Company news in brief

09 September 2019 | Sakenuus
Fired Old Mutual boss return to work

Sacked Old Mutual chief executive Peter Moyo intends to return to his desk today, his lawyer said on Friday after a Johannesburg court dismissed the South African insurer's attempt to block his temporary reinstatement.

Moyo, who was fired in June in a dispute over a conflict of interest, was temporarily reinstated by the court in July but Old Mutual said he could not return to work while it appealed.

South Africa's second largest insurer had hoped to block Moyo's reinstatement, arguing that his temporary reinstatement would in effect be permanent as a court case against his dismissal would take so long.

Moyo has applied to have Old Mutual's board declared delinquent in an increasingly messy public battle that has frustrated investors and knocked around 15% off the 173-year-old insurer's share price.

The board has repeatedly said a breakdown in relations and trust with Moyo is such that it is untenable for him to continue as CEO, and fired him for a second time in August. – Nampa/Reuters

Sasol's results delayed again

South African petrochemicals company Sasol's 2019 finical results will be delayed further after additional work was commissioned under a review at its US ethane cracker project, it said on Friiday, sending its share price lower.

Sasol has delayed release of its 2019 financial results to a date some time before the end of next month, spokesman Alex Anderson said.

The world's biggest maker of coal-derived motor fuel had previously postponed release of its results to Sept. 19 from Aug. 19, citing possible "control weaknesses" at its Lake Charles Chemicals Project (LCCP).

The project in Louisiana, which will convert natural gas into plastics ingredient ethylene, was initially expected to cost US$8.9 billion but that 2014 forecast has since been revised to as much as US$12.9 billion.

Sasol said it would make a further announcement on its results as soon as a date has been determined. – Nampa/Reuters

Denel to exit some businesses within months

South Africa's struggling state-owned defence company Denel aims to begin disposing of equity stakes and exiting loss-making businesses within months as part of its turnaround strategy, it told a parliamentary committee.

Denel, which makes ammunition, missiles and armoured vehicles for South Africa and customers elsewhere in Africa, the Gulf and Europe, received a R1.8 billion cash injection from the government at the end of last month after struggling to pay salaries and suppliers.

Denel has not yet released financial results for the 2018/19 fiscal year, but was projected to be insolvent, according to a presentation to parliament's portfolio committee on public enterprises on Wednesday.

It expects to raise R160 million in the third quarter of the 2019/20 financial year via the disposal of equity in Hensoldt Optronics, a producer of high-tech optics such as sensors and radars, in which it owns a 30% stake.

In a statement on Thursday, Denel said it foresaw some R30 billion in deals over the next two years, including the largest export contract in the company's history.

Denel has not publicly named the customer. But the presentation to parliament says the contract, which includes a R1.5 billion advance, focused on Egypt's navy and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems vessels. – Nampa/Reuters

Alibaba buys NetEase's e-commerce unit

Alibaba Group has bought the e-commerce platform of NetEase for about US$2 billion and will participate in a US$700 million investment in NetEase's music streaming service, the two Chinese firms said on Friday.

The move will see e-commerce titan Alibaba take control of Kaola, one of China's top online shopping platforms for foreign brands.

The two US-listed internet giants said Kaola would continue to operate independently under its current brand but Alvin Liu, an executive with Alibaba's Tmall platform, would take over as chief executive.

Alibaba and NetEase also have reached an agreement under which Alibaba - along with co-founder Jack Ma's private equity firm Yunfeng Capital - would invest approximately US$700 million in NetEase Cloud Music in its latest round of financing.

The deal is expected to boost Alibaba in its battle against Chinese rivals such as JD.com and Pinduoduo to remain the country's top brand for e-shopping. – Nampa/AFP

Boeing suspends testing of 777X aircraft

Boeing Co on Saturday announced it had suspended testing of its new widebody 777X aircraft as media reports said a cargo door failed in a ground stress test.

"During final load testing on the 777X static test airplane, the team encountered an issue that required suspension of the test," a Boeing spokesman said in a statement.

The company earlier reported a delay on its 777X widebody programme as General Electric Co engine problems pushed the first flight into 2020.

Chicago-based Boeing has also been unable to deliver any of its 737 MAX aircraft since the single-aisle plane was grounded worldwide in March after two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people. – Nampa/Reuters

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