COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF
17 February 2021 | Business
Shoprite Holdings Ltd said on Monday its profits for the half year that ended Dec. 27 will be higher by between 12.5% and 22.5% compared with the same period a year ago.
Adjusted basic headline earnings per share (HEPS), the main measure of corporate profit in South Africa will be between 400.1 cents (US$0.2762) and 435.7 cents, the company said, driven mainly by sales in its local market.
Home market sales, which account for over three quarters of the company's total sales, grew by 5.6% for the half year, said Shoprite, the country's largest retailer by market.
The biggest sales driver was Shoprite's furniture business, comprising OK Furniture and House & Home, where sales increased by 15.7% from the year ago period.
South African retailers, suffering even before the coronavirus had hit the country, got a fresh lease of life last year when consumers showed a renewed interest in furniture and home ware products as people started spending more time at home. - Nampa/Reuters
SA's Eskom to spin off transmission business
South Africa's state power firm Eskom aims to complete the legal separation of its transmission unit by the end of 2021, its Chief Executive Andre de Ruyter said on Monday, with the generation and distribution units following in 2022.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a plan to divide the cash-strapped utility into three units in 2019, but the process has stalled and nationwide blackouts have continued, damaging the already fragile economy.
The plan to split the company, which supplies over 90% of South Africa's electricity but is straining against the burden of heavy debts and failing coal-fired plants, is designed to smooth the firm's access to capital markets.
Eskom has a net debt of between 460 billion and 485 billion rand (US$34 billion), and is likely to record another "substantial loss" in 2021, de Ruyter said in a live address on YouTube.
Eskom is pinning its turnaround on the new structure and increased reliance on renewable energy. Some investors and analysts have said the separation could trigger a default under Eskom's current loan agreements as it involves the transfer a number of assets and liabilities. - Nampa/Reuters
Renergen to produce freezer for vaccine storage
South African natural gas and helium producer Renergen will start production of its helium powered ultra-cold mobile freezer in the next few days and has started discussions to sell the units to logistics companies, it said on Monday.
Companies and governments around the world are working on ways to establish cold-chain storage and delivery systems for vaccines such as the Pfizer Inc and BioNTech shot, which must be shipped and stored at ultra-cold temperatures and can only last at standard fridge temperatures for up to five days.
As a solution, Renergen on Monday launched its prototype cold-chain storage called Cryo-Vacc, which has a temperature range of -150 degrees Celsius to 8C and can store vaccines for periods of up to 30 days without the need for any power supply.
"We've already started to take orders for this product. So, we're ready to start going into production in the next few days," Renergen CEO Stefano Marani told journalists at the demo-launch event.
The company has partnered with local distributor DPD Laser, jointly owned and controlled by The Laser Group and European DPDgroup, which will buy the units from Renergen and then rent them out to its healthcare warehousing and logistics clients in South Africa and SADC. -Nampa/Reuters
Jaguar Land Rover to go 100% electric
Luxury car group Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) unveiled plans to go electric on Monday, saying it aims to be net zero on carbon emissions by 2039 as it joined a global race to roll out clean-energy vehicles.
The Tata Motors-owned group's strategy internally referred to as "Reimagine" comes as car groups worldwide accelerate moves towards fleets powered by electric and other green technologies.
Land Rover will add six pure electric variants in the next five years and future Jaguar models will be built exclusively on a pure electric architecture, JLR said, adding, that the first all-electric variant of Land Rover will debut in 2024.
Last month, General Motors Co said it aimed for all new cars, SUVs and light pickup trucks to have zero-tailpipe emissions by 2035, a dramatic shift by the largest US automaker away from gasoline and diesel engines.
By 2030, it is anticipated that 100% of Jaguar cars, and 60% of Land Rovers, will be equipped with zero-tailpipe powertrains, JLR said. - Nampa/Reuters
Vodafone's Vantage expands portfolio
Vantage Towers, the infrastructure business spun out by Vodafone, said on Monday it had expanded its tower portfolio as it confirmed its outlook ahead of its expected initial public offering in Frankfurt.
The world's second-largest mobile operator, Vodafone plans to float Vantage on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in March in a share offering worth around 3 billion euros, three people close to the matter have said.
Vantage reaffirmed proforma recurring free cash flow guidance of 375-385 million euros (US$455-US$467 million) for its fiscal year to March 31, implying a modest increase from 375 million last year.
"This set of results shows that we are tracking well on all of our plans," CEO Vivek Badrinath told reporters, while referring inquiries on the IPO to parent company Vodafone.
Vantage increased the number of towers it runs to 82 000 in the first nine months of its fiscal year, following the recent addition of its UK joint venture, the Duesseldorf-based company said in a statement. - Nampa/Reuters