1. Another South African construction company has just gone bust. Group Five followed Basil Read in filing for bankruptcy protection.
Group Five's lenders refused to give the company any more financing. The company has a massive debt burden after a failed project in Ghana, and hasn't secure many orders in a weak local economy.
Edcon had to be bailed out by the PIC, Aspen's debt is now bigger than its market cap and Group Five has just filed for bankruptcy protection and had its shares suspended from the JSE. Tough times for South African corporates.— Sowellnomics (@Sowellnomics) March 12, 2019
2. Deputy president David Mabuza lashed out at finance minister Tito Mboweni in parliament yesterday, following a question about Eskom's privatisation.
"Whatever the minister of finance said related to privatisation ... is the opinion of the minister. There is no government position on the privatisation of Eskom. When you are in the state you cease to be an individual. You don’t just stand up and say whatever you want to say," said Mabuza.
During a briefing before his first national budget speech in February, Mboweni said he saw no point in government holding onto and supporting ailing entities when they could instead be released or closed down altogether.
3. The UK government is facing renewed turmoil after prime minister Theresa May lost another key vote on her Brexit deal. Next: MPs will have to vote between no-deal Brexit and delaying departure from EU.
The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned against the "dangerous illusion" that the UK could benefit from a no-deal transition period.
4. President Cyril Ramaphosa returned from a visit to Zimbabwe without pledging a bailout for that country. However, he did endorse President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and asked for an end to Western sanctions against Zimbabwean officials.
5. Here's something we haven't seen a lot of recently: The market liking a set of results.
FirstRand posted a 7% increase in profits for the six months to December. While RMB and Wesbank lagged, FNB performed well.
Firstrand reasonable results in line with expectations— Wayne McCurrie (@WayneMcCurrie) March 12, 2019
Its share price rose by 2% yesterday.
Carrie Miller, '100 Dives of a Lifetime'
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