AEEI shows significant revenue and profit growth

Published 11 May 2017, by a Reporter, Business Report

JSE-listed African Equity Empowerment Investments Limited (AEEI), a diversified investment and empowerment company

announced their interim results for the six months ended 28 February 2017 on Thursday, with revenue and profit growth from all its divisions which were garnered organically and from its acquisitions.

The group’s revenue increased by 47% from R305m to R449m.  This was mainly due to the significant revenue from its technology division through organic growth and its acquisition of two companies, and its fishing division’s organic growth despite the economic environment it operated in.Profit before tax for the period increased by 150% from R74m to R185m with improved positive returns from our Group’s diversified operations and investment portfolio.

Headline earnings per share increased by 111% from 14.02 cents to 29.53 cents, and earnings per share increased by 110% from 14.04 cents to 29.48 cents for the period under review.

AEEI’s strategic intent to grow its asset base was evident in the increase of the Group’s total asset base by 20% from R1 535m to R1 841m as a result of the success in its operational performance as well as its investments.

“The Group remains on a positive trajectory and I am delighted that we are able to continue improving our financial performance year on year, while driving sustainable returns for all stakeholders. We have been fortunate to meet, and in some instances, exceed, our targets for the half year results”, said Khalid Abdulla, Group Chief Executive Officer of AEEI.

Abdulla said it was pleasing to note that the Group Net Asset Value (NAV), which increased by 34% from R847m to R1 138m as a result operational performance of all AEEI’s underlying operations and investments.  NAV per share increased by 38% from 156.47 cents to 216.47 cents.

“Further, as a result of the solid financial performance from the underlying businesses, net cash generated from operating activities increased by 21% from R29m to R35m for the period under review. I am also extremely pleased to announce a maiden interim dividend of 2.00 cents per share. This adds to the 3.30 cents we paid for the August 2016 financial year-end,” he said.

The Food and Fishing division achieved a solid performance for the six months ended 28 February 2017. Increased sales volumes in the lobster and squid businesses have contributed significantly to the strong performance and growth.

Premier Food and Fishing’s Group Revenue increased by 7% to R170m to R182m compared to the prior period mainly as a result of increased sales volumes in the lobster and squid segments.

The operating profit for PFF increased by 13% from R22m to R25m mainly due to operational efficiencies across all segments.  Due to the seasonal nature of the fishing industry, the profits in this division have a stronger financial performance during the second half of the year. Based on its pre-listing information as previously released, this division is well positioned to achieve forecasted returns and sustainable growth.

The Information Communication Technology (ICT) division delivered strong organic growth, and through the acquisition of two IT companies, plus the incorporation of its investment in BT Communications Services (South Africa) under the IT division.

This growth also bolstered its product portfolio and supported increased revenues – 119% from R107m to R234m  – and an increase in operating profit of 17% from R169m to R197m. The economy of scale is in line with AEEI’s Vision 2020 Vision’s strategic preparation for the potential listing of the ICT division. This division is on track for its listing plan within the short to medium term.

The Health Care division focuses on the manufacturing, sales and marketing of an extensive range of natural products for the food, agriculture, hygiene and general health and beauty sectors.  The Health Care division achieved growth in revenue by increasing its footprint to new regions and promoting its product portfolio to other food and hygiene sectors.
Genius Biotherapeutics (Genius), Africa’s largest medical biotechnology company, continues with its research and development activities.

During this reporting period, Genius’ management team focused efforts on updating all regulatory requirements by employing the necessary human resources required to meet the stringent and necessary, Medicines Control Council compliance standards for production.

Within the Events and Tourism division, espAfrika hosted yet another successful staging of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, (it’s 18th edition), post the interim reporting period.

In 2016 espAfrika also launched a new and wholly owned annual event, called “The Royal Escape Experience” which took place at Sun City and which will be held again in July 2017 this year. The company’s performance for the six months is in line with expectations, as espAfrika delivers most of its performance and operational outputs during the second half of the financial year.

With less than 20 months in existence, radio station Magic 828, has increased its listenership by 43% in the Western Cape region to approximately 100 000 listeners.

Tripos Travel increased its market share since the previous period, with revenues increasing by 69% from R16m to R27m.

The Group’s strategic investments consist of Pioneer Food Group (Pioneer), Sygnia Limited (Sygnia) and Saab Grintek Defence Propriety Limited (SGD), as well as British Telecoms SA, now managed under AEEI’s Technology division.

Read the full article here.

Independent Media launches Ombud Office

Published 09 May 2017, by Carlo Petersen

Independent Media is “completely and utterly” opposed to a government-imposed, statutory media tribunal in South Africa, says its executive chairman, Dr Iqbal Survé.

