COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

Sasol seals deal for wind power

Chemicals and energy group Sasol has signed three power purchase agreements (PPAs) for almost 300MW of wind energy which will help kick off its decarbonisation plans for its Southern African value chain.

News of the green power agreements did little to boost the Sasol share price, which was flat at R303 a share in Tuesday morning trade. The group also reported a 2% and 5% decline in sales revenues and volumes respectively for its six months to end-December, due to continued operational challenges at its coal mines.

Sasol and Msenge Emoyeni Wind Farm have signed a long-term PPA for the supply of 69MW of wind powered renewable power to the Sasolburg operations and expected to be online within the first quarter of 2024. This, Sasol said, is key in achieving the first production of green hydrogen generated from renewable energy sources at Sasolburg and progressing the group's ambition to lead the development of a green hydrogen economy in Southern Africa.

Sasol and Air Liquide have also jointly signed two long-term PPA’s with Enel Green Power for the supply of a total capacity of 220MW of wind powered renewable power to the Secunda operations.

The PPAs signal progress in Sasol's plans to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from South African operations by at least 30% by 2030, off a 2017 baseline.

Sasol is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in SA after Eskom, and it has committed to a joint procurement initiative to procure a whopping 1 200MW of renewable energy capacity by 2030.

"Renewable power is a key lever towards Sasol’s greenhouse gas emission reduction, as part of our transition towards a more sustainable product portfolio," the group said in a statement.-Fin24

Foschini owner boosted by R1 billion in sales

The Foschini Group's (TFG) businesses in SA and elsewhere on the continent – which include Foschini, Markham, Jet, @home, Coricraft and American Swiss – reported like-for-like turnover growth of 5.7% in the quarter to end-December compared to the previous year. Including new businesses and shops, TFG Africa's turnover growth reached 18%.

TFG London – which owns UK fashion brands like Hobbs, Phase Eight, Whistles, Damsel in a Dress and Studio 8 – reported sales growth of 2% in the past quarter compared to the previous year. TFG's fashion chain in Australia saw retail growth of almost 21% in the local currency.

Across the group, TFG's turnover grew almost 21% for the nine months to end-December.

This was thanks in part to a bumper Black Friday and Cyber Monday in SA, which delivered turnover of more than R1 billion on those two days.

Strong growth in clothing sales was supported by its South African clothing supply chain, the group said. Over recent years, TFG switched its manufacturing to South Africa, away from China, and more than 70% of its clothing sold in the African market is now produced locally.

However, the group said its gross margin is 1% behind the previous year, in part due to cost pressures.

This included the cost of beating load shedding, which hit 260 000 of TFG's trading hours during the first nine months of the financial year.

TFG is the largest single buyer of Tesla's Powerwall units (rechargeable lithium-ion batteries) in the country. Some 1 455 TFG stores – representing 70% of TFGAfrica's turnover – now have backup power. Online retail contributed 8% to TFG's group turnover.

For the nine months to end December, TFGAfrica's cash retail turnover grew by 20%, and contributed 72% to total turnover. Credit turnover increased by 5.5%, as average acceptance rates for new accounts remained "purposefully" restricted at 20.4% for the nine months to end December – from 24.5% in the previous year.

On Friday, TFG's competitor Mr Price lost almost 7% of its value after reporting a fall of 3.9% in comparable store sales for the third quarter to end-December.-Fin24

Microsoft invests billions in ChatGPT firm OpenAI

Microsoft on Monday said it had extended its partnership with OpenAI, the research lab and creator of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot that has sparked widespread fears of cheating in schools and universities.

In a company blog post tweeted by CEO Satya Nadella, the tech giant announced a "multiyear, multibillion dollar investment to accelerate AI breakthroughs" that would be "broadly shared with the world."

OpenAI's ChatGPT became an internet sensation when it was released without warning in November, allowing users to experiment with its ability to write essays, articles and poems as well as computer code in just seconds.

With teachers alarmed by its ability, ChatGPT is banned in universities and school districts - including in New York City and Washington DC - and has sparked nervous debates about the future of office work.

