COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

Pick n Pay CEO vows to win back love

The newly appointed CEO of Pick n Pay warned that while a turnaround of the embattled group could take years, he is confident that a laser-like focus on individual stores and relationships will help restore the passion and energy that is essential for successful retailers.

Sean Summers, who returned as CEO at the end of September after a 16-year hiatus, was on Wednesday tasked with unpacking the details of the more than 50-year-old group's first-ever loss. He conceded that many of the group's stores had become unattractive to shoppers, while it has also been missing the mark in terms of its relationship with suppliers.

Pick n Pay, now valued at about R13 billion on the JSE, has seen its share price more than halve in 2023, and it crashed more than 12% on Wednesday. It reported that group turnover rose just over 5%, versus selling price inflation of just over 8%, while its core Pick n Pay business barely saw any growth.

Battered by load shedding, promotional activity of competitors, and issues with its supply chain, it swung into a R571 million loss from just over R453 million previously.

Summers said that despite being on the back foot in a number of areas, Pick n Pay had bright spots as well, including stellar performances from its discount chain Boxer, as well as Pick n Pay Clothing. Retail was a cyclical business, he said, and Pick n Pay has been through downturns before. Summers, who spent more than three decades with the group before leaving in 2007, told News24 he hasn't underestimated the extent of the effort required for a turnaround.-Fin24

Vodacom hit with fine over cancellation penalties

The National Consumer Tribunal (NCT), which adjudicates disputes between consumers and credit providers, has imposed a R1 million fine against Vodacom after finding its conduct was "unconscionable" when it, among other things, imposed hefty cancellation penalties for fixed-term contracts.

The National Consumer Commission, whose mandate is compliance with the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), said on Wednesday it had received numerous complaints for two years until March 2022, with consumers alleging that Vodacom denied them the right to cancel their fixed-term contracts by imposing a cancellation penalty of 75%.

Moreover, Vodacom required payment of all outstanding fees and the cancellation penalty before contracts were terminated, it said in a statement.

The commission said its investigation revealed that Vodacom had engaged in prohibited conduct by contravening a section of the CPA that allows for cancellation penalties to be imposed, but only if this didn't have the effect of negating the consumer's right to cancel.

Vodacom's cancellation penalty constituted a contravention, it said, as did the mobile operator's failure to cancel contracts timeously. Instead of cancelling contracts within 20 days of notice, it instead sent quotation letters with the cancellation penalty.-Fin24

Standard Bank, Stanlib to launch R19bn fund

Standard Bank and its asset management subsidiary Stanlib are set to launch a renewable energy fund that aims to raise as much as US$1 billion (almost R19 billion) over three to five years for investment in wind, solar and green hydrogen projects in SA and rest of the continent.

Kenny Fihla, the CEO of Standard Bank’s corporate and investment banking (CIB) unit, says Standard Bank will inject an initial R2 billion to seed the fund while Stanlib will allocate an additional R1 billion.

The aim is to crowd in additional funding from institutional investors and potentially development finance institutions with the ultimate ambition to grow the fund’s total assets.

The fund is set to go public before the end of 2024, with Fihla saying Standard Bank and Stanlib, which will manage the fund, are currently targeting an official launch in mid-November.

Fihla said he expects the bulk of the projects it funds to initially be in SA with other renewables projects in the rest of Africa likely to receive investment over time.

"I suspect that [the fund] is going to be predominantly [SA focused] given that South Africa is at the forefront of execution [on the continent] in the renewable energy space - but as and when there are good opportunities elsewhere, the fund will look at that," Fihla told News24 at the Standard Bank 2023 Climate Summit in Johannesburg on Wednesday.-Fin24



Karpowership leaves another African capital

Guinea-Bissau's capital was plunged into darkness on Tuesday after Turkish company Karpowership cut off electricity supplies to the West African nation due to an unpaid debt of $17 million, the economy minister said.

Minister Suleimane Seidi said arrangements were under way to pay $15 million of arrears owed by the Electricity and Water Company of Guinea-Bissau and promised the issue would be resolved within 15 days.



Karpowership, one of the world's largest operators of floating power plants and part of the Karadeniz Energy Group, has been supplying 100% of Guinea-Bissau's electricity needs since signing a deal in 2019, according to its website.

"Karpower has agreed to renegotiate with the government to ensure that the backlog does not become a problem," Seidi said at a press conference.

In a statement on the situation in Guinea-Bissau, a Karpowership spokesperson said: "Unfortunately, following a protracted period of nonpayment, our (floating power plant) is now unable to continue operating."

