Brait shake-up; Repo rate unchanged; Richemont recovery; Trillian million trail; 700 react to Tito’s plan

By Linda van Tilburg

  • South African businessman Christo Wiese is part of a shareholder group that is proposing that the investment company Brait raise R3bn in a share sale and dispose of all assets except gym-chain Virgin Active. Under the plan, Wiese’s Titan would team up with a new vehicle called Arbiter and Johannesburg-based money manager Mergence Investment Managers to control a combined 49.9% of Brait, according to an investor presentation seen by Bloomberg News. The parties would then remove the current management and embark on their preferred strategy. It will also see the return of financier Brian Myerson. Brait shares jumped by as much as 6.2% on the JSE before levelling off to an increase of 4.68% after the news.
  • The Reserve Bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged and may only continue its easing when uncertainties about government finances and the nation’s credit ratings have been cleared up. This is after a unanimous vote by the Monetary Policy Committee to maintain the repurchase rate at 6.5%. The Reserve Bank cut its inflation forecast for this year and economic-growth projections for 2020 and 2021, which would suggest room to ease. Analysts say the statement left the door open for another rate cut should the currency get through the mid-term budget and an unscathed Moody’s review in November.
  • After an initial improvement in the Rand to R14.61 to the dollar, the currency fell to end the day at R14.74. Richemont shares recovered and rose 1.17% on the JSE after a drop of 6% wiped billions off its value. Prosus shares rose by just over 2% and other big movers on the day were Sappi that dropped by more than 7% and Steinhoff shares were down 4.3%.
  • Light has been shed by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project on where the money went that Trillian, the Gupta-linked advisory earned from state contracts. This is after Eskom, which is trying to recoup R595m from Trillian asked Interpol to help in tracking down assets. The OCCRP says the money has been circulated among a network of 10 shell companies and consultancies across the world, including to India and Dubai.  The investigative journalism platform obtained a Trillian server containing more than three million documents including memos, invoices and internal emails.
  • There have been 700 submissions on Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s plan to turn around the economy and the document was the subject of a special Cabinet meeting yesterday. Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said at a news conference yesterday that the government would announce its strategy to turn around ailing Eskom after it had finalised a master plan to revive the economy. A blueprint known as the Integrated Resource Plan that maps out the nation’s energy mix for the next two decades was also discussed. The plan was still before Cabinet but discussions have not been been concluded. It was also revealed the Mboweni’s mini-budget will be postponed by a week to the 30th of October.
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