“It is unnecessary and undemocratic and goes against our constitution,” he said yesterday, delivering the keynote address at the launch of the group’s Ombud Office at the Table Bay Hotel at the Waterfront.

He told staff and guests: “Our need for freedom is important and this must be cherished.”

The company’s withdrawal from the Press Council and the appointment of an internal Press Ombud should not be construed as support for a tribunal, said Survé. The group remained totally committed to self-regulation of the media and was vehemently opposed to any state regulation.

He said the media could regulate itself, provided it had the right calibre of people, such as those on Independent’s Press Ombud Office and Adjudication and Appeals panels.

Survé congratulated the company’s group ombudsman, Jovial Rantao, on putting together the office and panels.

The Appeals panels are to be chaired by retired Constitutional Court justice Zak Yacoob.

Western Cape executive editor Gasant Abarder, who chaired the launch, said the Ombud’s Office would use “tough love” to ensure Independent Media’s editors and journalists were kept on their toes.

This sentiment was echoed by Rantao, who said: “It doesn’t matter if you’re a celebrated editor or not, tough love is coming your way.” The adjudication panels are chaired by Rantao and in KZN: Brijilal Ramguthee and Michael Buthelezi; Gauteng, Professor

William Gumede, advocate Nthabiseng Mokoena; Western Cape, Ryland Fisher, Paul Esselaar.

The appeals panels are, in KZN: Dennis Pather, Fortunate Ngongo; Gauteng: Rich Mkhondo, Lloyd Mogotsi; Western Cape: Mansoor Jaffer and Ronald Bernickow.

The formal launch of the Office of the Ombud follows the adoption of Independent Media’s Press Code, after months of robust engagement and development.

Rantao said the publication of the code was an important moment in the history of Independent, one of the major pillars of the media in South Africa.

“This is the editorial bible for all our journalists and is our pledge to our readers and the general public to uphold the highest standards of journalism. We will hold editors and journalists in all our titles accountable on behalf of the public. We will act without fear or favour,” said Rantao, who is also chairperson of the African Editors Forum and the Southern African Editors Forum.

Independent Media said: “The Press Code was developed after engagement with the Press Council on various matters and, in particular, the reintroduction of the waiver clause, ended in an impasse.

Read the full article here:

AEEI’s earnings per share skyrocket

Published 09 May 2017, by Sandile Mchunu

African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI) released a trading update on Monday informing its shareholders that it expected basic earnings per share for the six months to end February 2017 to be between 28.08 cents and 30.88c a share.

This is up from the 14.04c reported in 2016.

This will represent an increase of between 100 percent and 120 percent.

The company also expects a better improvement in the headline earnings per share (Heps).

It said its Heps for the period was expected to fall in the range of between 28.13c a share and 30.93c a share as compared to the 14.02c reported in the last corresponding period.

The company will release the interim results on or about May 11.

Read the article here.

Independent Media launches Group Ombud

Published 9 May 2017 by Carlo Petersen, IOL
Independent Media launched its Group Ombudsman’s Office today, introducing a prestigious panel of former journalists and editors which will form part of the company’s new division.Group executive editor for the Western Cape, Gasant Abarder, introduced staffers and guests to the panel at the Table Bay Hotel at the V&A Waterfront.

Abarder said the ombudsman’s office would use “tough love” to ensure Independent Media’s editors and journalists are kept on their toes.

This sentiment was echoed by Group Ombudsman Jovial Rantao.

 “It doesn’t matter if you’re a celebrated editor or not, tough love is coming your way,” he said.

The Adjudication Panel includes chairperson Rantao, Moleboheng Mosia, Brijilal Ramguthee, Michael Buthelezi, Prof William Gumede, Advocate Nthabiseng Mokoena, Ryland Fisher, Paul Esselaar, Dennis Pather, Rich Mkhondo, Lloyd Mogotsi, Mansoor Jaffer and Ronald Bernickow.

Independent Media Executive Chairman Iqbal Survé thanked Rantao for doing an “excellent job” so far, and wished the panel well for the future.

Watch the launch here:

Independent Media announce senior editorial appointments

Published 08 May 2017, by IOL

 Independent Media is proud to announce two new editorial appointments as part of its ongoing revitalisation and transformation of its newsrooms.

Veteran journalist Steve Motale, 52, has returned to Independent Media, to take over the editorship of The Sunday Independent. Motale is a former executive editor of the Pretoria News, which is part of the Independent Media stable. Motale left Independent just prior to Sekunjalo’s acquisition of Independent Media was consolidated, as he was headhunted by The Citizen to become its editor. He went on to edit The Citizen for three years.

