COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

STAFF REPORTER
Boeing to plead guilty to fraud in US probe of fatal 737 MAX crashes

Boeing has agreed to plead guilty to a criminal fraud conspiracy charge and pay a fine of $243.6 million to resolve a U.S. Justice Department investigation into two 737 MAX fatal crashes, the government said in a court filing on Sunday.

The plea deal, which requires a judge's approval, would brand the planemaker a convicted felon in connection with crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia over a five-month period in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people.

The settlement drew swift criticism from victims' families who wanted Boeing to face a trial and suffer harsher financial consequences.

The Justice Department's (DOJ) push to charge Boeing has deepened an ongoing crisis engulfing Boeing since a separate January in-flight blowout exposed continuing safety and quality issues at the planemaker.

A guilty plea potentially threatens the company's ability to secure lucrative government contracts with the likes of the U.S. Defense Department and NASA, although it could seek waivers.

Boeing became exposed to criminal prosecution after the Justice Department in May found the company violated a 2021 settlement involving the fatal crashes.

Still, the plea spares Boeing a contentious trial that could have exposed the company's decisions ahead of the fatal crashes to even greater public scrutiny. It would also make it easier for the planemaker, which will have a new CEO later this year, to try to move forward as it seeks approval for its planned acquisition of Spirit AeroSystems.

A Boeing spokesperson confirmed it had "reached an agreement in principle on terms of a resolution with the Justice Department."

As part of the deal, the planemaker agreed to spend at least $455 million over the next three years to boost safety and compliance programs. Boeing's board will have to meet with relatives of those killed in the MAX crashes, the filing said.

The deal also imposes an independent monitor, who will have to publicly file annual progress reports, to oversee the firm's compliance. Boeing will be on probation during the monitor's three-year term.

-REUTERS-

SAA hopes for expansion out of Johannesburg

South African Airways plans to increase its destinations from its hub in Johannesburg by two-thirds by the end of April as it rebuilds its business to focus on regional and international routes after a deal with an investor collapsed. The company is aiming to add nine destinations to its existing 14 and also plans to boost the number of aircraft from 14 to 21 by March, interim Chief Executive Officer John Lamola said, adding that the South African flag carrier has the cash to fund its expansion. "We are cash positive as a company, and we are able to survive in the next 12 to 18 months on our own," Lamola said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Johannesburg. "Our strategic position is to differentiate ourselves as a national flag-carrier to be able to offer the country the connectivity with key investment and trading partners." The airline, founded in 1934, has had to rely on taxpayers for years until its bankruptcy following the Covid-19 pandemic. A plan by the government to sell a 51% stake in the carrier was abandoned in March, forcing the company to scale back its expansion plans. While South African Airways won't seek bailouts, it would ask for sovereign guarantees to expand over the next three years, Lamola said. He said the company could not comment on the nine new destinations, as it was commercially sensitive.

-Bloomberg-

TSMC nears US$1-trillion valuation as brokers boost targets

TSMC rose to a record intraday high in Taipei on Monday after Morgan Stanley joined a list of brokers boosting price targets on the chip maker before its earnings.

TSMC’s shares jumped as much as 4.5% in Taipei, extending its rally this year to more than 75%. Morgan Stanley raised its target on the stock by about 9%, expecting the chip maker to raise its full-year sales estimate in the earnings announcement next week. The broker also sees TSMC hiking wafer prices due to its strong bargaining power. “TSMC’s ‘hunger marketing’ strategy seems to be working,” Morgan Stanley analysts including Charlie Chan wrote in a note on Sunday. “Our latest supply-chain checks indicate that TSMC is delivering a message that leading-edge foundry supply could be tight in 2025 and customers may not get sufficient capacity allocation without appreciating TSMC’s value.”

JPMorgan analysts including Gokul Hariharan also anticipate the company will raise its revenue guidance in the earnings call. “We expect TSMC to sound more constructive on AI accelerator demand,” he wrote in a note on Sunday. Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan joined brokers including Nomura Holdings and Mizuho Securities in expressing optimism over TSMC leading into its second-quarter results. The maker of the world’s most advanced chips — used by the likes of Apple and Nvdia — is expected to report 36% revenue growth from a year earlier, the fastest pace since the last quarter of 2022.

The earnings optimism pushed the company’s Taipei shares past NT$1 000 last week. Its market value based on the American depositary receipts recently briefly surpassed Berkshire Hathaway to become the eighth-largest company globally, and it now has a market cap of over US$950-billion.

