NATIONAL NEWS - Here’s what caught our attention on Thursday:
NHI Bill to be introduced to parliament
South Africa’s National Health Insurance Bill, which has so far been signed off and approved by cabinet, will be introduced to parliament on Thursday. The aim of the bill is to provide a universal quality healthcare system to all South Africans, regardless of their standing in life. The NHI Bill will be debated in the National Assembly as well as the National Council of Provinces, according to a statement released by the Department of Health.
During the six months ended June 30, 2019, MTN Group says it managed to add 7.7 million subscribers to its telecommunications services, increasing its total subscribers to 240 million across its 21 operations. The company says service revenue increased by 9.7%, and the group’s headline earnings per share amounted to 195 cents per share, up 8.8%.
CEO Rob Shuter says its South African operations were affected by the weak economy and the implementation of the lower out-of-bundle pricing as well as the new Icasa subscriber regulations. Locally, MTN’s service revenue increased by 3.3%. The company is declaring an interim dividend of 195 cents per share.
Standard Bank results
Standard Bank is reporting a 6% increase in headline earnings to R13.4 billion for the six months ended June 30, 2019, while return on equity inched lower to 16.2% from 16.8% in 2018. Headline earnings per ordinary share increased by 5% to 837.4 cents and basic earnings per ordinary share increased by 4% to 827 cents. The bank says its African region contributions to banking headline earnings rose to 34% from 32% in 2018, with the main contributors being Angola, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria and Uganda. An interim dividend of 454 cents per share is being declared for the period, up 6%.
Mining and manufacturing output
South Africa’s mining and manufacturing output for June is due on Thursday. In May, mining production shrank 1.5% year-on-year, the seventh consecutive month of decline, after a downwardly revised 1.2% fall in April. Output slowed significantly for gold, diamonds, iron ore and other metallic materials but climbed for coal, PGM and manganese ore.
Manufacturing production slowed to 1% year-on-year in May from a downwardly revised 4.3% in April. Positive contributions came from the food and beverages division, while output for wood and wood products, paper, publishing and printing division slowed, data from Trading Economics shows.
Update to follow.
Ford initiates settlement agreement over Kuga fires
By January 2017 at least 39 Ford Kugas had caught alight due to an engine overheating problem, which forced Ford to launch a safety recall of the involved models. Now the Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa is initiating settlement negotiations with the National Consumer Commission (NCC) after it alleged that Ford contravened the Consumer Protection Act relating to the Ford Kuga 1.6 Ecoboost. Negotiations with the NCC are due to be finalised in October.