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REFLEX ECO GROUP news list (July 22, 2014 at 10:50 am) –

Kumba First-Half Profit Falls 16% as Iron-Ore Prices Slump
Kumba Iron Ore Ltd. (KIO), the Anglo American Plc unit that owns Africa’s largest mine for the steelmaking ingredient, said first-half profit fell 16 percent after prices of the mineral dropped. Profit excluding one-time items declined to 6.5 billion rand ($613 million), or 20.28 rand a share, in the six months ended June 30 from 7.8 billion rand or 24.13 rand a share a year earlier, the Pretoria-based company said in a statement today. Iron-ore output increased 5 percent to 22.8 million metric tons, it said.

Kumba declared a dividend of 15.61 rand a share. Iron-ore producers, including Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton Ltd., are expanding supply, betting the increase will more than offset declining prices, which fell to the lowest since September 2012 last month. Kumba plans to almost double production by 2030, with new sites in western and central Africa potentially accounting for more than 20 percent of volumes. “Iron-ore prices are expected to remain at current levels in the third quarter,” Kumba said. “Restocking by steel mills and a slowdown in Chinese domestic iron-ore production in


Gold Falls in London as Fed Outlook Curbs Investor Demand

Gold  fell in London as expectations for higher U.S. interest rates and a stronger dollar countered haven demand amid tension in Ukraine and Gaza. The dollar was near a four-week high against a basket of 10 major currencies before data may show today that U.S. inflation held at the fastest pace since October 2012, supporting the case for the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy. Gold slid 28 percent last year on expectations the central bank will scale back stimulus as the economy improves.

Unrest in the Middle East and Ukraine helped prices rebound 8.7 percent this year. U.S. and European leaders pressed their message that Russian President Vladimir Putin risks isolating himself on the world stage after a Malaysian passenger jet was downed over Ukraine by a missile believed to be supplied by his country. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held talks with Egyptian officials on crafting a truce to end Gaza Strip fighting, as the conflict enters a third week.


Ghana to issue 400 million-cedi 3-yr domestic bond on July 31
The Bank of Ghana will issue a 400 million-cedi ($117 million) three-year domestic bond on July 31 to support the government’s budget, head of the treasury Yao Abalo said on Monday. The auction, which is open to foreign investors, is the first of two domestic bonds planned for the second half of 2014.
“It is a new issue to support government finances,” Abalo said, adding that another transaction of the same maturity and value will be issued in October to roll over maturing debts. A similar auction held in May attracted a yield of 24.44 pct, and analysts forecast the new issue could attract between 23 percent and 25 percent.

Yields on Ghana’s government debt have risen above the average in sub-Saharan Africa since January, reflecting the government’s battle to bring down a stubbornly high budget deficit and widening debt, while the local cedi currency has slumped around 30 percent. The yield on Bank of Ghana’s 91-day bill rose to a fresh three-year high of 24.8385 percent at the weekly auction last Friday, from 24.3109 percent previously.


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REFLEX ECO GROUP news list (July 21, 2014 at 10:50 am) –

