Company news in brief

28 February 2019 | Business

SA's TymeBank could break even by 2022

TymeBank, one of several digital-only startups aiming to shake up South Africa's banking industry, could break even by 2022, the bank's executives said.

The lender, backed by billionaire Patrice Motsepe's investment group African Rainbow Capital (ARC), has attracted 80 000 customers since a soft launch in November and is targeting 21 million people it says are not adequately served by established rivals.

Deputy CEO Tauriq Keraan told a presentation on Tuesday that TymeBank, which officially launched this week, could break even in 2022 if it attracted 2.2 million active customers and lent to 6% of them.

TymeBank can offer much lower fees than rivals because it has no branches and has used technology to cut costs.

Shabalala said the majority of the bank's income would come from lending. TymeBank was in talks with a major bank to offer a credit card, and planned to launch a separate unsecured lending pilot in the second half of this year, he said. – Nampa/Reuters

Hyundai set for Elliott showdown

Hyundai Motor Group on Tuesday rejected demands by US activist investor Elliott Management for a combined 7 trillion won (US$6.3 billion) dividend payout and new board members, complicating efforts to revamp South Korea's second-biggest conglomerate.

Opposition from Elliott led Hyundai to drop an earlier attempt to overhaul its ownership structure last year and executive vice-chairman Euisun Chung pledged in January to complete a restructuring expected to pave the way for him to succeed his father Mong-Koo Chung as group chairman.

Elliott, which was not immediately available for comment, had proposed a 2018 dividend of 4.5 trillion won for Hyundai Motor and 2.5 trillion won for auto parts supplier Hyundai Mobis, regulatory filings show. The two had proposed payouts of nearly 1 trillion won.

Hyundai Mobis also said it would "undermine its future competitiveness" as it needs to invest more than 4 trillion won to develop new vehicles over the next three years.

Instead Hyundai Mobis announced a 2.6 trillion won shareholder return package over the next three years, less than Elliott's demand for at least 4 trillion won. – Nampa/Reuters

JPMorgan keeps key profit goal

JPMorgan Chase & Co on Tuesday maintained its key profit goal for the next three years, but its chief financial officer warned the forecast does not reflect significant risks that could speed the beginning of a US recession.

Global trade worries as well as Britain's withdrawal from the European Union, or Brexit, also presented uncertainty for 2019, CFO Marianne Lake said at the bank's annual Investor Day.

The bank may exceed its key growth targets, Lake said, but the bank's estimates take a cautious view of future risks.

JPMorgan is the biggest US bank by assets and its annual commentary is closely watched. It accounts for about 14 percent of US banking industry revenue, according to estimates by analysts at Barclays.

The bank's outlook dimmed for profits from its corporate & investment bank unit, with a turn on equity of 16%, down from a 17% target a year ago, according to the slide presentation. The investment bank provided one third of JPMorgan's revenues in 2018.

Gazprom grabs record share of Europe market

Russia's Gazprom increased its share of the European gas market last year despite a rising challenge from imports of US liquefied natural gas (LNG), company officials told investors in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

Gazprom's share of the European gas market rose to a record high 36.7% last year from 34.7% in 2017, the company said.

This, despite calls from the European Commission for EU states to diversify away from Russian energy in the wake of Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The company would aim to retain a market share in Europe of no less than 35% in coming years, she said. Europe accounts for around two-thirds of Gazprom's gas sales.

The company is looking to account for 25% of China's gas imports by 2035, a management committee member told the investors in Hong Kong. – Nampa/Reuters

Thomson Reuters hunts for acquisitions

Thomson Reuters reported better-than-expected earnings on Tuesday, helping push its shares to a record high, and said it is continuing to look for acquisitions to bolster its legal and tax and accounting units, where demand is up in part because of U tax reforms.

Thomson Reuters reported fourth-quarter revenue of US$1.52 billion, compared with US$1.41 billion a year ago.

Thomson Reuters sold a 55% stake in its Financial & Risk (F&R) unit to private equity firm Blackstone Group LP last October in a deal that valued the unit, now a standalone business called Refinitiv, at about US$20 billion.

The company has set aside US$2 billion of the US$17 billion proceeds from the Blackstone deal to make purchases to help grow its legal, tax and accounting and corporates businesses.

For 2019, the company forecast adjusted earnings of US$1.4 billion to US$1.5 billion, up from US$1.4 billion in the current year. – Nampa/Reuters

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