California-based OpenAI is also the creator of DALL-E, a program that can swiftly draw up digital images and illustrations at a simple request.

Media reports have put Microsoft's fresh investment in OpenAI at $10 billion, which would value the company at roughly US$29 billion.

The announcement comes less than a week after Microsoft said it would lay off 10 000 employees in the coming weeks and redeploy investment to new priorities such as AI.

Microsoft's statement said that the company would deploy OpenAI's models "across our consumer and enterprise products."

This indicated that Microsoft intended to include the technology behind ChatGPT and DALL-E into its own software products such as Bing, the search engine or the company's Office apps.-Fin24

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Namibian Sun 2024-03-01

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H.E. Dr Nangolo Mbumba, President of the Republic of Namibia says they will continue to pursue the second struggle of Namibia Zambian President, Hakainde Hichilema said one road will be named after the late president in Lusaka and the other road will be named after the founding president of Namibia The late President Hage Geingob’s casket was stationed at the Eternal Flame before he was taken to his final resting place The casket will of the late president was lowered with a 21 gun salute Accoutrements will be handed over to the former first lady of Monica Geingos An official luncheon by invitation is scheduled to take place at 14:00 at the State House The foreign dignataries are currently paying their last tribute to the former first lady, Monica Geingos Heroes Acre will be closed to the public, the National Council will announce once it is reopenedSerieA: Internazionale 4 vs 0 Atalanta | Sassuolo 1 vs 6 Napoli FA Cup: Liverpool 3 vs 0 Southampton | Nottingham Forest 0 vs 1 Manchester United | Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 vs 0 Brighton & Hove Albion | Chelsea 3 vs 2 Leeds United | Blackburn Rovers 1 vs 1 Newcastle United | Luton Town 2 vs 6 Manchester City | AFC Bournemouth 0 vs 1 Leicester City Katima Mulilo: 18° | 36° Rundu: 18° | 37° Eenhana: 21° | 37° Oshakati: 23° | 37° Ruacana: 20° | 36° Tsumeb: 20° | 35° Otjiwarongo: 20° | 33° Omaruru: 21° | 35° Windhoek: 19° | 30° Gobabis: 21° | 34° Henties Bay: 18° | 22° Wind speed: 18km/h, Wind direction: S, Low tide: 12:25, High tide: 06:24, Low Tide: 00:25, High tide: 18:45 Swakopmund: 17° | 18° Wind speed: 24km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 12:23, High tide: 06:22, Low Tide: 00:23, High tide: 18:43 Walvis Bay: 18° | 23° Wind speed: 32km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 12:23, High tide: 06:21, Low Tide: 00:23, High tide: 18:42 Rehoboth: 20° | 32° Mariental: 25° | 35° Keetmanshoop: 24° | 34° Aranos: 24° | 36° Lüderitz: 15° | 28° Ariamsvlei: 26° | 38° Oranjemund: 15° | 23° Luanda: 27° | 29° Gaborone: 19° | 38° Lubumbashi: 16° | 26° Mbabane: 14° | 32° Maseru: 17° | 32° Antananarivo: 17° | 22° Lilongwe: 18° | 27° Maputo: 21° | 35° Windhoek: 19° | 30° Cape Town: 19° | 23° Durban: 17° | 29° Johannesburg: 18° | 33° Dar es Salaam: 26° | 32° Lusaka: 16° | 29° Harare: 15° | 31° Currency: GBP to NAD 24.13 | EUR to NAD 20.69 | CNY to NAD 2.67 | USD to NAD 19.12 | DZD to NAD 0.14 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.34 | EGP to NAD 0.61 | KES to NAD 0.13 | NGN to NAD 0.01 | ZMW to NAD 0.8 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.85 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.23 | USD to DZD 134.5 | USD to AOA 828.51 | USD to BWP 13.77 | USD to EGP 30.84 | USD to KES 145.48 | USD to NGN 1543.58 | USD to ZAR 19.11 | USD to ZMW 23.57 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index 72204.56 Down -1.28% | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1504.77 Down -1.33% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13031.16 