Five things making headlines in South Africa today

Master Drilling and EPE Capital results, quarterly employment stats, Naspers takes internet units abroad, Orbis’ bad performance questioned.
South Africa's quarterly employment stats for December 2018 shows increase in employment. Tuesday. Picture: Moneyweb

Here’s what caught our attention on Tuesday:

1. Master Drilling results

Master Drilling, which offers rock boring and drilling services is reporting a 3.9% decrease in earnings per share to 147.1 cents and an 8.2% decrease in headline earnings per share to 141.8 cents for its 2018 financial year. The company’s revenue however jumped by 14.2% to $138.7 million. The company’s CEO, Danie Pretorius says the macroeconomic environment, both locally and internationally had been more challenging than initially anticipated, but a ‘satisfactory cash generation’ has enabled it to declare an annual dividend of 26.0 cents per share.

2. Quarterly employment stats

During the final quarter of 2018, South Africa’s employment increased by 87 000 quarter-on-quarter, from 10 064 000 in September, data from Statistics SA showed on Tuesday. The major contributors to employment included business services, trade, community services and transport industry. Employment however decreased in the construction, mining and quarrying, manufacturing and electricity industries. 

3. Naspers unit to list in Amsterdam

South Africa’s largest listed company, Naspers has set its sights on the international market. The media-giant announced on Monday its decision to list a number of its internet and e-commerce services, including food delivery, e-commerce, education and social and internet platform sectors, within NewCo in Amsterdam. There will be a secondary listing of NewCo on the JSE. Naspers says the move comes as it seeks to ‘unlock shareholder value’.

Read more here. 

4. EPE Capital Partners results

EPE Capital, which has presence in Mauritius and on the JSE is reporting an increase in net asset value per share (NAVPS) to R11.16 with total assets at R1.9 billion. The company, which is managed by Ethos Private Equity, says during the six months ended December 31, 2018, it invested R0.6 billion into three portfolio companies which increased its invested capital to R1.3 billion. The company says SA’s operating environment was challenging and Ebitda across the portfolio remained ‘relatively flat’.

5. Orbis performance fees under scrutiny 

The sister company of fund manager Allan Gray, Orbis has come under scrutiny, following its poor performance for the financial period ending February 2018. Moneyweb is reporting that the fund was ‘the worst-performing unit trust in global multi-asset low equity category over six months, one year, three years and five years’. Accordingly, it delivered 0.9% over the previous 12 months, and 3.6% per annum over the last five years, citing the weakening rand during the period. 

Read: Questions raised about Alan Gray – Orbis performance fees


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