Markets: Latest News
It’s Back: South Africa Invites Foreign Financing ‘Solutions’ On Nuclear Fleet, Cites Koeberg SuccessBy Dana Sanchez, 12:46 pm
Nuclear fleet South Africa – it’s back. After many delays, SA has invited foreign financing solutions, formally jumpstarting its stalled nuclear build program. It put out a request for information from potential foreign contractors. Despite public protests, the government wants to build a new fleet of nuclear power stations. A RFP was delayed following reports that Russia had already secured the deal. France, U.S., China and South Korea are interested too. One thing SA has on its side is experience.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:11 am AFKI Original
It is the end of the year, a time when companies close the books and forecast 2017. As African governments roll out 2017 budgets or budget adjustments, it’s an ideal time to take an early look at the two gigantic problem countries — sub-Saharan Africa’s second- and third-largest economies. A sustained low oil price could all but doom these African budgets and burden their economies. Will debt markets be willing to service Nigeria? President dos Santos said he is prepared to step down — not bad timing. Angola may be the giant taking the hardest punches.
Dana Sanchez, 12:45 pm
Coca-Cola and AB InBev are the world’s largest makers of soft drinks and beer, respectively. Africa is important for Coke because soft drink consumption continues to grow on the continent. Coke has not said why it decided to buy back the stake, but it might be in its best interest to avoid partnering with AB InBev, which has no experience in Africa. With little room left for AB InBev to grow meaningfully in beer, bankers speculate the deal-hungry mega brewer may eventually move into soft drinks. That could put Coke at the top of its list.
Dana Sanchez, 9:39 am
The Kenyan production facility will be Volkswagen’s third on the continent. Volkswagen hasn’t assembled cars in Kenya since the 1970s when it manufactured the Beetle model. Kenyans overwhelmingly buy second-hand imports. Used car sellers account for about 80% of total vehicle sales. VW is expanding in Africa to tap the enormous growth potential of the African new car market. The cars will be assembled in Kenya using vehicle kits imported from VW’s South African plant.
Dana Sanchez, 2:35 pm
The 26-acre Atlantis Resorts in Hawaii will be similar to the over-the-top Atlantis The Palm Dubai, which has a water park, aquarium, dolphin encounter and more than 20 restaurants. South African-born hotel magnate Sol Kerzner developed some of the country’s top hotel brands and helped put South African tourism on the map. Kerzner sold his stake in Kerzner International to a Dubai firm in 2014 but the company still bears his name. Other owners include investment banker Goldman Sachs and the L.A. investment firm Colony Capital.
Dana Sanchez, 11:42 am
With 13.5M people, Guangzhou, China, is one of the most populous metropolitan areas on Earth, and it’s though to have Asia’s largest African population. Formerly known as Canton, the city was home at one point to up to 200,000 Africans, although that number has been disputed. One trend seems undisputed. The African population in Guangzhou is shrinking. Africans are leaving for greener pastures elsewhere in Asia.
Dana Sanchez, 2:07 pm
Analysts are watching to see if Retail Africa is a potential prelude to a full Steinhoff-Shoprite takeover. Steinhoff has been expanding outside South Africa. If the two firms merge completely, the resulting retail empire will have more than 9,000 stores globally compared to Walmart’s 11,500. Steinhoff sells lower-end furniture, apparel and home goods. A Shoprite merger will add groceries. “Retail Africa, locally bred, will have the required size and scale to compete with any other international retailer,” the companies said in a joint statement.
Betting On Poorer Africans, Soros-Backed Leapfrog Raising $800M For Investments, Eyes Kenyan InsurersBy Dana Sanchez, 9:50 am
LeapFrog Investments is betting on poorer Africans, or “emerging consumers” because they outnumber the continent’s middle class about four to one. Kenya’s new regulations will create buyout opportunities. Nigeria’s huge population and Ghana’s more sophisticated consumers make those markets attractive too. “We’re looking at payment companies because it’s becoming a popular tool that just offers much cheaper ways of doing business” across the continent, a LeapFrog partner said.
Dana Sanchez, 9:32 am
Sibanye Gold, South Africa’s largest gold producer, is buying Stillwater Mining Company in Montana — the only N. American producer of platinum and palladium. The purchase will make Sibanye the world’s third-largest platinum producer. Sibanye counts among its largest shareholders SA’s government pension fund. Stillwater shares surged Friday on the news. The sale makes sense because of the strengthening U.S. dollar, which has hurt Stillwater in export markets. “With Mr. Trump becoming president … he’s probably more friendly toward mining and sees the necessity of it,” the Sibanye CEO said.
Dana Sanchez, 11:04 am
One of South Africa’s largest banks bought a majority stake in the team that built the country’s largest mobile payments product. Africa has the highest mobile money adoption rate in the world, but it’s hardly universal, catching on more in some countries and less in others. While banks and mobile payments startups would like to see large-scale adoption of mobile money, the reality is cash is likely to remain king in Africa — internet penetration and trust in the financial system are low on the continent.
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