Five things making headlines in South Africa today

Omnia CEO resigns, Exxaro Resources and Italtile results, Mr Price trading update and Ramaphosa in the hot seat.
President Cyril Ramaphosa to answer MP questions in parliament on Thursday. Picture: GCIS

Here’s what caught our attention on Thursday:

1. Omnia CEO resigns

Chemicals and fertiliser producer Omnia announced the resignation of its CEO Adriaan de Lange on Wednesday. The resignation comes at a time when the company says it is planning a R2 billion rights issue to reduce its debt. De Lange is stepping down for personal reasons but will be stay on in an advisory role, the company says. He is being replaced by the group’s current finance director Seelan Gobalsamy, who previously worked in senior executive roles at Liberty, Stanlib and Old Mutual. Gobalsamy is taking over with immediate effect.

Read: Omnia CEO resigns, finance director appointed as replacement

2. Exxaro Resources results

Coal and mineral mining company Exxaro Resources is reporting a 42% increase in headline earnings per share to 1 730 cents for the six months ended June 30, 2019. The company’s revenue declined by 2% to R12 billion and net operating profit fell by 24% to R2.4 billion. The company says its expects domestic coal demand to remain stable for the remainder of 2019. It is declaring an interim dividend of 864 cents per share and a special dividend of 897 cents per share for the period.

Read: Exxaro buoyed by equity investments as core profit falls

3. Italtile reports a 7% increase in Heps

Tile retailer Italtile, whose chains include CTM and Top T, is reporting a 7% increase in headline earnings per share to 101.8 cents and an 8% increase in earnings per share to 102.6 cents for the year ended June 30, 2019. The company’s trading profit for the period increased by 18% to R1.79 billion. The company says its store network also increased by 7% to 189 stores from 176 stores in 2018. The retailer says it delivered results in line with guidance and the improvements were as a result of a low-base effect. Italtile is declaring an ordinary dividend of 41 cents per share and a special dividend per share of 50 cents.

4. Mr Price taking strain 

Clothing and homeware retailer Mr Price anticipates the first half of the financial year ending March 28, 2020 to be a challenging period, saying the ‘continued poor retail environment and a generally strong performance in the base relative to the rest of the market’ is contributing to its performance. Mr Price says retail sales and other income increased 1.1% to R7.5 billion and total retail sales increased 0.5% to R6.9 billion. The company says it faces challenges in the Mr Price apparel division, which constitutes 59.5% of group sales, but signs of a performance recovery into spring and summer are beginning to emerge.

5. Ramaphosa to answer questions in parliament

President Cyril Ramaphosa is due to answer questions in parliament on Thursday. Some of the issues potentially on the agenda include funding for Ramaphosa’s presidential campaign, which is being brought forward by both the DA and EFF,  the NHI Bill and his plans to spur the struggling economy, which contracted in the first quarter.

Read: Ramaphosa to brief lawmakers as SA seeks to cut spending

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