Executive Chairman of Independent Media, Dr Iqbal Survé said that Motale has come back home to Independent.

“His appointment is aligned with our approach to transformation at senior editorial and executive level and supports our objective of pursuing black excellence in the media space. Mr Motale brings great diversity to our Gauteng publications where our readers can find contested views and opinions in our various titles including The Star, Sunday Independent, Saturday Star, Pretoria News and Isolezwe (Gauteng), as well as African Independent.

We are proud that our group emphasises a diversity of opinions, accuracy in reporting and fairness and has taken a non-partisan approach to political issues in the country. Independent’s titles as a whole are showing an increase in circulation and this can be attributed to readers increasingly trusting our balanced and diversified editorial viewpoints. Mr Motale’s appointment strengthens that diversity in our editorial appointments with our 24 titles and over 10 million daily readers online and in print.

I am pleased to welcome Steve back home.  I have every confidence in his ability to grow Sunday Independent’s niche readership base – both in print and online.  I wish him success with this exciting new challenge.”

Born and bred in the Free State, Motale matriculated in Kroonstad and qualified as a high school teacher, spending 16 years in the classroom before moving to journalism on a local community paper in Klerksdorp. Over and above qualifications in teaching and communication, Motale is a graduate of Wits University’s Management Advancement Programme. He is married with two children.

“It feels like a homecoming,” he said, “I’m very excited about the opportunity. The Sunday Independent is an iconic brand with huge potential and I look forward to taking it to where it belongs.”

Read the full article here.

 

Solid earnings for Premier Food & Fishing

Published 5 May 2017, by Sandile Mchunu, Business Report

Black-owned and managed fishing company Premier Food and Fishing (PFF) delivered a solid growth in earnings for the six months to end February.The company reported headline earnings per share rose 33 percent to 12.70 cents a share, from 9.52c a share from the same period last year, while revenue increased by 7 percent to R182 million. The group attributed the growth mainly to increased sales volumes in the lobster and squid segments.

PFF chief executive Samir Saban said: “Premier Fishing achieved solid performance and positive growth for the six months to end February as per our expectations.”

The group’s operating profit also increased by 12 percent to R18 million, from R16 million. PFF also holds medium to long-term fishing rights in west coast rock lobster, south coast rock lobster, small pelagics, hake deep sea trawl, hake long-line swordfish and tuna as well as squid. The group owns an abalone farm and invests in organic agriculture through the “Seagro” range of products.

“The group experienced increased lobster landings due to good catch rates as well as a good size mix for the period under review.

“The industrial fish landings were up by 20 percent compared to the prior period, while hake sales volumes and the profitability of the hake segment increased during the current period, ” PFF said.

PFF is a member of diversified listed entity African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI) and operates a vertically integrated fishing business specialising in the harvesting, processing and marketing of fish and fish-related products, as well as general food products.

PFF was listed on the main board of the JSE at the beginning of March and the group raised capital in the amount of R526 million on the listing date through the issue of 117 million new shares.

During the listing Saban said that the capital raised would be used for the expansion of the company’s abalone farm as well as for acquisitions of other fishing companies.

PFF shares remained flat on the JSE  and closed at R4.60.

Read the full article here.

#WEF a great opportunity to enter into new businesses – Survé

Published 03 May 2017 by Andrea Chotia, IOL 

As the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA ) 2017 starts on Wednesday, the founder and executive chairman of the Sekunjalo Group, Dr Iqbal Survé, provided insight by explaining what it means for Africa and how, if taken advantage of, it could greatly benefit the continent.

Taking place in the port city of Durban until Friday, how to achieve inclusive growth in Africa will be thrashed out by 1 000 global leaders in business, government and civil society. They will deliberate on and agree to priorities that will help Africa achieve this.

Survé declared that the WEFA 2017, will be what one makes of it.

“Sekunjalo is a member of the WEFA, so it’s important for our company to engage with business leaders, government officials, public sector organisations and civil society groupings that principally operate in Africa, as we are invested in at least 40 countries on the continent,” said Survé.

Sekunjalo is deeply rooted across various economic sectors including telecoms, resources, media, technology, manufacturing, food processing, healthcare pharmaceuticals, civil security, network solutions businesses, financial investments, fishing, mining, reclamation, aquaculture and many more.

“It’s a great opportunity to engage with partners, to enter into new businesses and hear first-hand from the private sector and government officials their strategy for economic growth, diversity and development,” said Survé.

Survé’s involvement in the World Economic Forum (WEF) includes being part of the forum member advisers and in Davos this year, being appointed to the stewardship board of the WEF’s Shaping the Future of Information and Entertainment initiative.

