Flash Briefing: Mabuza phobia knocks rand; Moyo fiasco shakes Old Mutual; Sibanye, Reunert

By Jackie Cameron

In today’s Biznews Flash Briefing:

  • The rand fell on speculation that graft-tainted David Mabuza could be re-appointed as deputy president. Bloomberg reports that a spokesperson for the ANC’s parliamentary caucus said in a text message that Mabuza’s swearing-in looms in Pretoria. Earlier in the week, the rand strengthened on news that Mabuza looked like he would lose out on the second-most powerful position in South African politics – but it weakened 1% to the dollar (14.5761 per dollar by 10:28am in Johannesburg) as word spread that Mabuza seemed set to become President Ramaphosa’s deputy. Mabuza is seen by analysts as a bad choice for cabinet, as he has been linked to a succession of scandals – including while he served as premier of Mpumalanga. Allegations range from rigging internal party votes and state tenders to having his opponents silenced and even assassinated. Mabuza has denied the allegations and has never been charged. His reappointment won’t help Ramaphosa’s efforts to show investors that he is cleaning up on corruption, say analysts.
  • The Sibanye share price gained about 9% on the news that Lonmin and Sibanye shareholders have approved the takeover of struggling Lonmin. Shares in London-listed Lonmin also perked up as the deal firmed up.
  • Reunert fell more than 5% as investors absorbed the details of the unaudited statements for the six months to the end of March, released on Monday. The electrical engineering and ICT company reported revenue growth, but a 16% drop in profits before tax. Reunert declared a gross interim cash dividend, of 130 cents per ordinary share (2018: 125 cents per share), for the six months ended 31 March. Reunert bosses said they are optimistic that President Ramaphosa and his team will work some magic on the economy, to the benefit of shareholders. It said in a SENS statement: “The results from the national election and the anticipated improvements that are likely to ensue, should be positive for business confidence, foreign direct and local investment.”
  • Also down on Tuesday was Telkom, which lost some of its gains earlier in the week, and Old Mutual – which unsettled investors after it announced that it had suspended its CEO Peter Moyo in connection with business conflicts of interest. Moyo is a founder and former CEO of investment holding company NMT Capital, which he reportedly declared when he joined Old Mutual – the only institutional investor in the company. Moyo, says City Press, has threatened to sue Old Mutual for his sudden suspension shortly before Old Mutual’s annual general meeting.
  • MacKenzie Bezos, the ex-wife of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, has promised to give half her fortune to charity. She joins billionaires such as investor Warren Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates in the Giving Pledge, reports the BBC. The pledge, started by Buffett and Gates, calls for the richest to give away half or more of their wealth. Ms Bezos is estimated to be worth almost $37bn (£29bn), according to the BBC. She and Mr Bezos divorced earlier this year. MacKenzie Bezos acquired 4% of Amazon in the settlement. Amazon is in the BizNews portfolio. She said: ”In addition to whatever assets life has nurtured in me, I have a disproportionate amount of money to share…My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort and care.”
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