COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

04 June 2021 | Business

SA's Shoprite sells Nigerian business

Shoprite Holdings has sold its Nigerian business to local buyer Ketron Investment, nearly 16 years after the South African retailer opened its first outlet in the country.

Shoprite entered into a share purchase agreement with Ketron, a Nigerian company owned by a group of institutional investors led by property group Persianas, for the disposal of its entire interest in Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited, the companies said.

Shoprite, one of the first South African companies to expand into Nigeria, is changing its model from an ownership to a franchise one after a review of its long-term options in Africa, once touted as the next bright growth spot for retailers.

The supermarket retailer had expanded aggressively in Africa, surpassing rivals such as Pick n Pay and Walmart's majority-owned Massmart to become the continent's leading food retailer with more than 2 800 stores in 15 countries.

But forays into markets including Angola and Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, were marred by currency volatility, double-digit inflation, high import duties and dollar-based rentals. It also exited Kenya and restricted capital allocations to its supermarkets outside South Africa. - Nampa/Reuters

Wage dispute at South Africa's Eskom

South Africa's state-owned power utility Eskom has triggered a dispute process with unions over pay, leaving a government-affiliated mediator to try to forge an agreement and avert potential disruption to power supplies.

A previous wage dispute in 2018 led to electricity supply interruptions and Eskom, which produces the vast majority of the power in Africa's most industrialised nation, has warned the same could happen again.

Wage talks began with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and Solidarity last month, with unions demanding above-inflation increases.

"Eskom, which relies on taxpayer cash bailouts to maintain its going concern status, has clearly demonstrated these demands are unaffordable," Eskom spokesman Sikonathi Mantshantsha told Reuters.

Eskom said it made a final offer of a 1.5% increase in basic salaries, which unions rejected. "We view that as a declaration of war. Eskom is refusing to bargain," said NUM energy sector coordinator Khangela Baloyi. The offer is below current inflation levels of 4.4%. Unions argue their demands are affordable and workers should not bear the brunt of Eskom's debt burden. - Nampa/Reuters

Savannah in talks to buy Exxon's stake

Africa-focused Savannah Energy said on Wednesday it was in exclusive talks to buy US oil producer Exxon Mobil Corp's interest in two energy assets in Chad and Cameroon.

The British oil producer is proposing to buy a 40% operated interest in the Doba oil project in Chad, and a 40% interest in the Chad-Cameroon oil transportation pipeline.

Exxon did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Savannah Energy, which currently only operates in Nigeria and Niger, did not disclose the financial terms in discussion.

Savannah Energy on Wednesday asked for trading in its shares to be suspended until it publishes details of the proposed deal or confirms that the talks have ended.

The Doba oil project produced gross 33 700 barrels of oil per day (bopd) on average, while the Chad-Cameroon pipeline transported gross 129 200 bopd last year, the British company said.- Nampa/Reuters

Toyota asks suppliers to reduce emissions

Toyota Motor Corp has asked its parts suppliers to reduce carbon emissions, the company said on Wednesday.

Japan's largest carmaker, which plans to be carbon neutral by 2050, has also provided a target to suppliers to achieve carbon neutrality, a Toyota spokeswoman said.

"Carbon neutrality is not something a company can achieve alone, so we asked our suppliers to work together towards achieving it," she said.

The news was first reported by the Nikkei newspaper. Toyota will set an initial target for main auto parts suppliers to cut carbon emissions by 3% this year from the year before, it reported.

Toyota chief Akio Toyoda, in his capacity as head of the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association, said in April that Japan's auto industry can lead the country's push to achieve carbon neutrality. - Nampa/Reuters

GameStop boosts teen interest in investing

While traders were flocking to GameStop earlier this year, the stock was also capturing the imagination of US teenagers, according to a survey from Wells Fargo.

A third of teens say they are learning financial lessons from the internet and social media, according to the survey of 13 to 17-year olds and parents of teenagers.

And almost half of the teens say they are more interested in investing thanks to GameStop, whose shares have surged due to its popularity among members of online investor forums.

The survey follows Fidelity Investments' launch earlier this month of a commission-free brokerage account for 13- to 17-year-olds that allows stock trading on a mobile app, as it looks to attract the next generation of investors.

The survey of 318 teens and 304 parents of teens conducted between April 20 and May 3, found that while 57% of teens say they are learning about finances from their parents and 47% say they are learning from school, 35% cite social media and 34% cite websites.

About 45% of teens said "the GameStop social media situation" boosted their interest in investing with 53% of boys claiming increased interest and 40% of teen girls, according to Wells Fargo. - Nampa/Reuters

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