COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

07 April 2021 | Business

South32 to pay clean-up costs

South32 Ltd will provide up to US$250 million in funds to smooth the sale of its South African energy coal business to mining group Seriti Resources.

South32 will pay US$200 million across a decade to partly fund costs of the environmental clean-up of the mines of its South Africa Energy Coal unit once they close, and a US$50 million facility to pay for the costs of restructuring some loss-making mining sites, it said.

The deal would allow South32 to reshape its business by exiting the thermal coal sector at a time when many banks and insurers are scaling back financing for the sector because of global warming concerns.

Miners typically guarantee a larger portion of funds to cover rehabilitation costs if a buyer is small, to assure governments they won't have to foot the bill, said analyst Peter O'Connor, at Australian investment firm Shaw and Partners.

"It's a step backwards to go forward, but the key here is that they need to do this deal, it has been a burden on them for so long, it makes a cleaner, simpler, leaner business," O'Connor said. - Nampa/Reuters

ABinBEV opens brewery plant in Mozambique

Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABinBEV), the world’s largest beer producer, has opened a new US$180 million brewery in Mozambique.

The new site has a capacity of 2.4 million hectolitres per year, with potential to expand that to 6.7 million.

Located in Marracuene, 30 km north of the capital Maputo, it represents the biggest investment in the sector in Mozambique.

The Heineken group began producing beer in Mozambique in 2019 at a US$100 million factory, also in Marracuene, with a production capacity of 800 000 hectolitres per year.

The new ABinBev facility was built from scratch. It employed more than two thousand Mozambicans during the construction phase, and currently employs over 200 people on a permanent basis.

It will be operated by its subsidiary, the Mozambican brewery Cervejas de Mocambique (CDM).

The new facility will produce 80,000 bottles per hour, Salomao said. He also announced that the ABinBEV subsidiary would donate US$1 million for the country to buy Covid-19 vaccines. - Nampa/Reuters

Mastercard to invest US$100 mln in Airtel

Global payment processor Mastercard Inc will invest US$100 million in Airtel Africa's mobile money operations, valuing the business at US$2.65 billion, the London-listed company said.

Airtel Africa is targeting a public listing of Airtel Mobile Commerce BV (AMC BV) within the next four years. Earlier this month, private equity firm TPG's The Rise Fund invested US$200 million in AMC BV.

Mastercard will hold a minority stake in AMC BV, in line with Airtel Africa's plan to monetise the mobile money business by selling up to a 25% stake in the unit, the company said.

The unit, operating under the Airtel Money brand in Africa, includes mobile wallets, merchant and commercial payments, virtual credit card and international money transfers available across 14 countries in the region.

Airtel Africa, which offers Airtel Money in Nigeria in partnership with a local bank, said it aims to have all mobile money operations to be owned and operated by AMC BV. - Nampa/Reuters

SA's Land Bank misses March deadline

South African cash-strapped Land and Agricultural Development Bank missed a March 31 deadline to conclude a debt restructuring plan with lenders.

In April 2020 the country's largest agricultural-focussed lender defaulted on some repayments on its 50 billion-rand (US$3.38 billion) debt, triggering credit downgrades and fears of cross default on the debt of other state firms.

The government stepped in, giving the Land Bank a bailout of R3 billion last year and R7 billion last month while the bank negotiated with a consortium of its lenders on a "liability solution" that would determine a new schedule of repayments.

The negotiations, which began in mid-2020, have stalled, with lenders complaining about lack of information and certainty in the proposals by the Land Bank.

The Land Bank had initially asked lenders to term-out their loans into a single 5-year note. More recently it proposed splitting its loan book into a commercial and a development book. - Nampa/Reuters

Exxon Mobil signals first profit in five quarters

Exxon Mobil Corp could post its first profit in five quarters on improved results across its businesses, with higher oil and gas prices providing a lift of as much as US$2.7 billion, offset by costs from a February deep freeze.

The largest US oil producer last year posted consecutive quarterly losses as falling oil prices and refining margins triggered write downs.

It slashed operating expenses last year and analysts had forecast a per share profit of 54 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Exxon could top Wall Street estimates based on its Wednesday securities filing, according to brokerage Raymond James & Associates. The data point to a quarterly profit of about US$2.55 billion, or 60 cents share, wrote analyst Justin Jenkins in a note.

The February freeze that cut power to Texas refineries and chemical plants, and curbed oil and gas supplies, caused up to US$800 million in damages and lost production volumes, Exxon indicated. – Nampa/Reuters

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