Eskom green shoots; Altron’s Bytes UK listing; Anglo American rebound; Clicks online boost; Slower African recovery

By Linda van Tilburg

  • Eskom is anticipating  that its performance would improve by December this year due to what Chief Executive Officer André de Ruyter has called adequate reliability maintenance, but Eskom could not eliminate the risk of load shedding going forward. Speaking at Eskom’s quarterly state of the system briefing, De Ruyter envisaged a “step change in the availability of its power station fleet” by April next year. He said repairing the design defects at its two mega coal-fired power stations, Medupi and Kusile, had so far been very promising and that the plants would be able to provide reliable electricity. De Ruyter said Eskom was “definitely making progress and its pleasing to see the green shoots of recovery starting to emerge.” De Ruyter said additional capacity would have to be found and that Eskom was exploring green financing. De Ruyter has also acknowledged the whistleblower Bianca Goodson’s role in the recovery of R1.6 billion for Eskom.
  • Altron’s share price has jumped by 13,93% on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange after the news that it is proceeding with plans to list its Bytes UK subsidiary which is a leading IT software provider, on the London Stock Exchange. It is likely to happen before the end of the year. The Chief Executive Officer of Altron Mteto Nyati told CNBC that its operation in the UK is not appreciated on the JSE. He said the minimum market cap for this operation was going to be £450 million which meant its share price was highly undervalued in South Africa. He also said Covid-19 presented opportunities for digital transformation.
  • Anglo American Plc says its mining operations have continued to recover from the early impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with production of diamonds and platinum rising sharply. Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani said the company was operating at 95% of its normal capacity and was seen encouraging improvement in the demand for rough diamonds as the holiday selling season approached. Anglo’s  production jumped by almost a quarter in the three months ending Sept. 30 compared with the previous three months.
  • South African drugstore Clicks Group has reported a 13.7% increase in annual earnings despite the Covid-19 pandemic, as the company continued to operate during the lockdown because it has been categorised as an essential service. According to Reuters, Clicks saw its turnover for the year increase by 9.6% to R34.4 billion. Online sales growth rocketed by 361% in the second half of the year.
  • Sub-Saharan African economies face a slow recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and the region’s economic growth will fall behind the rest of the world next year, according to the International Monetary Fund. Gross domestic product in the region is projected to expand 3.1% next year, compared with a forecast of 5.2% for the world economy.  The IMF predicts that the South African economy could contract by 8%. It said the shock of the pandemic would push more countries in the region into debt distress and governments should be cautious about returning to international debt markets.

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