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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

BP found guilty of environmental crime, Net1 reduces stake in minority shareholder, net foreign reserves fall, Afrimat expects higher earnings, rand update.

Here’s what caught our attention on Friday:

1. BP found guilty of environmental crime

Petrol company BP has been found guilty of building and upgrading a number of petrol stations without following proper procedures. Moneyweb is reporting that BP built 17 petrol stations without clearance, which the court has found to be unlawful. The case was brought forward by an environmental advocacy group, which accused BP of failing to protect the environment. The case is believed to be the first successful private prosecution of environmental crime in SA.

Read: BP guilty of taking environmental shortcuts

2. Net1 reduces shareholding in minority shareholders

Net1, which provides transaction processing services, has announced its decision to close its transaction with its current minority shareholders of DNI-4PL contracts to reduce its effective shareholding in the company from 55% to 38%. According to the statement on Sens, the pro-forma effects of the transaction  were filed on April 4, 2019.

Read the full statement here.

3. Net foreign reserves falls in March

South Africa’s net foreign reserves for March have fallen to $43.266 billion, data from the Reserve Bank shows on Friday. In February net foreign reserves was recorded at $43.659 billion. Gross reserves in March also dropped to $49.679 billion in March from R50.836 billion previously.

4. Afrimat expects to see higher earnings

Constructions material company, Afrimat issued a trading statement for the year ended February 28, 2019, in which it says it expects earnings per share to increase between 20 and 30% to 216.4 cents and 234.4 cents. Afrimat also sees headline earnings per share increasing between 20 and 30% to 216.8 cents and 234.0 cents for the period. The company expects to release results on May 23, 2019.

5. Rand update

The rand, alongside other emerging market currencies, firmed on Friday on possible positive developments in the US-China trade deal talks. Risk appetite was bolstered globally. On the local front, Eskom held a press conference on Wednesday, outlining its plans to keep the lights on in South Africa, according to Anchor Capital, news out of the conference was less dire than it could have been, but ‘some questions still remain and fixing the power-utility will take a long time’. Since the Moody’s decision to defer its rating announcement last week, the rand has moved mostly positively, but the euphoria may fade in time. On Friday, the rand was at R14.01 at 8:42.

Read: Moody’s says South Africa still rated investment grade

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