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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

Voter result countdown, Kaap Agri interim results, Lonmin business update, MTN share price climbs, rand update.
Electronic screens display current voting results at the Independent Electoral Commission national results center in Pretoria, as nation anticipates final election outcome. Picture: Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg

Here’s what caught our attention on Friday:

1. Election results: ANC takes lead

The ANC looks set to stay in control following Wednesday’s election. Results as they stand give the party a major lead nationally over the DA and EFF. As of Friday morning, three quarter of the votes had been counted and 25% of the ballots remain. The ANC has so far secured 57% of the vote, the DA is just above 20% and the EFF is on nearly 10%. Although the ANC is taking the lead, this is said to be the ruling party’s greatest slip in support and performance. Given the current vote count, analysts are predicting that the ANC will secure about 59% of votes, down from 62% in the previous general elections.

The final outcome is due on Saturday.

Read: ANC set to retain power in South Africa but support slips

Private property rights: What happens next?

2. Kaap Agri releases interims

Agricultural retail and trade firm, Kaap Agri published its interim results for the six months ended March 31 2019 on Friday, in which it highlights a 1.4% increase in headline earnings per share to 224.17 cents and a 3.2% increase in recurring headline earnings per share to 230.34 cents. The company says results during the period was affected by the ‘slower-than-anticipated recovery’ of agricultural conditions in the Western Cape as well as the persisting drought in the Northern Cape. The company’s revenue increased by 28.7% to R4.4 billion on the back of an increase in the number of transactions. An interim dividend of 33.50 cents per share has been declared, up 4.7%.

3. Lonmin business and production update

PGM mining company, Lonmin, which is facing a possible takeover by Sibanye-Stillwater, is reporting an increase in operating profit to $70 million during the first six months ended March 31 2019, this compares to an operating loss of $32 million in H1 in 2018. The increase was driven by higher PGM prices and a weaker rand to dollar exchange rate. During the second quarter, however, mining production was down 8.4% compared to Q2 in 2018, but the company says it ordinarily expects a better performance in the second half. It says operational performance during the six months was affected by low morale and high management turnover as a result of the extended timeline close to the Sibanye-Stillwater transaction due to Amcu’s appeal to the Competition Appeal Court as well as power outages due to Eskom.

4. MTN share price soars

MTN is almost set to list on the Nigerian stock exchange after it was cleared for missing a deadline to file a challenge against a $2 billion tax demand. The company has been in loggerheads with the Nigerian authorities, which knocked its share price down over a couple of months. It does however seem to be making a positive comeback after its shares soared on the back of its clearly communicated plan to deal with issues at hand. Moneyweb is reporting that between March 6, and May 9, when it published its Q1 trading update, its share price increased by 36%. The company also said it added 4 million subscribers during the period.

Read: MTN’s share price up 36% in two months

5. Rand update

The rand was mostly unchanged in early trade on Friday as vote counting comes to a close. The local currency is expected to trade in the range of 14.25 to 14.40 rand to the dollar, NKC African Economics said in a morning note. Investors however remain nervous after US President Donald Trump’s tariff hike on $200 billion of Chinese goods took effect, raising tensions between the world’s two biggest economies despite ongoing talks negating any positive moves from elections.


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