Tokyo Banking Correspondent
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Nov 25, 2014

South Africa’s Steinhoff expands discount offer with $5.7 billion Pepkor buy

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s Steinhoff International (SHFJ.J: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will buy clothing retailer Pepkor in a $5.7 billion deal that gives the budget furniture firm exposure to Africa’s fast-growing apparel market and strengthens its business in eastern Europe.

The acquisition will allow Steinhoff, one of the world’s largest listed furniture companies, to diversify into clothing as rising sub-Saharan wealth lifts consumer demand.

Nov 25, 2014

South Africa’s Steinhoff moves into clothes with $5.7 bln Pepkor buy

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 25 (Reuters) – South African furniture
firm Steinhoff International will buy 92 percent of
clothing retailer Pepkor, it said on Tuesday, in a $5.7 billion
deal that gives it exposure to the fast-growing African apparel
market.

Steinhoff, a furniture retailer targeting budget-conscious
shoppers in southern Africa and Europe, said it will pay 62.8
billion rand ($5.7 billion) for the stake in Pepkor, which owns
the Pep brand that sells everything from school uniforms to
household goods to mobile phones.

Nov 17, 2014

Soweto microbrewer aims to tap South Africa’s ‘black diamonds’

SOWETO South Africa (Reuters) – At just 30,000 litres a month, Ndumiso Madlala’s brewery produces as much beer as his biggest rival pumps out every six minutes. But that may be just enough to cause ripples in SABMiller’s long domination of the South African beer market.

Madlala’s Soweto Gold is one of hundreds of new South African microbreweries mounting a small, but visible, challenge to SABMiller’s 90 percent market share. While craft beer has found an audience among affluent whites, Madlala reckons he can bring it to a new market: the growing black middle class.

Nov 14, 2014

S.African, Norwegian e-commerce rivals bury hatchet in Brazil battle

JOHANNESBURG/OSLO, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Two of the fiercest
rivals in online classifieds, South Africa’s Naspers and
Norway’s Schibsted, said they would team up in some emerging
markets, including fast-growing Brazil where they have battled
each other for years.

The two companies have transformed themselves from
traditional print publishers into e-commerce publishers,
focusing in recent years on emerging markets such as Brazil
where their competition has added to costs, eaten up resources
and slowed expansion.

Nov 5, 2014

South Africa’s PPC taking legal action against former CEO

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 5 (Reuters) – South African cement company
PPC is taking legal action against its former CEO for
being a “delinquent director” after he made comments the board
considers defamatory, PPC’s chairman said in a television
interview on Wednesday.

The acrimonious public row between PPC and former Chief
Executive Ketso Gordhan has undermined investor confidence in
the company and become one of South Africa’s biggest corporate
spats in recent memory.

Nov 5, 2014

Abil’s furniture firm owes big South African banks $53 mln

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Four of South Africa’s
biggest banks are owed $53 million by Ellerine, the money-losing
furniture firm that African Bank Investments (Abil) cut
funding to just before the lender collapsed, documents showed.

The debt reflects the extent to which Abil’s failure in
August has rippled across corporate South Africa, knocking
credit ratings, investor confidence and even hurting small
suppliers such as florists and panel beaters.

Oct 30, 2014

Purple haze of jacarandas draws Japanese to South Africa

PRETORIA, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Eighty-one-year-old Sachiko
Asano travelled 8,500 miles to Africa to see jacaranda trees in
bloom, one of hundreds of Japanese inspired by a culture of
flower-viewing to make the trek every year.

“It was a long trip, but I wanted to come and see the
jacarandas while I still can,” said the resident of Japan’s
northern island of Hokkaido after a two-day tour of Pretoria,
known as the “Jacaranda City” for its eruption of purple and
blue in the southern hemisphere spring.

Oct 27, 2014

Pistorius verdict, sentence facing appeal

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African prosecutors will appeal against the culpable homicide verdict and five-year jail sentence passed on Oscar Pistorius last week after public and legal criticism of the judge’s decision to absolve the track star of murder.

The Olympic and Paralympic athlete, whose lower legs were amputated as a baby, killed his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day last year by firing four 9mm rounds into the locked door of a toilet cubicle in what he said was the mistaken belief an intruder was hiding behind it.

Oct 2, 2014

S.Africa’s Nedbank takes $493 mln stake in pan-African lender Ecobank

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 2 (Reuters) – South Africa’s Nedbank
said on Thursday it will acquire a 20 percent stake in
pan-African lender Ecobank Transnational for $493
million in cash, ending months of speculation it could walk away
from the deal over governance concerns.

The acquisition gives South Africa’s fourth-largest lender
badly needed access to fast-growing sub-Saharan Africa, where it
has lagged behind rivals. But the deal also puts it in the
position of sharing its influence with Ecobank’s other strategic
investor, Qatar National Bank (QNB).

Aug 28, 2014

S.Africa’s Woolworths buoyed as wealthy shoppers keep spending

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 28 (Reuters) – South Africa’s Woolworths
Holdings posted a double-digit rise in full-year profit
on Thursday as affluent shoppers kept spending on organic jam
and ostrich steaks despite the weak economy.

Woolworths, a food and clothing retailer similar to
Britain’s Marks and Spencer, is one of the industry’s
few recent strong performers, as most South African consumers
have been suffered under poor economic growth and rising debt.

    • About David

      "David Dolan covers banks, consumer lenders and financial regulation in the world's second-largest economy. Before that, he covered Tokyo's stock market for Reuters and also did reporting stints on Capitol Hill and Chicago's City Hall. He was born in Ireland and grew up in Chicago."
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