Mango's proposed new owner keeps offer open

Mango's selected investor has agreed to keep its offer open pending the outcome of litigation aimed at forcing Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan to decide on the sale of the airline.

According to the latest report to creditors by Mango's business rescue practitioner, Sipho Sono, the risk still exists that the investor may pull out if the issue is not resolved timeously.

The Department of Public Enterprises, Gordhan, Treasury, and Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana have all filed notices opposing the court application. The matter will now likely be heard in May.

Mango is a subsidiary of state-owned South African Airways (SAA) and has been in business rescue since July 2021. It has not flown since.

Sono wanted the airline to restart operations in December 2021. However, Gordhan made it clear this could only be done if an investor bought Mango.

After a due diligence process, a consortium, whose identity has not yet been revealed, was selected by Sono as the preferred bidder to buy Mango. Gordhan's approval is needed in terms of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

An updated application for approval was submitted to Gordhan on 28 November 2022. Sono claims this addressed issues raised by SAA against the proposed sale.-Fin24

MultiChoice plunges almost 15%

Shares of DStv owner MultiChoice crashed almost 15% on Tuesday morning, wiping out almost R8 billion in a value, a move which comes after it flagged pressure on its SA margins as a result of load shedding and deteriorating economic conditions.

MultiChoice, valued at over R54 billion at market open, saw its shares fall to as low as R119.21 in morning trade, but at 10:20 its losses had eased a little and it was down 12.19% to R122.56.

The company warned shareholders after the JSE closed on Monday that its margins in SA are expected to slip below guidance.

"Although the FIFA World Cup delivered subscriber numbers broadly in line with expectations, the operating environment in South Africa has deteriorated beyond expectations over the past few months," it said.

Indications are that second-half revenue growth in the SA business will be below expectations. Given a largely fixed cost base, as well as the additional Showmax costs incurred in relation to the recently announced agreement with Comcast, this will result in the segment's full-year trading margin being between 23% and 28%, which is below the market guidance of 28% to 30%.

MultiChoice had 22.1 million subscribers as of September, 9.1 million of which were in SA - which accounted for almost 60% of its subscription revenue. The company had announced in early March that it inked a deal with US media giant Comcast, that will see the owner of NBCUniversal and Sky take a 30% stake in its streaming platform Showmax.-Fin24

Facebook owner axes another 10 000 jobs

Facebook owner Meta announced a fresh wave of job cuts on Tuesday, part of what CEO Mark Zuckerberg called the company's "year of efficiency" as the US tech sector continues to downsize.

In an email to employees, Zuckerberg said Meta would shed 10 000 jobs over the next few months, targeting middle management, and that 5 000 other roles would remain unfilled.

The cuts follow a cull of 11 000 positions announced by the company in November that started a wave of similar jobs cuts across big tech companies, including Amazon, Google and Microsoft, but not Apple.

With the second announcement, the California-based company will have ridded itself of roughly 25 percent of its workforce in just four months.

"This will be tough and there's no way around that. It will mean saying goodbye to talented and passionate colleagues who have been part of our success," Zuckerberg said.

The first victims will be Meta's recruitment department as the company officially puts an end to the hiring spree that came when big tech ramped up operations to meet high demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

In subsequent months, tech and business departments will also be affected and "in a small number of cases, it may take through the end of the year to complete these changes," Zuckerberg said.-Fin24

Amazon hiring South Africans again

Amazon may or may not be laying off thousands of employees in other countries. But in South Africa, it is hiring again. And it is not looking for a lot of education or experience.

In recent days, Amazon has posted job ads for two different kinds of roles: technical support associates, who help customers troubleshoot either online services or devices such as Kindles, and customer service associates, who will act as the first point of contact for Amazon customers in North America and the UK who reach out for help.

Some of those workers are to be based in a Cape Town facility, others will work from home.

Amazon is looking for both permanent staffers and people to sign up for three-month contracts, to deal with spikes in seasonal demand. Those typically span the Christmas period.

In all cases, employees will be expected to work at least occasional late, overnight, and weekend shifts, serving customers in other timezones.

All the jobs pay R67.35 per hour with an expected 40-hour week, which comes to roughly R13 000 per month.

The preconditions to apply are not particularly onerous. To get one of the jobs, you have to be at least 18 and have matric or equivalent. On top of that, Amazon is looking for one year of experience, ideally in tech support for the more technical roles, but also in a call centre or in "high-end retail".-Fin24


Namibian Sun 2023-03-29

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