He is also the former chairman of the WEF Global Growth Companies advisory board (GGC) and vice-chairman of the Global Agenda Council for Emerging Multinationals.

His international role was further deepened by his most recent appointment as chairman of the Brics Business Council, SA Chapter.

Having participated for almost 10 years on many panel discussions at the WEF meetings including Davos, Summer Davos and Africa, Survé maintained that the forum was useful to Sekunjalo in a number of ways.

Firstly, for identifying investment opportunities for the Sekunjalo Group and being able to promote its strategy for Africa, to engage, collaborate and continue to work with existing multinational partners. (Sekunjalo is the shareholder partner to multinationals such as Siemens AG, Nokia, Saab AB, BT, Coriant and others in their African subsidiaries.)

“Secondly, being represented at the WEF is about being an ambassador for my country, to showcase it, to invite people to invest in South Africa and our continent, and to find value-creation partnerships that could help both our businesses and other businesses that want to operate on the continent in the most sustainable way,” he said.

Thirdly, Survé (who is also a qualified medical doctor) will participate on a number of panels to discuss science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) research and responsible leadership.

He added that the WEFA is also about identifying young talent on the continent, particularly in the areas of the Young Global Leaders (YGLs) and tech pioneers. “It’s a great opportunity to identify young talent, to recruit and support the young talent in our various businesses.”

Survé explained that the WEFA companies, which Sekunjalo forms part of, along with the tech pioneers, social entrepreneurs and YGLs, make a positive impact on humanity through their research, development and initiatives.

With direct relevance to WEFA, Sekunjalo, as an investment holding company, roughly employing 115 000 people across its 200 sizeable investments on the continent, will continue to fly the flag for investment into Africa, said Survé.

He explained the importance of getting the decision-makers on the continent together in one place.

“If the various economic sectors with the highest growth in Africa are clearly identified at the WEFA, then investment entities and partners would be able to capitalise on those opportunities.

“It provides an opportunity to hear from governments on the continent about what their macro-economic strategies are and how we can help and partner with them to achieve their economic-growth objectives.”

Read the full article here.

 

Important to think globally, says Khalid Abdulla of AEEI

Published 28 April 2017, by Joseph Booysen, Business Report 

South African businesses and business leaders can learn a lot by attending the World Economic Forum, taking what they need out of the global perspectives on offer, applying approaches and principles learned from world business leaders to their own business, with a firm eye on maximising the business volumes of the future so as to avoid business extinction.

This is according to Khalid Abdulla, group chief executive of African Equity Empowerment Investment (AEEI) ahead of his attendance at the global forum next week.

Abdulla said it was important to think globally about how current and future business was planned for and approached – Africa would soon have 2 billion people living on the continent and the world 9billion people in the not-too-distant future.

“We need to listen to what other countries and businesses are experiencing, assimilate the different perspectives and then apply the appropriate practices and innovations to our own,” Abdulla said, adding that it would be important for businesses to develop the right team and to implement solid corporate governance to extract the most value.

“So, you can attend all the conferences in the world, but if you don’t apply and implement what you learn, it is just going to be another certificate on the wall.”

He said despite all the negative news in the country at the moment, including the recent ratings downgrade, there was still much to be positive about as South Africa had achieved amazing things.

“We must celebrate these while working on the challenges,” he said.

Abdulla encouraged other companies to continue sharing these and other positive stories in order to keep hope alive for the country’s citizens, while current challenges were being addressed, in order to build the nation on a sustainable basis.

“There is an opportunity in everything. As a business leader one has to see things in context while at the same time we have to think out of the box. This current state too shall pass, and we as business need to look to the future and ask ourselves if we will be ready for when that time comes.”

Read the full article here.

 

Blind child rights hero receives ‘Children’s Nobel Prize’

 

 Published 27 April 2017 by IOL reporter
Manuel Rodrigues, a blind child rights activist from Guinea-Bissau, on Wednesday received the child rights award, The World’s Children’s Prize (WCP), often called the ‘Children’s Nobel Prize’.

This is the result of the Global Vote, by millions of children around the world.

Manuel Rodrigues from Guinea-Bissau, bottom right, was selected by children around the world to receive child rights award the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child. Molly Melching is second from the left, and Rosi Gollmann is fourth from the left. Behind them are members of the Child Jury.

Manuel was honoured in recognition of his work for children with disabilities, who face being kept hidden or abandoned to die.

In Guinea-Bissau, it is hard for children with disabilities to go to school. Many have been kept hidden away, or abandoned to die. Through Manuel’s work, however, both attitudes and legislation are changing rapidly, so that children with different abilities can grow up in safety, attend school, and have a good life.

