Today’s Top 8 Business Stories – 12 September


1) Steinhoff to Get Record $3.6 Million Fine After Discount
Steinhoff International Holdings NV was given a record 53 million rand ($3.6 million) fine by South Africa’s financial regulator for failing to properly disclose accounting problems to shareholders. The Financial Sector Conduct Authority reduced the figure from an initial 1.5 billion rand in light of the retailer’s precarious financial position, according to Brandon Topham, divisional executive for investigations and enforcement. View Share Prices for Steinhoff  International Holdings NV.

2) Horror of Gender-Based Violence Revealed in South African Report
The murder of a number of women in South Africa over recent weeks has ignited outrage, street protests and a media storm. The extent of the scourge of gender-based violence was put on stark display in the latest crime statistics released on Thursday.

3) South African Mining Output Rises For First Time in Nine Months
South African mining output increased for the first time in nine months in July as coal and iron ore production surged. Mining production rose 2.4% from a year earlier compared with a revised 4.1% decline in June, Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said in a report on its website Thursday. The median estimate of five economists in a Bloomberg survey was for a 1% increase. Key Insights.

4) Moody’s In No Hurry To Junk South Africa as Ratings Diverge
Investors may be forgiven for wondering what’s taking Moody’s Investors Service so long to downgrade South Africa to junk. Financial markets have been pricing in a downgrade for months, and the two other major rating companies have had South Africa on junk for two years.

5) Aspen Scraps Full-Year Dividend to Help Contain Debt Levels
Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd. scrapped its full-year dividend as Africa’s biggest drugmaker seeks to reduce debt and shore up cash. The decision will also help Aspen pay for ongoing projects, the Durban, South Africa-based company said in a statement after the market closed on Wednesday. “The board will re-evaluate the relevant circumstances regularly with a view to declaring a dividend when it is considered prudent to do so,” Aspen said. View Share Prices for Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd.

6) Rhino Protection Gets Funding Boost From New Sanlam Amplify Unit
Sanlam Ltd. is creating a new asset management company that plans to put aside part of its revenue to help protect rhinos in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Amplify, as the new entity is known, will have 8 billion rand ($547 million) under management made up of funds transferred from elsewhere in the Cape Town-based company, the unit’s head, Marthinus Van der Nest, said by phone. View Share Prices for Sanlam Ltd.

7) Standard Bank Risk-Reward Is Skewed to the Upside, MS Says
Standard Bank investors should stay the course to benefit from expanding return on assets driven by efficiency gains at the South African lender, RMB Morgan Stanley analysts Elan Levy and Teboho Mosoeu write in note. * Maintain overweight rating, PT trimmed to 214 rand from 224 rand * Bank shows evidence of sustainable containment of operating costs, including 2,097 or 4.3% y/y headcount reduction reported in 1H results.

8) S. Africa Unsecured Loan Boom Leaves 40% of Borrowers in Default
South Africa’s unsecured lending boom has left 40% of borrowers in default and millions of people in a debt trap, according to fund manager Differential Capital. About 7.8 million of the country’s 60 million residents have taken out a combined 225 billion rand ($15 billion) of loans without collateral, mostly for short-term needs such as furniture and urgent family care, the Johannesburg-based firm said in a report.