• Banks raise 200 mln euros for second Abidjan container port
Banque Atlantique, SocGen and Afreximbank have raised 200 million euros ($272.81 million) to start a second container terminal at Abidjan port in Ivory Coast. Banque Atlantique has raised 100 million euros and Societe Generale and Afreximbank gave 50 million euros each, Souleymane Diarrassouba, director general of Banque Atlantique, told Reuters. His bank is a subsidiary of Banque Populaire du Maroc.”It’s to allow the port of Abidjan to start the work on a second container terminal,” he said, without giving a figure for the total cost of the project.
• Ivory Coast gold output to reach 22 tonnes by 2016
Ivory Coast gold output is expected to reach 22 tonnes in 2016, an increase of around 30 percent from 2014 estimates, due to the start-ups of two new mines. Ivorian gold production was 15.5 tonnes in 2013 and is due to reach 17 tonnes this year as the cocoa-growing West African nation seeks to encourage development of its long-neglected mining sector in an effort to diversify its economy from agriculture.
• Cameroon cocoa exports reach 152,941 T by end June
Cameroon, the world’s fifth cocoa grower, has exported 152,941 tonnes of cocoa beans from the start of the 2013/14 season to end-June, down from 203,220 tonnes in the corresponding previous season. The roughly 25 percent fall in total exports came despite higher shipments in June when 4,256 tonnes of cocoa left ports compared with 2,305 tonnes for the same month last year and 2,268 tonnes in May.
Kenya’s Britam raises $68 mln via corporate bond
Kenyan financial services company British American (Britam) raised 6 billion shillings ($68.4 million) through a corporate bond issue, doubling its initial target. The firm runs insurance, asset management and property development businesses, with operations in neighbouring Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan. Market participants said the bond paid an interest rate of 13 percent although the company did not include those details in a statement seen by Reuters on Thursday. Investors offered bids worth 7.4 billion shillings, a 147 percent over the subscription level. It will use the funds for further expansion in Kenya and in neighbouring countries, an acceleration of property development and to increase investment in private equity, the company said.
Higher sales lift Kenya’s ARM Cement’s first half profit
Strong sales of cement and fertiliser boosted Kenya’s ARM Cement’s pretax profit 20 percent to 1.2 billion shillings ($13.68 million) in the first-half, it said on Friday. Total revenue jumped 16 percent to 7.6 billion shillings, after sales of cement rose by 10 percent and by more than a third in Kenya and Tanzania respectively, ARM said, attributing it to an improved distribution network. ARM said it expects earnings to grow further in the second half mainly due to improving margins driven by investments in its factories in Tanzania and Kenya. “The east African regional economies are growing briskly, and demands for cement, as well as the other products are expected to grow further,” the company said. Its fertilizer line also posted good sales growth after the Kenyan ministry of agriculture endorsed one of its brands.



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Ghana’central bank is cutting down interest rate

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REFLEX ECO GROUP news list (July 10, 2014 at 10:50 am) – The Bank of Ghana yesterday raised its benchmark interest rate to 19 percent, the highest since 2004.

Ghana’s central bank will reduce its lending rate to banks after stemming a practice where lenders used the regulator’s cash to buy local Treasury bills and profit from the difference. The Bank of Ghana will bring the rate back in line with its rule of the policy rate plus 200 basis points, or two percentage points, Governor Kofi Wampah said.

Yields on Ghana’s 91-day notes jumped this year to 24.09 percent last week, the highest in sub-Saharan Africa, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Investors parked cash in the assets as the local currency slid 30 percent in 2014, the world’s worst performance against the dollar, and inflation accelerated for a 10th straight month to 15 percent in June. In April, the Bank of Ghana increased the cash-reserve ratio for banks to 11 percent from nine percent to reduce the amount of cedis on the local market. The currency gained 0.6 percent to 3.3150 per dollar.

Written by Sekinat Odumosu at 


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Africa News February 25, 2014 at 11:09AM

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VENTURES AFRICA- Tigo, Tanzania’s third-largest mobile phone operator, has launched the first cross-border mobile money service that allows subscribers in Tanzania and Rwanda to make dual currency mobile money transfers.

The new service allows Tigo subscribers in Tanzania to send money from their Tigo Pesa accounts to Tigo Cash subscribers in Rwanda and vice versa, explained Diego Gutierrez, Tigo Tanzania General Manager .

“The system integrates currency conversion, whereby money is sent in either Tanzania Shillings or Rwandan Francs and delivered already converted into in the currency of the recipient’s country,” Tigo said in a statement.

Once the remittance is received, customers can use the funds to access all the services and benefits that Tigo Mobile Financial Services offer. These include airtime top ups, utilities payment, transfers to bank accounts, cash withdrawals at any Tigo agents, and convenient transfers to other mobile money users.

This new product will save customers’ time and money. International senders can now send money directly from their phone, Gutierrez said.

Tanzania is Rwanda’s second most important trading partner. In 2013, Rwanda imports from Tanzania amounted to $80 million while Tanzania received imports valued at $231.6 million from Rwanda the same year.

With 27 million mobile subscribers, representing 23 percent market share in East Africa’s second largest economy, Tigo hopes the service would benefit trade by helping exporters and importers.

Tigo is a subsidiary of the international telecommunications and media company Millicom, a leader in thirteen markets across Africa and Latin America.

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Africa News February 25, 2014 at 10:22AM

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VENTURES AFRICA- Aujan Coca-Cola Beverages Company, a joint venture between Coca-Cola and Saudi Arabian Aujan Industries, plans to build a $100 million fruit-juice factory in Egypt, Meshal Alkadeeb, the company’s Vice President of strategy and business development, has revealed.

“The plant will be commissioned between 2016 and 2017. We just started working on it,” Alkadeeb said.

