5 things you need to know in SA business today and 45 unreal photos of 'billionaire bunkers' that could shelter the superrich during an apocalypse
1. Yesterday, trading in South Africa's biggest sugar producer Tongaat Hulett was suspended on the JSE and in London. Tongaat requested to stop trading in its shares because of accounting irregularities. It says it wants to protect investors against speculative trading - given that there isn’t enough reliable financial information about what the company is worth.
PwC is currently conducting a forensic investigation to find out what went wrong in the company's books. The listing will remain suspended until October, when the company’s revised results will be released.
2. Government has been sued for failing to tackle air pollution in the Highveld area, caused by Eskom power plants and two Sasol plants. According to Business Day, the lawsuit could add R300 billion to Eskom’s spending plans.
3. MultiChoice, owner of DStv, wil post a headline loss for the year to end-March. This is due to currency losses, and a deal that saw a 5% stake in the company sold off.
4. Moody's – the only ratings agency that still reckons we are investment grade – has warned about the impact of the shrinking economy, following the shocking GDP numbers.
"The quarterly decline, the largest in 10 years, is credit negative for the government of South Africa's revenue and policy options and South African banks' asset quality and profitability. The first-quarter contraction presages low growth in the year as a whole, and consequently, we lowered our forecast of real GDP growth for 2019 to 1.0% from 1.3% previously," said Lucie Villa, Moody’s lead sovereign analyst for South Africa in a note.
"We assume economic activity recovers over the rest of the year as policy uncertainty dissipates following May's general elections. The government’s policy objective to boost economic activity while consolidating its fiscal position will prove even more difficult in this environment."
Moody’s is due to announce a credit rating decision in November – but could make a move earlier.
5. After hitting its best levels in 14 months last week, the gold price slipped slightly yesterday. Demand for the precious metal climbed amid expectations that US interest rates may be cut soon. The gold price is currently trading at $1,329/oz - from below $1,280 at the start of the year.
45 unreal photos of 'billionaire bunkers' that could shelter the superrich during an apocalypse
Reported by Aria Bendix
A lot has changed since December 21, 2012, when around 10% of people falsely believed the world would end.
The effects of climate change have become more frequent and severe, threatening vulnerable areas with floods, hurricanes, and extreme heat. Machines have become more intelligent, leading some to worry about a technological overthrow of society. And the possibility of global nuclear warfare looms even larger, with North Korea continuing to advance its nuclear weapons program.
Predicting one of these unlikely doomsday scenarios may be impossible, but planning for them isn't if you're a member of the 1%. Take a look at the "billionaire bunkers" that could house the superrich during an apocalypse.
Amid growing threats to the safety of our planet, a small group of elites have started to discuss their doomsday plans over dinner.
"Billionaire bunkers" don't need to be built from scratch.
A few companies now manufacture luxury doomsday shelters that cater to superrich clientele.
The Vivos Group, a company based in Del Mar, California, is building a "global underground shelter network" for high-end clients.
Their fanciest compound, known as Europa One, is located beneath a mountain in the village of Rothenstein, Germany.
The shelter was once a storage space for Soviet military equipment during the Cold War, according to the company's website.
In exchange for purchasing a bunker, residents are provided with a full-time staff and security team.
The property is designed to withstand a close-range nuclear blast, airline crash, earthquake, flood, or military attack.
A typical living quarters has two floors. On the lower level (shown below), there are multiple bedrooms, a pool table, and a movie theater.
Each family is allotted 760 square metre, but has the option to extend their residence to 1,600 square metre.
This sample movie theater can fit a family of five.
The bunker includes communal spaces, such as a pub for tossing back a few while the world comes to an end.
Or a chapel for sending prayers to the rest of humanity.
When doomsday arrives, the company envisions residents arriving in Germany by car or plane. From there, Vivos will transport them via helicopter to their sheltered homes.
The full underground structure stretches nearly 70,000 square metres.
There are only 34 private living quarters, so space is limited.
But the price will likely preclude most people from buying. Private apartments start at $2.5 million and fully furnished, semi-private suites start at around $40,000 a person.
If billionaires can't find space at Europa One, there's also xPoint, a compound in South Dakota that's almost the size of Manhattan.
xPoint was originally built by Army engineers.
The compound's location near the Black Hills of South Dakota makes it relatively safe from flooding and nuclear targets, according to Vivos.
xPoint comes with its own electrical and water systems, so residents can survive for at least a year without having to go outside.
The entire compound consists of 575 bunkers, each with enough space for 10 to 24 people.
Each bunker is around 670 square metres.
The bunkers start at $35,000, but residents will also have to pay $1,000 in annual rent. That'll likely require some savings when it's unsafe to go outdoors.
The company has yet another shelter in Indiana, which can house just 80 people.
The Vivos website likens the shelter to "a very comfortable 4-Star hotel".
The communal living room has 4m-high ceilings.
Residents aren't expected to bring anything other than clothing and medication.
Vivos provides the rest, including laundry facilities, food, toiletries, and linens.
There's even exercise equipment and pet kennels.
The shelter is co-owned by its members, which makes it slightly more affordable than the company's other models.
Vivos claims on its website that the shelter is safe from tsunamis, earthquakes, and nuclear attacks.
In a statement, the company said interest in its shelters has "skyrocketed over the past few years." The website says that "few" spaces remain across its network of bunkers.
Vivos members aren't all elite one-percenters, the company said, "but rather well-educated, average people with a keen awareness of the current global events."
The Survival Condo Project, on the other hand, caters exclusively to the superrich.
The company's 15-story facility, fashioned from a retired missile silo, cost $20 million to build.
In an interview with the New Yorker, the company's CEO, Larry Hall, said his facility represented "true relaxation for the ultra-wealthy."
Source: The New Yorker
The facility only has room for about a dozen families, or 75 people in total.
The facility is somewhere north of Wichita, Kansas, but its exact location is secret.
A single unit is relatively small — around 550 square metre.
As of last year, units were advertised for $3 million each. The company also sells half-floor units for around $1.5 million.
All floors are connected by a high-speed elevator.
Homeowners can venture outside, but there are SWAT team-style trucks available to pick them up within 400 miles.
Under a crisis scenario, residents have to secure permission from the company's board of directors before leaving the premises.
But conditions inside are far from unbearable. The facility comes with a gym, game center, dog park, classroom, and 75-foot swimming pool.
There's even a rock wall. Doomsday has never sounded so luxurious.
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