Tokyo Banking Correspondent
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Aug 11, 2014

No contagion risk as bailed-out S.African bank’s shares halted

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 11 (Reuters) – Shares in bailed-out South
African lender African Bank Investments (Abil) were
suspended on Monday, as investors shrugged off a financial
meltdown that appeared to pose no wider risk to the banking

The central bank and commercial banks stepped in on Sunday
with a $1.6 billion plan to rescue Abil from a flood of bad
debts mostly racked up on risky payday loans to unsecured

Aug 10, 2014

South African central bank to oversee $940 million Abil rescue

PRETORIA, Aug 10 (Reuters) – South Africa’s central bank
stepped in to rescue unsecured lender African Bank Investments
on Sunday, placing it under external supervision and announcing
plans for a $940 million capital injection underwritten by local

The rescue, which will see the South African Reserve Bank
acquire the lender’s 17-billion-rand ($1.6-billion) bad loan
portfolio, follows an investor exodus from African Bank
earlier this week after it warned of a full-year loss and said
it needed a massive capital raising.

Aug 7, 2014

Investors dump South Africa’s Abil bank, fearing losses too big to fix

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 7 (Reuters) – Investors fled African Bank
Investments on Thursday, sending its shares tumbling to
a near-20 year low as the South African lender looked unable to
plug a $790 million hole in its finances from a tide of
unsecured loans that have gone bad.

The bank, widely known as Abil, shocked the market on
Wednesday when it said it needed to raise 8.5 billion rand ($790
million) in new capital after warning of a massive annual loss,
following which its chief executive quit.

Aug 6, 2014

S.Africa’s Abil to seek $800 million cash call as CEO quits

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 6 (Reuters) – African Bank Investments
warned on Wednesday it needs to raise nearly $800
million after it flagged an annual loss and its chief executive
quit, prompting a shareholder to liken the South African
mass-market lender to a “bottomless pit”.

The news wiped out 60 percent of the bank’s value, with its
shares hitting their lowest level since 1997 on widening
concerns about its ability to ride out the downturn.

Aug 6, 2014

In Africa, haircare becomes a multi-billion dollar industry

ABUJA, Aug 6 (Reuters) – With all the skill of a master
weaver at a loom, Esther Ogble stands under a parasol in the
sprawling Wuse market in Nigeria’s capital and spins synthetic
fibre into women’s hair.

Nearby, three customers – one in a hijab – wait for a turn
to spend several hours and $40 to have their hair done, a hefty
sum in a country where many live on less than $2 a day.

Jul 24, 2014

S.Africa’s Alexander Forbes surges to $1 bln valuation on market return

JOHANNESBURG, July 24 (Reuters) – Shares in Alexander Forbes
surged 12 percent on their return to the Johannesburg bourse on
Thursday, valuing the retirement fund manager at almost $1
billion as it dazzled investors with the prospect of steady
earnings and growth across Africa.

The company, which was taken private by a group of investors
led by buyout firm Actis in 2007, returned to the bourse after a
3.7 billion rand ($353 million) public offering last week, South
Africa’s largest flotation in four years.

Jul 20, 2014

Striking South African metalworkers lower wage demand – unions

JOHANNESBURG, July 20 (Reuters) – Labour unions representing
striking South African metalworkers have submitted a lower wage
demand to employers, union representatives said on Sunday, to
try to end the walkout battering Africa’s most developed

More than 200,000 metal and engineering workers downed tools
at the start of the month demanding wage increases of between 12
to 15 percent and disrupting the supply of auto components and
construction work at two crucial power stations.

Jul 20, 2014

Nigeria’s free-wheeling media fears crackdown over Boko Haram battle

ABUJA/LAGOS, July 20 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s press is
traditionally free to write almost anything about anyone –
whether it’s true or not. But reporters fear a government
sensitive to criticism is now cracking down, especially on
coverage of the battle against Boko Haram.

After 15 years of democracy, journalists believe the state
is trying to tame the vibrant, prolific media during its
faltering campaign to stamp out the militant Islamist group.

Jul 8, 2014

South Africa’s NUMSA to take latest offer to striking members

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s striking NUMSA union said on Tuesday it would take the latest offer from the main employers’ group to its members on Wednesday, possibly ending a week-old stoppage that has hit car manufacturers.

A spokesman for the engineering and metal workers’ union did not elaborate on the offer. The labor ministry said the two sides were “very close” to securing a deal.

Jul 8, 2014

South Africa’s NUM union warns Eskom to allow strikes

JOHANNESBURG, July 8 (Reuters) – South Africa’s state owned
power utility Eskom is “sitting on a time bomb” for not allowing
its workers to strike, the National Union of Mineworkers warned
on Tuesday, signalling workers there may embark on a wildcat, or
unofficial, stoppage.

Industrial action at Eskom, which provides 95 percent of the
power to Africa’s biggest economy, may force vital industries
such smelters, mines and factories to shut down.

    • 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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