Five things making headlines in South Africa today

WBHO, AECI, Cashbuild and Shoprite results, Vunani to conclude agreement with MetLife Swaziland.
Shoprite's earnings drop to lowest in 10 years. Picture: Dean Hutton, Bloomberg

Here’s what caught our attention on Tuesday:

1. WBHO results

Construction engineering group, Wilson Bayley Holmes-Ovcon (WBHO) is reporting a drop in earnings for the six months ended December 31 2019, as headline earnings per share decreased by 80% to 145.6 cents from 726.8 cents in 2017, while basic earnings per share fell to 133.7 cents from 735.6 cents in 2017, down 81.8%. The company attributes its ‘disappointing results’ to the recognition of a provision in respect of anticipated future losses on the Western Roads Upgrade project in Australia. The board has resolved not to declare an interim dividend for the period.

2. AECI results

Chemicals company AECI is delivering ‘solid’ headline earnings per share growth of 9% to 1 054 cents, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased by 21% to R2 613 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. The company’s revenue increased by 26% to R23 314 million and a final ordinary cash dividend of 366 cents per share has been declared, up 7.6%.

3. Cashbuild results

Headline earnings in the construction materials retail company Cashbuild have fallen by 11%, while headline earnings per share for the six months ended December 31, 2018 fell to 972.3 cents from 1 088.9 cents in 2017. The company’s revenue increased by 3% to R5 563 billion. An interim dividend of 435 cents has been declared, down 12%. The company says it plans to continue its store expansion, relocation and refurbishment strategy in 2019.

4. Shoprite results

Known as Africa’s largest supermarket operator, Shoprite has reported a drop in its first half-year earnings in more than 10 years. Shoprite is reporting a 24.1% decrease in diluted headline earnings per share to 398.5 cents for the 26 weeks ended December 31 2018, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation decreased by 12.2% to R4.7 billion. The retailer says results were affected by factors in its external operating environment, which found customers in under tough financial pressure, as well as its internal investment expenses and operational issues. Shoprite is declaring a dividend of 156 cents per share for the period, down from 205 cents previously.

5. Vunani and Metropolitan International conclude acquisition

Telos Propriety, which is 77.6% owned by Vunani Capital and 22.4% owned by senior management of MetLife Swaziland, has concluded its agreement with Metropolitan International, which will see Telos acquire 67% of sale shares from the MetLife Swaziland, an insurance company, from the seller, Metropolitan International. The agreement is subject to regulatory approval and was concluded on February 22. Consequently, the transaction will allow Vunani and management to own 67% of ordinary shares of MetLife Swaziland. The deal comes as Vunani seeks to expand its financial services activity across the continent. 

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