"We are working around the clock with officials to resolve this issue, and we aim to have generation back online as soon as possible," the statement said.-Fin24

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Katima Mulilo: 9° | 27° Rundu: 10° | 26° Eenhana: 13° | 28° Oshakati: 13° | 27° Ruacana: 12° | 28° Tsumeb: 12° | 24° Otjiwarongo: 9° | 22° Omaruru: 11° | 25° Windhoek: 8° | 20° Gobabis: 8° | 21° Henties Bay: 17° | 31° Wind speed: 37km/h, Wind direction: E, Low tide: 10:52, High tide: 04:51, Low Tide: 23:20, High tide: 17:25 Swakopmund: 18° | 26° Wind speed: 33km/h, Wind direction: SE, Low tide: 10:50, High tide: 04:49, Low Tide: 23:18, High tide: 17:23 Walvis Bay: 19° | 32° Wind speed: 33km/h, Wind direction: SE, Low tide: 10:50, High tide: 04:48, Low Tide: 23:18, High tide: 17:22 Rehoboth: 7° | 21° Mariental: 10° | 23° Keetmanshoop: 12° | 23° Aranos: 9° | 22° Lüderitz: 15° | 31° Ariamsvlei: 12° | 24° Oranjemund: 12° | 19° Luanda: 21° | 23° Gaborone: 10° | 22° Lubumbashi: 9° | 25° Mbabane: 10° | 21° Maseru: 6° | 17° Antananarivo: 11° | 19° Lilongwe: 12° | 25° Maputo: 17° | 26° Windhoek: 8° | 20° Cape Town: 12° | 17° Durban: 14° | 23° Johannesburg: 10° | 18° Dar es Salaam: 21° | 28° Lusaka: 11° | 23° Harare: 10° | 22° Currency: GBP to NAD 22.98 | EUR to NAD 19.46 | CNY to NAD 2.5 | USD to NAD 18.16 | 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 0.7 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.35 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.22 | USD to DZD 133.92 | USD to AOA 853.63 | USD to BWP 13.53 | USD to EGP 48.27 | USD to KES 127.98 | USD to NGN 1479.51 | USD to ZAR 18.16 | USD to ZMW 25.45 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index Same 0 | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1783.38 Down -0.16% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13140.91 Up +0.02% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 27062.37 Up +2.44% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI 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$ 2 328.12/OZ UP +0.38% | Copper US$ 4.42/lb UP +0.22% | Zinc US$ 2 856.40/T DOWN -0.34% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 85.92/BBP UP +1.41% | Platinum US$ 995.37/OZ UP +0.99% Sport results: Weather: Katima Mulilo: 9° | 27° Rundu: 10° | 26° Eenhana: 13° | 28° Oshakati: 13° | 27° Ruacana: 12° | 28° Tsumeb: 12° | 24° Otjiwarongo: 9° | 22° Omaruru: 11° | 25° Windhoek: 8° | 20° Gobabis: 8° | 21° Henties Bay: 17° | 31° Wind speed: 37km/h, Wind direction: E, Low tide: 10:52, High tide: 04:51, Low Tide: 23:20, High tide: 17:25 Swakopmund: 18° | 26° Wind speed: 33km/h, Wind direction: SE, Low tide: 10:50, High tide: 04:49, Low Tide: 23:18, High tide: 17:23 Walvis Bay: 19° | 32° Wind speed: 33km/h, Wind direction: SE, Low tide: 10:50, High tide: 04:48, Low Tide: 23:18, High tide: 17:22 Rehoboth: 7° | 21° Mariental: 10° | 23° Keetmanshoop: 12° | 23° Aranos: 9° | 22° Lüderitz: 15° | 31° Ariamsvlei: 12° | 24° Oranjemund: 12° | 19° Luanda: 21° | 23° Gaborone: 10° | 22° Lubumbashi: 9° | 25° Mbabane: 10° | 21° Maseru: 6° | 17° Antananarivo: 11° | 19° Lilongwe: 12° | 25° Maputo: 17° | 26° Windhoek: 8° | 20° Cape Town: 12° | 17° Durban: 14° | 23° Johannesburg: 10° | 18° Dar es Salaam: 21° | 28° Lusaka: 11° | 23° Harare: 10° | 22° Economic Indicators: Currency: GBP to NAD 22.98 | EUR to NAD 19.46 | CNY to NAD 2.5 | USD to NAD 18.16 | 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 0.7 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.35 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.22 | USD to DZD 133.92 | USD to AOA 853.63 | USD to BWP 13.53 | USD to EGP 48.27 | USD to KES 127.98 | USD to NGN 1479.51 | USD to ZAR 18.16 | USD to ZMW 25.45 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index Same 0 | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1783.38 Down -0.16% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13140.91 Up +0.02% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 27062.37 Up +2.44% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI 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$ 2 328.12/OZ UP +0.38% | Copper US$ 4.42/lb UP +0.22% | Zinc US$ 2 856.40/T DOWN -0.34% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 85.92/BBP UP +1.41% | Platinum US$ 995.37/OZ UP +0.99%