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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

AECI results, inflation rate, SANParks workers threaten to strike, Metair Investments trading update and Eskom woes to further burden taxpayers.

Here’s what caught our attention on Wednesday:

1. AECI results

Chemicals and explosives group, AECI is reporting a 20% fall in headline earnings per share to 365 cents for the period ended June 30, 2019. The company’s revenue increased by 14% to R11.97 billion, while profit from operations declined by 9% to R826 million. The company says revenue increases are as a result of acquisitions finalised in 2018, namely Schirm, a plant and animal health company and Much Asphalt, a chemicals company. The board is declaring a dividend of 156 cents ordinary cents per share, up 5% from 2018.

2. Inflation rate expected

South Africa‘s headline consumer inflation rate for June is expected to be released on Wednesday. In May, the consumer inflation rate rose to 4.5% from 4.4% in April, on the back of higher food and beverage prices. The inflation rate has remained within the central bank’s target range of 3% and 6% for more than two years.  

Core inflation, which excludes the prices of food, non-alcoholic beverages, petrol and energy, is also expected to be released on Wednesday. In May, the core inflation rate remained unchanged at 4.1%, data shows.

3. SANPark employees planning strike

Workers at South Africa’s 21 wildlife preservation areas are threatening to strike following a dispute over pay with South African National Parks (SANParks). Labour union Hospersa is representing the almost 5 000 park rangers, field guides and other service and hospitality workers who are involved in the wage dispute. The union is seeking a 11.5% wage increase for workers, but SANParks is offering a final wage offer of 5.5%. Bloomberg is reporting that industrial action will affect services including visitor bookings, room services, bush walks and others. The matter is being referred to the CCMA.

Read: SANParks workers threaten to strike over pay

4. Metair Investments trading update

Metair Investments says it expects headline earnings per share to increase between 18% and 21% to 156 cents and 162 cents per share respectively for the six months ended June 30, 2019. This compares to the 132 cents per share reported in the previous period. Metair Investments did not cite any reason for the increase in its trading statement issued on Wednesday.  

5. Eskom’s debt to cost taxpayer

Finance minster, Tito Mboweni says servicing Eskom’s debt may come at a ‘significant cost’ to taxpayers. Mboweni was addressing parliament on Tuesday on a special appropriation bill for Eskom’s funding, which makes provision for R59 billion for Eskom over the next two years. Mboweni says government may need to increase borrowing requirements, while signalling tax hikes may be needed to fund the bailout. 

Read:

Sarb gives, finance minister takes

South Africa has a sovereign debt problem. Its name is Eskom

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