Today’s Top 8 Business Stories – 10 December

1) Blackouts Hit Phone Networks, Spur Equipment Theft: Eskom Update
South Africa has been hit by a sixth straight day of rolling blackouts as state-owned power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. acts to prevent a total collapse of the grid after a raft of plant breakdowns. The company implemented a record level of cuts — 6,000 megawatts — late Monday, prompting platinum and gold mines in the country to halt operations.

2) Africa Borrowing Like It’s the 1990s Worries the IMF
Record commodity prices and low global interest rates have encouraged African countries to borrow like they did in the 1990s, but now some are struggling to pay up as their revenue slows along with economic growth. Government debt as a percentage of gross domestic product in sub-Saharan Africa has doubled in the past decade, heading back toward the level it reached at the turn of the century.

3) Record Blackouts Shut South Africa Mines as Recession Risk Rises
Platinum and gold mines in South Africa stopped operations as the country was hit by record levels of rolling blackouts that are crippling key parts of the economy, threatening another recession. Producers including Sibanye Gold Ltd., the world’s biggest platinum miner, recalled workers from underground and stopped milling ore after state-owned power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. View Share Prices for Sibanye Gold Ltd.

4) Tongaat to Approach Shareholders to Raise 4 Billion Rand
Sugar company has a target of reducing debt by 8.1 billion rand by March 2021. * To do this Tongaat says it’s focusing on cost efficiencies, working capital improvement, interest savings and reducing capital expenditure; this is expected to lead to a 3 billion rand cash flow improvement and debt reduction.

5) Gold’s Been on a Tear This Year and 2020 May See More Reward
Gold’s impressive advance in 2019 — aided by trade war frictions, easier monetary policy across the world’s leading economies and sustained central-bank buying — may be set to spill into the new decade. As 2020 looms, BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest money manager, remains constructive on bullion as a hedge, while Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

6) Just Eat Rejects Prosus Increased Offer of 740p/Share
Board of Just Eat continues to believe that Prosus’ offer significantly undervalues the company and its attractive assets and prospects both on a standalone basis and as part of the proposed recommended all-share combination with, according to statement. * Board unanimously recommends that shareholders reject the Prosus offer and take no action.

7) Palladium’s Up 50% in ‘19 and Citi Says Rally Still Has Legs
Palladium’s record-setting rally has been a consistent feature of commodity markets in 2019, with gains posted every single quarter, and yet Citigroup Inc. says the surge is far from done. Prices may jump to $2,500 an ounce by mid-2020, the bank said in a note.

8) Eskom Ups S. Africa Outages and Shows It Could Get Worse
South Africa’s state power company intensified rolling blackouts to record levels on Monday, cutting 6,000 megawatts, or almost 20% of demand, from the national grid. This signals a deepening crisis at debt-ridden Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. and raises the risk of a second recession in as many years. Eskom said power cuts could reach Stage 8, under which 8,000 megawatts would be cut, resulting in customers having power for only half of the day.