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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

Choppies to exit SA market, Gold Fields results, who will take Eskom’s top job, IDC results and more.
Choppies plans exit from South African market. Picture: Bloomberg

Here’s what caught our attention on Thursday:

1. Choppies to exit SA market

Botswanan retailer Choppies is planning to exit the South African market, citing slow economic growth and high unemployment rates in the region. The retailer, which operates 88 stores in South Africa and has operations in eight other African nations, says the exiting from the South African market is an ‘appropriate strategic decision for the company’. Choppies shares are currently suspended from trading on the Botswana bourse and the JSE.  

Read: Botswanan retailer Choppies plans to exit SA market

2. Gold Fields results

Mining company Gold Fields is reporting a profit of $71 million for the six months ended June 30, 2019, an improvement from losses of $367 million accrued the year before. Headline earnings per share amounted to 5 US cents, a decrease from 8 US cents in 2018. The board is declaring an interim dividend of 60 SA cents per ordinary share for the period.

3. Applications for Eskom’s top job roll in

Eskom is in need of a new CEO and applications for what some say is South Africa’s toughest job are rolling in. Bloomberg is reporting that several ex-Eskom executives have shown interest in the role. Names include former LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz, who was also an electrical engineer at Eskom as well as Eskom’s former head of group capital, Dan Marokane.

According to Bloomberg, business leaders recommended to the utility’s board that former CEOs Brian Dames and Jacob Maroga also be considered for the post. The position is temporarily being held by Eskom chairperson, Jabu Mabuza, who will vacate the role by the end of October.

Read: Former Eskom executives seek SA’s toughest CEO job

4. IDC profits increase, operating expenses decrease

South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation, which, among other things, offers ‘development’ financing is reporting a decrease in operating expenses to R3.9 billion, from R6.9 billion in 2018. Operating profit increased to R720 million and the total comprehensive income for the year amounted to R10.5 billion. Moneyweb is reporting that during the 2019 financial year, it made significant investments in the chemical and petroleum industries.

Read: Some clarity from the IDC would be nice

5. PIC looks to West Africa for gold investment opportunities 

The Public Investment Corporation is looking to Ghana and other countries in the West African region for investment opportunities in gold. Africa’s biggest fund manager says investor-friendly policies in Ghana and other nearby countries can help drive the next gold boom, especially as the gold mining industry in SA declines. Bloomberg is reporting that the PIC doesn’t have any mining listings outside of South Africa and that it can invest as much as 5% of its assets in such unlisted African projects.

Read: The PIC sees next gold boom in West Africa

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