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Finweek - English 04 April 2019

Finweek is South Africa’s leading financial weekly magazine focusing on investment. With its brisk, creative and authoritative analysis of business and investment issues, it’s an essential business tool in the daily battle for competitive advantage. Today's business decision-makers have to cope with increased pressure on their time and are expected, more than ever before, to succeed in the face of stiffer competition. Finweek provides relevant information in quick bytes, along with award-winning investment advice.

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from the editor

when the lights stay on for a couple of weeks, it’s quite easy to forget that we are a country with a power utility in dire straits. Then, suddenly one morning, Eskom announces stage 2 or stage 4 load shedding, and reality literally hits home. At work, generators keep most of the computers and some of the lights on. Newspapers place Eskom squarely back on their front pages, and columnists remind us of exactly how bad the crisis is. And how prolonged it is expected to be. Let me share an ironic moment with you. It’s one I often think about in the seconds after the office lights go out (and before the generator kicks in). Quite a few years back, I worked for an agricultural publication. The editor and I had an…

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rebel with a cause

in the 1990s, Paul Krugman, who later won the Nobel prize for his work on trade, wrote: “There is nothing that plays worse in our culture than seeming to be the stodgy defender of old ideas, no matter how true those ideas may be. Luckily, at this point the orthodoxy of the academic economists is very much a minority position among intellectuals in general; one can seem to be a courageous maverick, boldly challenging the powers that be, by reciting the contents of a standard textbook.” Krugman wrote to explain comparative advantage: the idea that trade between two countries raises the incomes of both. It’s a simple and powerful idea, first proposed by David Ricardo, and was responsible for the massive expansion in global trade in the second half of the…

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why eskom is unfixable

eskom is unfixable. Every big decision taken around Eskom over the past three months has probably made matters worse. Let’s start with the biggest of the (multitude of) problems. Money. Eskom has none, and the hole is getting 31 March 2019 report its biggest loss ever, in all likelihood between R20bn deeper. Later this year – for the financial year to – Eskom will and R30bn (2018: R4.6bn loss). The company already sits with escalating debt of R420bn. In February this year Eskom got a bailout from the state amounting to R150bn over the next ten years. The shorter-term portion, a rescue plan for the first three years from 1 April 2019, amounts to R23bn per year over the three years. It is not nearly enough. By March 2019 Eskom had burnt…

access_time4 min.
in brief

“WE’LL LOOK AS RIDICULOUS AS THE REPUBLICANS DID DURING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION IF WE CONTINUE DOWN SOME PATH OF CALLING FOR AN IMPEACHMENT WHEN THERE IS NO CAUSE.” – Democratic political consultant Colin Strother after special counsel Robert Mueller released a report that found no evidence of US President Donald Trump’s campaign colluding with Russia in the 2016 election, as quoted in Business Day. US Attorney General William Barr said the report did not present enough evidence to warrant charging Trump with obstruction of justice. Though the report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him on an obstruction of justice issue. The New York Times reported thatTrump mischaracterised it as “a complete and total exoneration” in a comment to journalists. “THE NINE WASTED YEARS…

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finding a spot in the local music streaming market

two weeks before making its grand entrance onto the public markets with its IPO on the NYSE, music streaming giant Spotify went live in South Africa (in March 2018). Some critics saw this as a little too late to the party as Apple music, Deezer and Google Play Music had already claimed their stakes. But Spotify was instantly popular. Spotify is the world’s largest global music streaming service, giving users access to over 40m songs, podcasts and other content from artists all over the world. Launched in 2008, the service boasts 207m monthly active users, 96m of which are paying subscribers. Non-paying users can use the service forfree albeit with adverts in-between shuffled songs, while users who foot the R59.99/month subscription get no adverts, offline listening, unlimited skips, high-quality audio and shuffle play. Early…

access_time3 min.
carbon’s taxing affair

what’s planned by government is a delicate eggs en cocotte, but it’s more likely the country’s mining sectorwill be served a regular scrambled. That’s the gastronomic equivalent of the proposed carbon tax which is due foradoption by the National Council of Provinces during the week this edition of finweek went to print, and effective 1 June. The premise is a tax of R120 per tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) in its first phase. Some offsets are allowed by up to 70% of the total tax, but even considering this, the Minerals Council of South Africa considers the tax onerous and is not lending its support to the legislation, officially known as the CarbonTax Act. “Carbon taxes are part of the toolbox in dealing with climate change, so we accept it,” said Roger Baxter,…