Today’s Top 4 Business Stories – 17 December

1) Old Mutual Feud With Fired CEO Risks Thwarting Growth Ambitions
Old Mutual Ltd.’s homecoming may get even rockier next year as an ongoing battle with its former head risks distracting the South African insurer from handling weak economic growth and rising competition. The firm will end 2019 still sparring with ex-Chief Executive Officer Peter Moyo. The dispute has been in court since June, about a year after Old Mutual moved its listing back to Johannesburg. View Share Prices for Old Mutual Ltd.

2) Eskom CEO-Designate De Ruyter to Take Up Post Early
Andre de Ruyter, who was scheduled to take up post on Jan. 15, will move into the position “soon,” Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu tells reporters in capital, Pretoria. * “Cabinet has decided to ask Mr. De Ruyter to assume his position as soon as possible due to the urgency of the situation,” Mthembu says.

3) S. Africa’s Sasol Jumps on Positive Lake Charles Development
Sasol, the world’s biggest maker of fuel from coal, jumps 9.5% to the highest since Sept. 16 as news that the Lake Charles ethane cracker is increasing production rates helps ease investor concerns over the project. * NOTE: Sasol CPL Ethylene Rates Now ~85-90% of Nameplate Capacity * After all the capex overruns and delays at Lake Charles, investors are “understandably nervous and eager to see the project ramp up without any further issues. View Share Prices for Sasol.

4) Palladium Tops $2,000 as Record-Breaking Rally Boosts Miners
Palladium rose above $2,000 an ounce for the first time, extending a powerful annual advance driven by a sustained global deficit. Palladium has gained 57% this year, with market watchers saying the shortfall will be hard to fill. That’s great news for producers of the metal, used mainly in autocatalysts, which have seen their shares surge. No. 1 miner MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC has gained 51% in 2019.