse the policy, 40.64% voted in favour of the policy and 9.04% abstained from voting. The resolutions on the policy and its implementation are non-binding.

5. GEPF to list on the JSE

The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) is seeking to list a property portfolio on the JSE, under Pareto Ltd, which is 76% owned by the GEPF. Moneyweb is reporting that Pareto is set to make its debut on the JSE in 2019. The listing is part of plans to give investors in real estate more exposure to South Africa’s retail sector.

Read: GEPF’s Pareto eyes JSE listing

Friday rand update

The rand fell to a six-week low during early trade on Friday. South Africa’s government bonds weakened, while looming trade war tensions impacted sentiments towards emerging market assets.  At 9:08 the rand was at R13.928 to the dollar. 

Read: Rand slips to almost R14/$


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