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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

Load shedding continues, retails sales, Curro results, DRD Gold results, EOH shares plunge.

Here’s what caught our attention on Wednesday:

1. Load shedding stage 3, day 4

There’s nothing new as far as load shedding is concerned. On Wednesday, the fourth consecutive day of planned blackouts, Eskom says that it plans to continue with its stage 3 of load shedding. The reason remains the same, “high demand or urgent maintenance being performed”, but history has taught us that there could be more to this.

Read: Load shedding need not be so predictably shambolic 

On the sidelines of the load shedding issue, is the question of unbundling the utility, as pledged by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The proposal hasn’t been detailed as yet, but is being disputed by unions who say it will result in massive job cuts.

Read: Splitting Eskom would protect its most strategic asset

2. Retail sales

South Africa’s retail sales data for December is expected to be released on Wednesday. In November, retail sales increased 3.1%, from a downwardly revised 2.1% gain in October. According to StatsSA, the largest annual growth rates were recorded for retailers in household furniture, appliances and equipment, retailers in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods, and general dealers.

Update to follow.

3. Curro Holdings results

Independent school network, Curro is reporting a 23% increase in headline earnings to R248 million, for the year ended December 31, 2018, while headline earnings per share increased by 23% to 60.1 cents from 49.0 cents. Group revenue increased by 19% to R2.496 billion, and a maiden dividend of 12 cents per share has been declared.

4. DRD Gold results

Gold mining company, DRD Gold is reporting a 54% decrease in operating profit to R102.2 million, for the six months ended December 31, 2019. The company is reporting a headline loss of R46.3 million, down 177% and a headline loss per share of 7.2 cents. DRD Gold is however reporting an 83% increase in mineral reserves to 6 Moz.

5. EOH shares tank after Microsoft terminates agreements

Shares of technology services group, EOH, plunged at least 34% on Tuesday, after news emerged that Microsoft would be terminating two agreements with the firm, namely, the Licensing Solution Provider agreement and its Microsoft Partner Network agreement. On Tuesday, TechCentral reported that Microsoft had not given EOH reason for terminating the agreements, but that its CEO, Stephan van Coller, would be meeting Microsoft SA, on Tuesday, to discuss the developments.

Update to follow.

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