Latest Biz News: The Reserve Bank Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged, Woolies 4% Sales Up and Telkom CEO Sells Shares

SARB leaves interest rate unchanged

The Reserve Bank’s monetary policy committee has kept interest rates unchanged, with the prime rate staying at 7%. In September, governor Lesetja Kganyago said the Reserve Bank’s models do not make provision for further cuts in the near term. Instead there are two rate increases on the horizon, in the third and fourth quarters of 2021.

Woolworths sales up almost 4%

Woolworths said that its sales for the first 20 weeks of the financial year increased by 3.5% compared to the same period last year.

Absa’s good news on bad debts 

Absa also released a trading update, saying third-quarter credit write-offs were better than expected. Revenue growth for the past nine months was similar to the 3% increase in the first half.

Confusion at SABC

SABC workers learned that widespread retrenchments will proceed – even as government criticised the broadcaster for negotiating in bad faith with workers

SA receives R110bn in investment pledges

President Cyril Ramaphosa said that government received almost R110 billion in new investment commitments from more than 50 companies during this week’s investment conference. Much of the new investments will be in manufacturing.

Telkom CEO sells shares

Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko has sold more than R6 million in company shares

Strong sales growth at Spar  

The SPAR group this morning reported a 9% increase in its annual headline profit, with turnover jumping almost 14% to R124 billion. It suffered big losses in Poland, but sales at both SPAR Switzerland and its Irish EUROSPAR stores grew by almost 12%. In Southern Africa, there was a strong demand for groceries, with its food sales up more than 9%. Local prices at Spar stores rose by 3.9% over the past year.

Sasol backtracks on fees

Sasol announced that it will cut 20% of the fees it would have paid directors for this year, due to the “significant challenges still facing Sasol and in acknowledgement of the erosion of shareholder value over the past two years”.

Santam forced to pay lockdown losses

In a big blow to Santam, the Western Cape High Court yesterday ruled that it is liable to pay for business interruption losses related to the Covid-19 lockdown. It also ordered the insurer to pay for the impact over the policy period of 18 months and that it should pay the applicant’s legal costs.

Upheaval at SABC

The plan to retrench up to 400 SABC employees met with resistance on Tuesday, with lunchtime pickets and reports that television anchors would refuse to go on air. Retrenchment letters have been issued, but an exec reportedly said yesterday that the letters would be “reversed”.

Pandemic wipes out eTV owner’s profit 

eTV owner eMedia Holdings warned that its half-year profit slumped by between 87% and 97% due to a collapse of advertising income during the pandemic.

Business Insider SA

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