Naspers shutters SA tech investment vehicle Foundry

Naspers has shut down its SA-focused tech investment vehicle Foundry, with these investments set to be managed by its corporate team, while local startup opportunities will be considered, but along with their global counterparts.

Business Day reported the shutdown on Monday, a move which removes a dedicated team focused on SA.

A Naspers spokesperson confirmed this to News24, who said Naspers remains "fully committed to South Africa and will continue to evaluate new investments in line with the same approach taken in other markets".

Foundry was set up in 2019 as a vehicle to invest R1.4 billion in early-stage technology businesses. It has since invested R740 million, and has 10 active investments, including online home services platform Sweepsouth, rent-to-buy car firm Planet42 and insurtech outfit Naked.

"While we made headway in deploying the capital, the start-up space remains very nascent given the historic lack of investment in the tech ecosystem," Naspers said.

"This, combined with the fact that the global environment, as well as the local SA one, is not what it was in the years where we were in an aggressive growth mode, has meant that we have needed to review the Naspers Foundry investment strategy and to bring it in line with the rest of the world."-Fin24

Shaft incident to hit Sibanye US production

An incident at Sibanye-Stillwater's US Platinum Group Metal operations is expected to shave up to 30 000 ounces off annual production, the group announced on Monday.

In an update to the market on Monday afternoon, Sibanye said an incident occurred at its Stillwater West mine in Montana during scheduled non-routine maintenance on the winder which services the vertical shaft accessing the deeper levels of the Stillwater West mine.

"This incident resulted in structural damage to the shaft headgear, winder house and winder rope," the company said, adding there were no injuries to personnel and investigations into the causes of the incident are under way.

"The damage to the shaft infrastructure will require remediation, and access to the deeper levels of the mine will be impacted while remediation is under way," Sibanye said.

Access to the upper levels of the Stillwater West mine and the Stillwater East mine was unaffected and production from these areas, as well as from the East Boulder mine, will continue.-Fin24

Foschini owner TFG's shares fall sharply

Foschini owner TFG has estimated load shedding cost its local business R1 billion in lost sales for the 11 months to end-February, sparking a share sell-off analysts say may stem in part from foreigners becoming more wary about SA-focused stocks.

In an update on Monday, TFG said load shedding reduced the turnover for TFG Africa, which houses its South African business, and it had to fork out R250m in a two-month period alone.

"The resultant higher levels of inventory have also necessitated increased levels of stock provisioning, which will contribute to the deterioration of gross margin in TFG Africa compared to the previous financial year."

It said that additional unbudgeted direct costs of about R65 million had also been incurred in respect of diesel, security and maintenance. Capital expenditure of about R220 million had also been spent to date on back-up power solutions and an additional R30 million would be spent in financial year 2023 to ensure that about 80% of TFG Africa's stores had back-up power over the next few months.

"Backup power solutions are most effective only up to and including Stage 4 load shedding but are less effective at Stages 5 and 6. Other consequences have included disruptions to operations. At this stage there has only been a minimal impact on TFG's supply chain."-Fin24

AfroCentric reports profit fall

Health group AfroCentric's has reported muted growth for its half-year to end-December, weighed down by issues including marginal membership growth, a slowdown in pharmaceutical sales, and a reduction in sales of preventative medicine.

AfroCentric, which provides healthcare products and services to the public and private sectors, reported a 16.9% fall in profit to R194.2 million to end December, with revenue edging up 1.2%, but the company opting to hold on to its dividend.

The company said there had been a general slowdown of the pharmaceutical products, lower adherence by patients to chronic medicine, as well as uncertain consumer spending patterns regarding preventative medicine.

But the company said in its view its core business remained sound, with good diversification in the private and public medical scheme membership.

The company said on Monday it was pleased with the performance of the Sanlam gap cover business it acquired in 2022. Group profitability has, however, was hit by the business acquisition costs incurred in the Sanlam transaction and the costs associated with prolonged load shedding.-Fin24


Republikein 2023-03-22

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