Flash Briefing: Many SA investors have lost shirts in crypto, warns FSCA; gas power for Gauteng; Sasol; Sappi

  • The regulatory Financial Sector Conduct Authority has warned investors that they can lose all their money in crypto investments. This follows a large number of complaints from South African investors who have lost their savings through investing in a crypto-related investment that they did not understand, or a scam packaged as a crypto investment promising unrealistic high returns. Crypto-related investments are not regulated by the FSCA or any other body in South Africa. As a result, if something goes wrong, you’re unlikely to get your money back and will have no recourse against anyone, it warns. Meanwhile, a tax expert has told BizNews Radio that the South African Revenue Service has spotted the growing popularity of crypto trading and wants its slice of the cake. Thomas Lobban of Tax Consulting SA told BizNews Radio that you are liable for profits on digital currency trades – even though this is not a regulated activity.
  • Harith General Partners, which funds infrastructure development across Africa, is pushing ahead with plans to build the first gas-fired power plants in South Africa’s industrial hub of Gauteng and is exploring options to source the fuel, reports Bloomberg. The government’s energy blueprint, known as the Integrated Resource Plan, includes proposals to bring gas to the region from 2023 at the earliest, and that target isn’t ambitious enough, according to Sipho Makhubela, Harith’s chief executive officer. “It’s further out than we would desire. We are working on shortening that time frame because we can’t wait that long,” he said in an interview last week. “The bottlenecks are holding us back.” South Africa has suffered intermittent power outages since 2008 because of inadequate generation capacity and the poor state of some plants owned by state utility Eskom. The country is also almost entirely dependent on electricity generated from coal and is under pressure to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Harith is considering bringing in liquefied natural gas by road or rail, or buying gas from Sasol to fuel its new plants. Elsewhere on the continent, Harith expects to conclude a road deal in East Africa soon, a port project in West Africa, rail deals in southern Africa and expand its telecommunications interests, Makhubela said.
  • Petrochemical giant Sasol soared in morning trade on Thursday on the back of the Brent Crude price narrowing in on $60 a barrel, a 12-month high. Sasol has had a rocketing start to 2021 and released a better than expected trading update last week, with earnings more than doubling when compared to the prior period. Investors are becoming increasingly optimistic that the company will be able to avoid a highly dilutive rights issue, with many investment houses raising their price targets for the company.
  • Sappi – a global provider of everyday materials – was among the best performers on the JSE, jumping not far off 10% on the back of a better-than expected set of quarterly results even though Covid-19 containment measures negatively impacted on sales. Gold mining companies dominated the worst performers by the close of trade, with DRDGold, Harmony and AngloGold shedding about 2%.

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