-BLOOMBERG-

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Currie Cup: NovaVit Griffons 15 vs 64 DHL Western Province | Hollywoodbets Sharks XV 21 vs 31 Airlink Pumas | Vodacom Bulls 25 vs 13 Toyota Cheetahs XV | Fidelity ADT Lions 25 vs 13 Suzuki Griquas Rugby World Cup U20: England U20 21 vs 13 France U20 | Australia U20 6 vs 14 Argentina U20 | Ireland U20 24 vs 38 New Zealand U20 | Italy U20 13 vs 24 Georgia U20 | Wales U20 31 vs 47 South Africa U20 | Spain U20 24 vs 19 Fiji U20 Katima Mulilo: 13° | 33° Rundu: 13° | 34° Eenhana: 13° | 34° Oshakati: 14° | 32° Ruacana: 14° | 33° Tsumeb: 17° | 30° Otjiwarongo: 11° | 29° Omaruru: 12° | 30° Windhoek: 8° | 25° Gobabis: 8° | 30° Henties Bay: 11° | 17° Wind speed: 16km/h, Wind direction: S, Low tide: 10:00, High tide: 04:01, Low Tide: 22:27, High tide: 16:30 Swakopmund: 12° | 15° Wind speed: 15km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 09:58, High tide: 03:59, Low Tide: 22:25, High tide: 16:28 Walvis Bay: 10° | 20° Wind speed: 17km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 09:58, High tide: 03:58, Low Tide: 22:25, High tide: 16:27 Rehoboth: 9° | 27° Mariental: 10° | 27° Keetmanshoop: 9° | 24° Aranos: 9° | 28° Lüderitz: 11° | 19° Ariamsvlei: 10° | 25° Oranjemund: 9° | 18° Luanda: 20° | 22° Gaborone: 11° | 27° Lubumbashi: 13° | 31° Mbabane: 12° | 23° Maseru: 3° | 19° Antananarivo: 12° | 25° Lilongwe: 16° | 30° Maputo: 17° | 24° Windhoek: 8° | 25° Cape Town: 9° | 15° Durban: 13° | 21° Johannesburg: 12° | 22° Dar es Salaam: 21° | 31° Lusaka: 16° | 30° Harare: 14° | 27° Currency: GBP to NAD 23.54 | EUR to NAD 19.86 | CNY to NAD 2.51 | USD to NAD 18.25 | DZD to NAD 0.13 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.3 | EGP to NAD 0.37 | KES to NAD 0.14 | NGN to NAD 0.01 | ZMW to NAD 0.69 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.28 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.22 | USD to DZD 134.07 | USD to AOA 872.64 | USD to BWP 13.58 | USD to EGP 48.36 | USD to KES 130.98 | USD to NGN 1584.2 | USD to ZAR 18.25 | USD to ZMW 25.9 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index Same 0 | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1757.83 Down -0.25% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13623.01 Up +0.20% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 28783.24 Up +0.45% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI 9380.4 Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 393.80/OZ DOWN -0.0074 | Copper US$ 4.20/lb DOWN -0.0125 | Zinc US$ 2 748.80/T UP 0.08% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 82.66/BBP DOWN -0.0082 | Platinum US$ 945.16/OZ DOWN -0.0256 Sport results: Currie Cup: NovaVit Griffons 15 vs 64 DHL Western Province | Hollywoodbets Sharks XV 21 vs 31 Airlink Pumas | Vodacom Bulls 25 vs 13 Toyota Cheetahs XV | Fidelity ADT Lions 25 vs 13 Suzuki Griquas Rugby World Cup U20: England U20 21 vs 13 France U20 | Australia U20 6 vs 14 Argentina U20 | Ireland U20 24 vs 38 New Zealand U20 | Italy U20 13 vs 24 Georgia U20 | Wales U20 31 vs 47 South Africa U20 | Spain U20 24 vs 19 Fiji U20 Weather: Katima Mulilo: 13° | 33° Rundu: 13° | 34° Eenhana: 13° | 34° Oshakati: 14° | 32° Ruacana: 14° | 33° Tsumeb: 17° | 30° Otjiwarongo: 11° | 29° Omaruru: 12° | 30° Windhoek: 8° | 25° Gobabis: 8° | 30° Henties Bay: 11° | 17° Wind speed: 16km/h, Wind direction: S, Low tide: 10:00, High tide: 04:01, Low Tide: 22:27, High tide: 16:30 Swakopmund: 12° | 15° Wind speed: 15km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 09:58, High tide: 03:59, Low Tide: 22:25, High tide: 16:28 Walvis Bay: 10° | 20° Wind speed: 17km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 09:58, High tide: 03:58, Low Tide: 22:25, High tide: 16:27 Rehoboth: 9° | 27° Mariental: 10° | 27° Keetmanshoop: 9° | 24° Aranos: 9° | 28° Lüderitz: 11° | 19° Ariamsvlei: 10° | 25° Oranjemund: 9° | 18° Luanda: 20° | 22° Gaborone: 11° | 27° Lubumbashi: 13° | 31° Mbabane: 12° | 23° Maseru: 3° | 19° Antananarivo: 12° | 25° Lilongwe: 16° | 30° Maputo: 17° | 24° Windhoek: 8° | 25° Cape Town: 9° | 15° Durban: 13° | 21° Johannesburg: 12° | 22° Dar es Salaam: 21° | 31° Lusaka: 16° | 30° Harare: 14° | 27° Economic Indicators: Currency: GBP to NAD 23.54 | EUR to NAD 19.86 | CNY to NAD 2.51 | USD to NAD 18.25 | DZD to NAD 0.13 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.3 | EGP to NAD 0.37 | KES to NAD 0.14 | NGN to NAD 0.01 | ZMW to NAD 0.69 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.28 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.22 | USD to DZD 134.07 | USD to AOA 872.64 | USD to BWP 13.58 | USD to EGP 48.36 | USD to KES 130.98 | USD to NGN 1584.2 | USD to ZAR 18.25 | USD to ZMW 25.9 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index Same 0 | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1757.83 Down -0.25% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13623.01 Up +0.20% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 28783.24 Up +0.45% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI 9380.4 Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 393.80/OZ DOWN -0.0074 | Copper US$ 4.20/lb DOWN -0.0125 | Zinc US$ 2 748.80/T UP 0.08% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 82.66/BBP DOWN -0.0082 | Platinum US$ 945.16/OZ DOWN -0.0256