Having spent more than $100 million in the food and beverage sector across the Middle East, mainly in Dubai and Dammam, as well as reaching an agreement to buy a majority stake in Lebanon’s National Beverage Company, the firm sees this as the ripe time.

Aujan Coca-Cola was formed last year out of a $1bn partnership between Coca-Cola and Saudi Arabian group Aujan Industries after Coca-Cola purchased a 50 per cent stake in Aujan back in 2011, Reuters reported.

The company is eyeing Joint Venture acquisition as part of its business growth plans.

“This is part of our strategy together with the Coca Cola Co to develop business in beverage in this part of the world,” Aujan CEO Nicolaas Nusmeier, reportedly said.

“From that partnership we are going to develop a series of initiatives and they’re all around growth of beverages within the Middle East and North Africa region,” he added.

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Africa News February 25, 2014 at 09:57AM

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VENTURES AFRICA- Newmont Ghana, a subsidiary of US-based Newmont Mining Corp. has revealed plans to cut up to 600 jobs in its two operating mines by the end June, due to ageing facility and slumping gold prices.

The planned cuts, mostly at Ahafo mine, became necessary to help readjust expenditures to the ageing milling rate, ensuring the continuity of its operation in Africa’s second largest gold producing country, explained Adiki Ayitevie Newmont’s external affairs director

Hauling distances have increased, taxing equipment and fuel needs. Equipment in general have aged and requires larger sums of sustaining capital replacement. All these changes burden our cost position at Ahafo, Regional Senior Vice President of Africa Region, Dave Schummer as said in a memo released to the company staffs.

“At present, we anticipate that approximately 500-600 employees will be impacted by the changes underway, including national management employees, senior and junior staff as well as expatriates… We are currently working to complete a memorandum of understanding with the Ghana Mine Workers Union to define the contractual elements to pay to our impacted employees as is covered under our Collective Bargaining Agreement,” Schummer said.

Generic fall in gold prices globally has forced players in the Gold mining industry to adjust some their operational activities. In 2013, global gold prices slumped 28 per cent but it has recovered around 4 per cent so far this year, Ghana’s Citi Business reported.

Last year, Newmont which employs over 6,500 employees and contractors in Ghana retrenched 240 workers at its Ahafo mine in a similar job-cut spree.

To ensure efficient continuity of its operation, Newmont hopes to reduce the mining rate by removing equipment and reducing waste stripping, limit sustainable capital expenditures associated with a lower mining rate and also reduce labour force to align with the reducing mining rate.

Newmont is one of the three major gold miner in Ghana, Africa’s second-largest gold miner after South Africa. It began producing gold in Ghana in the year 2006 at its Ahafo mine. Akyem, its other mine began commercial production last year.

Both projects accounts for about 20 per cent of the company’s core assets worldwide.

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Africa News February 24, 2014 at 06:12PM

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VENTURES AFRICA – Kenyan Vehicle Manufacturer (KVM) has revealed that it is currently working on the assembly of Africa’s cheapest car in its Thika plant and expects the vehicle to be made commercially available by June.

Dubbed Mobius, an invention of computer engineer Joel Jackson, the vehicle was first assembled last year using parts from Toyota with 35% of the vehicle’s parts sourced locally.

‘‘We did the prototype last year and this year we are launching the car for commercial sale by second quarter at the KVM,” said Mr Jackson in an interview with Business Daily

Built in Africa for Africans and taking into cognisance Africa’s rugged roads, the car can accommodate eight passengers, which is inclusive of the driver, has a large space for stacking goods and boasts an efficient fuel consumption capacity.

Although the initial unit price was estimated at $6, 000 (Sh516, 000), the price shot up to Sh950, 000 ($1,100) as a result of expensive spare parts which is still fair considering that new models of cars go for Sh2 million ($23,161)

‘‘Production cost is one of the factors that is determining the price of the car, and with costs of the assembling parts going up, we decided to settle on Sh950,000 which is quiet affordable,’’ Jackson said.

Although affordable and rugged, Mobius lacks luxuries such as air-conditioning, power steering and other internal fixtures found in most cars

However, Mobius is designed for rural areas and small business owners who need cheap and affordable transportation.

“The vision of Mobius is to build a more appropriate and affordable vehicle for transport businesses and in turn create a platform for mobility across Africa.” Jackson told Reuters

The company will start production with 50 units.