Today’s Top Business Stories: Medupi belt fixed, Harmony suffered loss despite record gold price

Harmony to suffer loss despite record gold price

Harmony Gold has warned that it will suffer a headline loss for the past year. This is despite an increase in revenue thanks to a much stronger gold price.The weaker rand hit its dollar-denominated debt, and it also suffered a loss on a derivative contract.

Bidvest warns of steep profit dive

Bidvest expects its headline profit will be down by more than 70% for the past year. The group incurred a charge of R1.6 billion which relates to Covid-19, including provisions for unsold inventory, additional costs incurred to comply with health and safety protocols, a reduced offer accepted for our stake in the Mumbai International Airport Limited and once-off restructuring charges resulting from a strategic business review.

FirstRand write-offs for bad debt up 136%

FirstRand – which owns FNB, RMB and Wesbank – saw its normalised profit for the year fall by 38% to R27.9 billion. It wrote off R24.383 billion in bad-debt credit impairments – up 132% since last year. The group warns that the economic impact of Covid-19 will continue to place “acute pressure” on its performance, and it does not expect its the credit performance to materially improve.

“Given the South African government’s limited capacity to inject further stimulus into the economy, there will be ongoing permanent damage to household and business balance sheets,” the group said in a statement. “This will limit the extent to which the economy will be able to recoup the output losses sustained during the first half of the year. As a result, private sector credit growth will remain weak and activity levels will continue to trend lower than pre-crisis.”

Medupi conveyor belt fixed

The notorious coal conveyor belt that feeds the Medupi power plant was fixed after it snapped overnight. While the system remains constrained, load shedding is no longer on the cards.

 The conveyor belt first snapped in October last year, triggering rolling blackouts over many days.

New business boosts Sanlam profit 

Sanlam reported a 10% increase in headline profit, as new business volumes increased by 40% to R157 billion in the past six months. Its investment business was the main contributor, helped by “satisfactory” general insurance sales. Its life insurance business lagged due to the restrictions on face-to-face sales during lockdown. Sales of funeral policies to Capitec clients as part of a relatively new partnership, grew by 9% over the past six months. No interim dividend was declared. Sanlam’s share price closed marginally lower at R56.41.

Business Insider SA

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