Sanlam celebrates 40% growth; miners up in arms over Eskom; FirstRand; Bizos

By Claire Badenhorst

  • Sanlam reported a 10% increase in headline profit on Thursday. The company is celebrating new business growth of 40% over the past six months thanks to its flourishing investment business. With a new CEO at its helm, South Africa’s biggest insurer plans to accelerate its expansion outside of the country into new markets. For more information on Sanlam’s performance, visit BizNews.com.
  • Meanwhile, the problems continue at Eskom. The conveyor belt that feeds the Medupi power plant snapped again on Thursday, putting more strain on Eskom’s ability to provide electricity. Earlier this month, the power utility said that blackouts could increase over the next 18 months, an announcement that has the mining industry in a flat spin. According to Impala Platinum Chief Executive Nico Muller, power security plays a vital role in investment decisions. Eskom has sapped investor confidence, making it a far more destructive force than Covid. For more on this, go to BizNews.com.
  • FirstRand – which owns FNB, RMB and Wesbank – suffered a 38% drop in normalised profit for the year. Hundreds of South Africans have been drowning in unpaid bills thanks to a harsh lockdown which caused many to lose their jobs or take pay cuts. As a result, the group increased provisions to cover bad debts relating to Covid-19 by over R15bn. It has since written off over R24bn in bad-debt credit impairments. In a statement, FirstRand said it expects Covid-19 to continue affecting its performance for some time.
  • Tributes are pouring in for human rights lawyer George Bizos who died on Wednesday at the age of 92. Bizos is best known for representing the late former South African President Nelson Mandela at his treason trial in 1963. According to Bloomberg, Bizos defended several opponents of apartheid during his successful career as an advocate, and he died peacefully at home of natural causes.
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