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COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

South African Breweries gets new logo

(SAB) has launched a new logo which the company says represents its positive outlook for the country, with its CEO optimistic about local prospects – even as he expects the merger of Heineken and Distell will bring more competition.

"We are seeing a future with more cheers, so the gold arc represents the passion we have for the beer, the red is the passion for the country and where the two meet is where passion meets purpose, and our purpose is to really propel this country forward," Zoleka Lisa, vice-president of corporate affairs for SAB, said of the new logo.

In an interview with News24 following the rebranding launch on Wednesday, CEO Richard Rivett-Carnac said that the "fundamentals are very strong in SA", adding that while GDP growth is low, it was nonetheless still increasing and should kick up a gear with the government's energy plan and other structural reforms.

He believed government was focusing on the "right things" like solving the energy crisis, and water and transport infrastructure problems, as well as fighting crime.

"The government is very aware of these issues and working closely with the private sector to try to solve them. We just need to do things faster and implement faster. If we can unlock those four things, it will make a huge difference to the country."

At the same time, he said South Africa’s population, which is young, is also growing, which should offer support to SAB’s growth ambitions.-Fin24

Tencent's plan boosts Prosus, Naspers

Tencent pledged to distribute the majority of its shares in meal delivery giant Meituan to investors, as China’s social media leader ramps up plans to reduce its extensive holdings across the world’s largest internet industry.

Tencent, which had announced plans to pare its stake in online retailer JD.com Inc., will dole out more than 958 million Class B stock in Meituan as a special dividend to existing shareholders. Tencent announced the move as it reported revenue shrank for the second straight quarter, underscoring the extent to which China’s worsening economy is hurting its biggest private corporations.

The decision marks another milestone in Tencent’s evolution from a sprawling internet empire with investments across much of China’s tech sphere to a more focused, cost-conscious gaming and social media operator. Its exit from JD and now much of Meituan comes after Xi Jinping imposed a series of withering curbs on the industry in 2021, including restrictions on play time and content.

Tencent executives had previously denied it intended to sell its slice of Meituan, China’s leader in food delivery. The stock to be paid out, valued at about HK$155 billion (R345 billion), marks about 91% of Tencent’s Class B stake. Apart from JD and Meituan, Tencent also owns part of Kuaishou Technology, Didi Global Inc. and Bilibili Inc. And this year it sold about US$3 billion worth of shares in Southeast Asia’s biggest internet company, Sea Ltd.

“Tencent giving away Meituan shares looks like a move to become regulatory compliant,” said Shawn Yang, an analyst with Blue Lotus Capital Advisors who has a buy rating on Tencent. “They won’t be in the same camp anymore but will be normal business partners going forward,” which reduces Tencent’s influence over the online commerce industry. -Fin24

Woolworths lifts after flagging sales growth

Food and fashion retailer Woolworths' shares gained almost 5% on Wednesday, after it said a robust recovery of its Australian business and a successful winter sale in SA helped lift its revenue by over a fifth so far in its 2023 year.

The group said in an update that its turnover and concession sales for the 20 weeks ended 13 November 2022 rose by 23.3% year-on-year, or by 20.3% in constant currency terms, amid the return of customers to physical stores, particularly in Australia.

Covid-19 lockdowns had weighed heavily on its Australian businesses in 2021, but a return of customers to stores has helped lift sales to above pre-pandemics levels.

Sales at David Jones jumped 55.3% so far in 2023, the group said, with its flagship and CBD stores performing well ahead of expectations. Country Road's sales grew 36.2%, underpinned by strong performances from the Country Road, Politix and Witchery brands, which follows the successful launch of new ranges, which resulted in a higher proportion of full-priced sales, Woolworths said.

In South Africa, the group said its food business grew turnover and concession sales 7.3%, which was "notwithstanding the considerable disruption caused by load shedding, which has had a pronounced impact on our predominantly fresh categories across the business, in terms of foregone sales, increased waste, and significant increases in diesel costs required to support trade during the extended power outages".-Fin24

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Namibian Sun 2022-12-04

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