Manuel was one of the three nominees for the award, nominated by a child jury whose members are experts on the rights of the child, through their own life experiences as refugees, slaves and soldiers, amongst others.

Since the launch in 2000, a total of 40.6 million children have participated in the World’s Children’s Prize programme, the world’s largest annual educational initiative for children on rights and democracy.

Two other child rights activists, 90-year-old Rosi Gollmann, from Germany, and Molly Melching, from the USA and Senegal, were also honoured on Wednesday.

Gollman’s work includes rescuing tens of thousands of girls in India from being killed at birth, and Melching has led pioneering initiatives to tackle female genital cutting and child marriage in West Africa.

Both received the World’s Children’s Honorary Award.

All three nominees for the award were honoured at a ceremony today at Gripsholm Castle, in Mariefred, Sweden, where children from 15 countries were assisted by H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden in presenting the prizes. The prize money, totalling SEK 700,000, is split between this year’s child rights hero (SEK 350 000) and the two honorary award laureates (SEK 175 000 each) and is to go towards the prize laureates’ work with children.

Abatsha, a young band from Cape Town, South Africa, played at the WCP Ceremony. Five of the band members are pupils at Chris Hani Secondary School in Khayelitsha, where the World’s Children’s Prize programme is implemented annually, and where the band members and other pupils are trained as WCP Child Rights Ambassadors.

Previous prize laureates include the children’s Decade Child Rights Heroes Graça Machel and Nelson Mandela, Ann Skelton, Hector Pieterson and Nkosi Johnson (the latter two, posthumously).

Read the full article here.

‘South Africa will weather the storm’

Published 13 April 2017 by Business Report.  

Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said South Africa will weather problems associated with the recent credit rating downgrade to junk status.Speaking at a business forum between South Africa and Qatar in Pretoria on Wednesday, Zulu moved to allay investor jitters over the downgrades, charging that the government was ready to deal with concerns raised by investors and rating agencies.

“It is not the first time that we are finding ourselves in this,” Zulu said.

Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu, Qatar Minister of Economy and Trade HE Sheik Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani, Dr Iqbal Survé, Sekunjalo chairperson, and South African Ambassador to Qatar, Shirish Soni, at the RSA-State of Qatar Business Forum in Pretoria. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi

“The government has taken upon ourselves as government, the private sector and our communities to work together to weather the storms. It is going to be a very difficult period for us. We shall weather the storm working together.”

Ratings agencies S&P’s Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings last week downgraded the country’s credit rating to sub-investment grade. The South African Reserve Bank earlier this week said the downgrades could put pressure on the rand and accelerate inflation.

Zulu’s assurances came as President Jacob Zuma hosted the Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, who was on a state visit to South Africa which was, among others, aimed at deepening economic relations between the two countries.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Presidency said that the total trade between South Africa and Qatar had increased from R4 billion in 2012 to R7 billion last year.

One of South Africa’s largest investments in the Middle East is Sasol’s joint venture gas-to-liquid facility located in Qatar.

Commitment

“[The] two heads of state have agreed to advance our relations to a strategic level in demonstration of our commitment towards strengthening our economic relations.

“In as much as fostering partnership among business communities is important, it is equally imperative that we emerge from these engagements with a structured programme of co-operation,” said Zulu.

Numerous opportunities of co-operation existed between South Africa and Qatar in agro-processing, financial services, mineral beneficiation, petrochemicals, aerospace and defence, infrastructure development and tourism.

She said South Africa’s focus on radical economic transformation opened up opportunities to all South Africans, with focus on black South Africans.

“In line with South Africa’s commitment to radical economic transformation, we must ensure adequate participation of black entrepreneurs.

“The bottom line is that and there is no compromise land was taken away from the majority of our people.

“That has to change if we are to make sure there is peace, security and stability in South Africa.

“This should not scare any of our investors. Your investment in South Africa will always be safe, because in South Africa we have very strong institutions, whether its institutions of governance or financial institutions. We make sure that anybody who comes to South Africa with their investment is protected,” she said. South Africa had prioritised the creation of black industrialists and the integration of small- and medium-sized enterprises, she said.

“The black industrialists are the people that you would need to have more engagement with.”

She said there were numerous investment opportunities in South Africa and the rest of the continent.

“The continent is on the move, with a whole lot of construction happening.

Al-Thani said South Africa could use Qatar’s location and logistics infrastructure to export to the Middle East, Asia and Europe. He said Qatar could also be a gateway for South African products to the Gulf Co-operation Council Common Market and the Greater Arab Free Trade Area.

 

Read the full article here.