Flash Briefing: Foldable Samsung; Buffett goes elephant hunting; Anglo stronger than expected

By Linda van Tilburg

In today’s business headlines:

  • Samsung has revealed its new foldable phone that resembles a conventional cellphone, but it folds open like a book to reveal a small tablet of 18.5 cm. It will be for sale at the end of April. The foldable Samsung Galaxy can operate three apps simultaneously and has 6 cameras. If the innovation does not blow you away, the price certainly will. The basic model is expected to sell at around $2,000, a new high for premium pricing in cellular phones just when Apple brought the prices of their expensive models down. Samsung’s share price has increased by more than 20% since the beginning of the year, compared to a rise of just under 9% in the Apple’s share price during the same period.
  • From America there is the news that Warren Buffet is on the hunt for ‘elephants’. No not the big 5 variety, that is what he calls large acquisitions. It has been exactly three years since he bagged the last big one. And the reason why he has not, is unprecedented competition from private equity funds. And while we are on to big in America… how did Bernie Sanders raise $5.9m in 24 hours for his second stab at becoming America’s next President. Could it be that there are some people who are very keen to get rid of President Donald Trump?
  • In the UK, Barclays Bank is in the black again as it reported a full-year net profit of  £1.4bn for 2018. That is after the bank post losses of £1.92bn in 2017 after it was slapped with a massive £901m charge on US deferred tax assets. The bank also revealed that it has set aside £150m as a provision for Brexit. While many big financial institutions, motor manufacturers and some of the city’s legal firms are considering a move to the European continent, Barclays has vowed it is staying committed to the UK. “We are a British Bank, said CEO Jes Staley.
  • In another big story in Europe, the Catholic Church is finally addressing a decade of scandals that rocked the church in a landmark summit on child sex abuse. Pope Francis told bishops that the world demanded concrete steps to stamp out what he called the evil of priestly abuse. He was quoted as urging the summit to “hear the cry of the little ones who plead for justice.”
  • And in South African news, Anglo American posted stronger than expected results driven by higher copper and coal prices with EBITDA rising 4% to $9.2bn. Coal remained the largest contributor to earnings , at $3.2bn, up 11.4%. That reflects a significant increase in production of Metallurgical Coal and in prices of Thermal Coal. Anglo CEO Mark Cutifani stressed that the mine was on a journey to ‘zero harm’. This follows a slump in confidence in the mining industry after the collapse of a mining dam in January in Brazil in which 169 people were killed.