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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

Sacci business confidence, Afrox, Grindrod and Vivo energy results, rand update.

Here’s what caught our attention on Wednesday:

1.Sacci business confidence

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s business confidence fell to its lowest reading since September. The index falling to 93.4 from 95.1 in January, on the back of policy and political uncertainty, while continuous black-outs disrupt business operations. 

2.Afrox results

African Oxygen, an industrial gases company reported a 23% decline in headline earnings per share to 154.9 cents for the year ended December 31, 2018, while basic earnings per share declined by 29% to 144.8 cents during the period. The gases company says its revenue however increased by 6.2% to R6.04 billion as a result of higher volumes in certain sectors as well as a successful recovery of cost inflation from ‘effective pricing management’. The board has resolved to declare a cash dividend of 25 cents per share for the period.

3.Grindrod results

Freight and logistics firm Grindrod’s headline earnings from continuing operations was 26% higher for the year ended December 31, 2018, while headline earnings per share also increased to 95.3 cents from 76.0 cents previously. From total operations, headline earnings per share increased to 62.0 cents from a previously reported headline loss per share of 47.4 cents. The company is declaring a final ordinary dividend of 14.6 cents.

4.Vivo Energy results

CEO of Vivo Energy, Christian Chammas, says for the year ended December 2018 the company managed to meet its objectives for the period and was able to produce a strong set of results. The energy company saw 6% adjusted growth in diluted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to $400 million. Adjusted diluted earnings per share amounted to $0.14 and diluted headline earnings per share amounted to $0.11 for the year.  A full-year dividend of 1.9 cents per share was declared.

5.Rand update

The rand firmed on Tuesday on the back of positive GDP numbers. For the fourth quarter, GDP increased by 1.4%, buoyed by positive growth in the farming and manufacturing sectors. On an annual basis, the economy grew by 0.8%, compared to a 1.4% expansion in 2017. On Wednesday, the rand was at R14.20 to the dollar at 9:51.

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