NATIONAL NEWS - What is making headlines in South Africa today:
South African Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit) Growthpoint released results for the six months to 31 December 2018 on Wednesday, at a time when fundamentals remain weak in the property sector. The company is reporting 5.9% growth in distributable income from FY18 and experienced 4.3% growth in property assets. It will issue a dividend of 105.8 cents per share, up 4.5% since the previous reporting period. The company says it expects little growth from its SA portfolio going forward and is more optimistic about its international investments.
Grand Parade warns of big losses
Grand Parade Investments, the owner of brands like Burger King and Spur Group, announced on Wednesday that it expects a decrease in basic earnings per share due to the impairment of struggling Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins. The company plans to close its loss-making franchises in the country after failing to find a buyer, and will focus on its Burger King outlets. In its trading statement, GPI says it expects to make a loss per share of between R8.52 to R7.92 for the period under review. This makes for an almost 300% knock since the previous reporting period.
South African paper and packaging business Mpact is reporting annual results for the year ended 31 December 2018, which it says reflect a strong trading performance in the paper business. However, the plastics business was not as fortunate due, in part, to the impact of the sugar tax. Group revenue of R10.6 billion is 4.9% higher than the prior year to R10.6 billion and underlying earnings per share are up 25% to 208.0 cents. Underlying operating profit is up 47% to R672 million. The company is declaring a cash dividend of 55 cents per share.
Group Five’s demise
South Africa’s construction industry could cease to exist with some businesses on their last legs and others going into business rescue. News that Group Five had filed for bankruptcy protection, a proxy for the current state of the sector, captured the attention of the local market on Tuesday. The group’s shares were suspended from the JSE, after 45 years of trading on the local exchange. Group Five is the fifth local builder to enter business rescue in less than a year.
Days could be numbered for Vantage Goldfields
After three years in business rescue, Vantage Goldfields is headed for the knackers yard unless a buyer emerges in the next few days. This means that roughly 1 000 miners, who have been without pay for three years, will soon know with certainty whether their jobs are gone or not. The assets have deteriorated with the passage of time, and in the (likely) event of liquidation, will probably be sold off piecemeal for a fraction of their worth had the mines continued.