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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

MultiChoice job cuts, Naspers backs libra, Life Healthcare concludes disposal of Max Healthcare, JSE trading statement, rand update.

Here’s what caught our attention on Monday:

1. MultiChoice retrenchments

News emerged on Friday that MultiChoice will be laying off at least 2 194 workers as it plans to shake-up its customer care services. Jobs at its call and walk-in centres will be most impacted as the company continues to record a decline in telephone calls and emails to its customer care centres. The company says it will make new roles available to multi-skilled workers with the ‘expertise, skills and technological prowess to enhance the customer experience’.

Read: MultiChoice looks to lay off more than 2k workers

2. Naspers is backing Facebook’s crypto project

Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk has announced that subsidiary PayU will be working on Facebook’s cryptocurrency, libra. Van Dijk says PayU is ‘excited’ about working with Facebook and other partners in developing the cryptocurrency, adding that the social media giant is keen to work with PayU given its ability to connect people in growth markets to the online financial world. PayU and other companies have reportedly invested about $10 million each to be a founding member of the Libra Association which will help direct the development of the cryptocoin.

Read: Why Naspers is backing Facebook’s cryptocurrency project

3. Life Healthcare concludes disposal of Max Healthcare

South Africa’s second largest private hospital operator, Life Healthcare announced the conclusion of the disposal of its interest in Max Healthcare on Monday. According to the statement on Sens, Life Healthcare and Radiant Life Healthcare Private have concluded the share purchase agreement.

Effectively, Radiant has acquired Life Healthcare’s 49.7% stake in Max Healthcare for 80 rupees per share. The value of the disposal amounted to about R3.7 million.

4. JSE trading statement

The JSE has released a trading statement for the six months ended June 30, 2019, in which it flags a decrease in headline earnings per share of between 25 and 35% to 490.95 cents and 425.59 cents. It also expects earnings per share to fall between 25 and 35% to 491.03 cents 425.56 cents.

The JSE attributes the declines to a reduction in activity in main asset classes and lower value traded in the equity market, as well as the impact of the new tiered billing model along with that of the income tax credit of R31 million. Results are expected to be released on July 30, 2019.

5. The week ahead and rand update

Looking ahead, local PPI data for May will be released on Thursday and balance of trade, money supply and private sector credit for the month will be released on Friday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address will be scrutinised in parliament this week, after both opposition parties and analysts said it was lacking details on implementation.

In the US, Markit services PMI dropped to its lowest since February 2016, signalling the impact of the ongoing US-China trade war on the US economy, according to Anchor Capital. The rand this morning was at R14.25 to the dollar at 8:44.

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