Down -0.78% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 28964.41 Up +0.30% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI 9009.48 Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 077.40/OZ UP +1.62% | Copper US$ 3.83/lb UP +0.29% | Zinc US$ 2 427.10/T DOWN -0.3% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 84.89/BBP UP +2.65% | Platinum US$ 881.84/OZ UP +0.34% Sport results: H.E. Dr Nangolo Mbumba, President of the Republic of Namibia says they will continue to pursue the second struggle of Namibia Zambian President, Hakainde Hichilema said one road will be named after the late president in Lusaka and the other road will be named after the founding president of Namibia The late President Hage Geingob’s casket was stationed at the Eternal Flame before he was taken to his final resting place The casket will of the late president was lowered with a 21 gun salute Accoutrements will be handed over to the former first lady of Monica Geingos An official luncheon by invitation is scheduled to take place at 14:00 at the State House The foreign dignataries are currently paying their last tribute to the former first lady, Monica Geingos Heroes Acre will be closed to the public, the National Council will announce once it is reopenedSerieA: Internazionale 4 vs 0 Atalanta | Sassuolo 1 vs 6 Napoli FA Cup: Liverpool 3 vs 0 Southampton | Nottingham Forest 0 vs 1 Manchester United | Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 vs 0 Brighton & Hove Albion | Chelsea 3 vs 2 Leeds United | Blackburn Rovers 1 vs 1 Newcastle United | Luton Town 2 vs 6 Manchester City | AFC Bournemouth 0 vs 1 Leicester City Weather: Katima Mulilo: 18° | 36° Rundu: 18° | 37° Eenhana: 21° | 37° Oshakati: 23° | 37° Ruacana: 20° | 36° Tsumeb: 20° | 35° Otjiwarongo: 20° | 33° Omaruru: 21° | 35° Windhoek: 19° | 30° Gobabis: 21° | 34° Henties Bay: 18° | 22° Wind speed: 18km/h, Wind direction: S, Low tide: 12:25, High tide: 06:24, Low Tide: 00:25, High tide: 18:45 Swakopmund: 17° | 18° Wind speed: 24km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 12:23, High tide: 06:22, Low Tide: 00:23, High tide: 18:43 Walvis Bay: 18° | 23° Wind speed: 32km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 12:23, High tide: 06:21, Low Tide: 00:23, High tide: 18:42 Rehoboth: 20° | 32° Mariental: 25° | 35° Keetmanshoop: 24° | 34° Aranos: 24° | 36° Lüderitz: 15° | 28° Ariamsvlei: 26° | 38° Oranjemund: 15° | 23° Luanda: 27° | 29° Gaborone: 19° | 38° Lubumbashi: 16° | 26° Mbabane: 14° | 32° Maseru: 17° | 32° Antananarivo: 17° | 22° Lilongwe: 18° | 27° Maputo: 21° | 35° Windhoek: 19° | 30° Cape Town: 19° | 23° Durban: 17° | 29° Johannesburg: 18° | 33° Dar es Salaam: 26° | 32° Lusaka: 16° | 29° Harare: 15° | 31° Economic Indicators: Currency: GBP to NAD 24.13 | EUR to NAD 20.69 | CNY to NAD 2.67 | USD to NAD 19.12 | DZD to NAD 0.14 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.34 | EGP to NAD 0.61 | KES to NAD 0.13 | NGN to NAD 0.01 | ZMW to NAD 0.8 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.85 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.23 | USD to DZD 134.5 | USD to AOA 828.51 | USD to BWP 13.77 | USD to EGP 30.84 | USD to KES 145.48 | USD to NGN 1543.58 | USD to ZAR 19.11 | USD to ZMW 23.57 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index 72204.56 Down -1.28% | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1504.77 Down -1.33% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13031.16 Down -0.78% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 28964.41 Up +0.30% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI 9009.48 Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 077.40/OZ UP +1.62% | Copper US$ 3.83/lb UP +0.29% | Zinc US$ 2 427.10/T DOWN -0.3% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 84.89/BBP UP +2.65% | Platinum US$ 881.84/OZ UP +0.34%