MAIL & GUARDIAN: Business

June PPI ‘higher than expected’

South Africa's June 2005 producer price index (PPI) rose by 2,3% year-on-year (y/y) from a 2,4% y/y increase in May, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on Thursday. The month-on-month (m/m) increase was 1,5% in June compared with a 0,5% rise in May 2005.

Sappi reports tough third quarter

South African-based pulp and paper giant Sappi had a tough third quarter and reported a headline loss of four United States cents per share for the three months to June after headline earnings per share of 12 cents in the March quarter and 18 cents for the June 2004 quarter.

Comair gains further 4% on SAA woes

Shares in listed airlines group Comair, the British Airways operator in South Africa, continued to gain ground in early trade on Thursday, climbing 4,2% or seven cents as the company continued to reap the benefits of the damaging six-day strike at rival South African Airways (SAA), despite news that the strike is set to come to an end.

Municipal strike is first of many, says Cosatu

The three-day strike by municipal workers that started on Wednesday is just the first of many to come between now and February next year, Congress of South African Trade Unions secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi said in Johannesburg on Wednesday. Incidents of poor discipline and the strewing of rubbish marred marches in Jo'burg and Cape Town.

Positive sentiment gives JSE a lift

The JSE was higher in noon trade on Wednesday as buyers returned to the market, which pulled back on Tuesday following its rally to successive record highs. Dealers said the strength was primarily the result of positive sentiment, which was further enhanced by the release of better-than-expected consumer inflation data at 11.30am.

SA municipal debt jumps to R36bn

South Africa's municipal debt jumped about R4-billion from R31,8-billion in 2002 to R35,9-billion in 2003, while figures for 2004 are not yet available, said Provincial and Local Government Minister Sydney Mufamadi. The figures show that Durban/eThekwini -- once a shining light of budgetary prudence -- has grown its debt from R2,8-billion to R3,2-billion.

Strike shuts Highveld Steel Witbank plant

Close to 3 000 members of Solidarity and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa are on an indefinite strike at steel producer Highveld Steel's Witbank plant. Solidarity spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans said the unions are standing firm on their wage demand of an 8% increase.

Agreement drafted to resolve SAA strike

An agreement in principle has been drafted to resolve the dispute between South African Airways (SAA) and striking unions, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) said on Wednesday. "Significant progress has been made towards resolution of the dispute," the CCMA said in a press statement.

Cellphone users caught by the fine print

Cellular subscription services are fast becoming a headache for South African cellphone users. Advertisement promoting such services are misleading, with at least one advert recently withdrawn by the Advertising Standards Authority, and once subscribed, it can be difficult for users to find out how to unsubscribe.

Sanlam finalises sale of Absa stake to Barclays

Sanlam, South Africa's second-largest life assurer, has finalised the sale of its entire 21,3% stake in banking group Absa to the United Kingdom's Barclays Bank for R10,3-billion, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. The group sold all of its 124,3-million Absa shares for R82,50 per share in the transaction.

Sun International to sell City Lodge stake, buy shares

Listed hotel and gaming group Sun International will proceed with the sale of its entire 38,6% stake in City Lodge Hotels to Sun International shareholders for a total of R627-million, in exchange for repurchasing its own shares from them, the company said on Tuesday.

Pick ‘n Pay counts cost of four-day strike

South African retailer Pick 'n Pay has experienced a total turnover loss of just less than R50-million over the four days since Friday, when approximately 20 000 staff, members of the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers' Union, began their strike over higher wages, according to CEO Sean Summers.

AECI increases earnings

Listed South African specialist chemicals and explosives group AECI saw its headline earnings per ordinary share increase by 23% to 194 cents for the six months to June 30, from 158 cents for the first six months of 2004, the company said on Tuesday.

Nedbank empowerment deal benefits black clients

Black clients stand to benefit from Nedbank's black economic empowerment deal that will see approximately 11,5% of the banking group falling into the hands of a broad-based empowerment group. Black individuals who hold a primary account with Nedbank or its divisions stand to benefit from an innovative bonus-share scheme.

Financial-sector BEE ‘mustn’t jeopardise stability’

Transformation and black economic empowerment (BEE) in South Africa's financial sector must not jeopardise ongoing financial stability, Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel cautioned on Monday. He was speaking at the start of the Financial Sector Campaign Coalition Conference in Cape Town.

SAA strike: Pay talks resume

The United Association of South Africa and the South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union began a meeting with South African Airways (SAA) at noon on Monday in the latest effort to break a pay deadlock, Uasa said. Both unions had rejected an earlier SAA pay offer.

JSE remains firm, but off high

The JSE Securities Exchange (JSE) remained firmer at midday on Monday, but was off its record high reached in early trade. While a weaker rand was buoying the bourse, gold stocks and banks were paring gains. At 12.03pm, the all-share index was up 0,25% at 15 061,19. It reached a record 15 117,24 in early trade.

Mutual & Federal reports half-year earnings growth

The country's second-biggest short-term insurer, Mutual & Federal, on Monday reported a 93% increase in headline earnings per share from 124 cents to 239 cents per share for the six months ended June. Headline earnings for the half-year increased from R303-million to R593-million.

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