Five things making headlines in South Africa today

Discovery takes Liberty to court, Mark Barnes resigns, Gold Fields trading statement and more.
Liberty shrugs off Discovery's accusations that it unlawfully used its trademark Vitality brand. Picture: Moneyweb

Here’s what caught our attention on Friday:

1.Discovery takes Liberty to court

Financial services company Discovery is taking Liberty to court, accusing it of trademark infringement and unlawful competition in using its Discovery Vitality trademark in its own Wellness Bonus benefits scheme. Discovery has asked the Johannesburg High Court to interdict Liberty from using the Discovery and Vitality trademarks. In response, Liberty says Discovery is attempting to ‘stifle legitimate competition in the market’ and says that it has no case.

Read: Liberty says it is not using Discovery brand unlawfully

2. Mark Barnes resigns

Mark Barnes tendered his resignation as CEO of the South African Post Office (Sapo) group on Thursday, citing a difference in opinion on future strategy in relation to the structure of Sapo. Barnes has been CEO for three-and-a-half years. The group’s current chief operating officer, Lindiwe Kwele, has been appointed as interim CEO until a new candidate is identified.

Read: Mark Barnes resigns as Post Office CEO 

3. Gold Fields trading statement

Gold mining company Gold Fields issued a trading statement for the six months ended June 30 2019 on Friday, in which it flagged a 10% to 15% fall in headline earnings per share to 6.8 US cents and 7.2 US cents (2018: 8 US cents). The company says it however sees basic earnings per share improving to 53 US cents to 55 US cents from a basic loss of 45 US cents in 2018. Gold Fields is to release its results on August 15.

4. Sanral issues building tenders

South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) received a boost as it plans to issue significant road construction tenders, valued at more than R40 billion, over the next two to three years. Moneyweb reports that National Treasury allocated about R21.5 billion a year to maintain and improve Sanral’s 19 262-km non-toll network.

Read: Sanral to issue R40bn in road-building tenders

5. Rand update

It was an eventful week in the US, with the US Federal Reserve cutting interest rates by 25 basis points for the first time in a decade, but signalling a dovish tone towards future cuts. Additionally, US President Donald Trump fuelled the US-China trade war once again, saying he would impose an additional 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports on September 1. This bodes ill for the dollar, but is good for struggling emerging market currencies. The rand led losses among emerging market currencies this week, but bounced back on Friday morning. It was at R14.68 to the dollar at 10:55. 

Read: Rand recovers as US-China trade squabble slows dollar surge


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