Sappi delivers robust full year and 4th quarter results based on strong growth from the dissolving wood pulp and specialty packaging businesses Financial summary for the quarter and full year: • EBITDA excluding special items: o For the quarter US$221 million (2016 US$209 million) o For the year US$785 million (2016 US$739 million) • EPS excluding special items: o For the quarter 19 US cents (2016 18 US cents) o For the year 64 US cents (2016 57 US cents) • Profit for the period: o For the quarter US$102 million (2016 US$112 million) o For the year US$338 million (2016 US$319 million) • Net debt US$1,322 million, down US$86 million year-on-year • Dividend of 15 US cents declared (2016 11 US cents) Sappi Chief Executive Officer Steve Binnie, commenting on the group’s performance, said: “Sappi has delivered another strong set of results with profits up 6% year-on-year. I am very pleased with the growth of the dissolving wood pulp (DWP) and speciality packaging businesses. Furthermore our initiatives to reduce variable costs and the benefits of lower interest charges were able to help mitigate higher paper pulp prices and a stronger Rand/Dollar exchange rate during the reporting period. “Capital expenditure in 2018 is expected to increase to US$450 million as we continue the conversions in both Europe and North America, complete the Saiccor and Ngodwana debottlenecking and start the upgrade of the Saiccor wood-yard. The increase in expansionary capital spending during 2018 is focused on higher margin growth segments including dissolving wood pulp and speciality packaging. This will position us for stronger profitability from 2019 onwards.” The periods under review: Demand for DWP was robust, growing at double-digits throughout the year. We shifted more production capacity to speciality packaging during the year. The European business experienced a good final quarter, with expanded sales volumes and price increases helping to . . .
New partnership yields immediate results with impactful mobile awareness campaign for Coke Studio Pan-African mobile intelligence and digital media provider, Digitata Insights has extended its footprint on the continent by appointing management consulting firm Ntare Insights as its preferred partner in Rwanda. The two companies wasted no time in establishing their presence in the market, successfully implementing a local mobile awareness campaign for Coke Studio in the country. Having concluded a successful mobile marketing campaign for a South African-based multinational cellular services provider in Rwanda using its innovative MeMe measurable mobile advertising technology solution, Digitata Insights, a subsidiary of Digitata Limited, part of 4Sights Holdings, a JSE AltX-listed diversified holding company, required a strategic local partner to expand its reach in the region and leverage the company's previous success to drive new business. “Following extensive research and our on-going work in the region, Ntare Insights was a name that kept coming up in discussions,” explains Henk Swanepoel, chief marketing officer of Digitata Insights. “Following our initial meetings and discussions, we were extremely impressed with the team. Their understanding of the application of technology in general and mobile in particular, in delivering impactful business solutions was evident from the outset.” Kigali-based Ntare Insights delivers trusted strategy, policy and business advisory services for government, businesses and industries, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and non-government organisations (NGOs) and civil society. “Our philosophy is to understand the needs, issues and opportunities for our clients in order to provide high-impact and sustainable solutions, particularly in the areas of strategy development, private sector development, SME incubation, regional integration and trade, value chain development, and export growth,” explains Jack . . .
Having previously won the Mother of Hard Enduro in 2012 at the tender age of 16, and again in 2014, Wade Young (Sherco Liqui Moly Racing) came back with purpose and conquered the mountains of Lesotho by winning the 50th edition of the Motul Roof of Africa on Saturday 18 November. Having lead from the start, the South African put on a solid charge in the final climb to pull away from fellow South African Travis Teasdale (Brother Leadertread KTM) who came in just over 10 minutes behind the leader. “We’ve had a good few days and I’m happy with the strategy we chose for this race which was to set a strong pace early on and manage the gaps from the front,” Young said. Second place went to Travis Teasdale who watched a chance for victory disappear within sight of the finish, “I pushed hard and enjoyed riding with Wade, but in the end he got a time advantage when I battled up Soldiers Way. The bike dropped off a ledge and I had to pick it up letting him get away.” The first rider home from the large International contingent who had entered this year’s event, was Graham Jarvis (Rockstar Husqvarna) who said the fast, flowing pace of the race didn't work in his favour this year. He made up good time on the technical passes to catch up to the leaders but had to settle for third place. On Soldiers Pass Jarvis managed to pull away from Blake Gutzeit (Bidvest bLU cRU Yamaha) who was hot on his heels for most of the day. After just missing the podium in fourth place Blake Gutzeit said, “I am happy with my result. Today I got to ride with the Silent Assassin (Jarvis) and I learned a lot.” In fifth place was Alfredo Gomez (Red Bull KTM) who mentioned a sore wrist making it difficult for him to hold onto the handle bars and was also caught out by the fast pace of this year’s event. His sister, Sandra Gomez (Pepson Plastics Husqvarna), placed 30th overall and tasted victory in the unofficial ladies battle between her and Kirsten Landman, placing 39th. Landman . . .
Being the ultimate gateway that has been successfully hosting local talent for over a year now, TurnUp Music has joined forces with Samsung and officially announced the launch of a streaming service on the Samsung Z Series mobile devices. TurnUp Music has been turning heads over the past year as a disruptor in the local music industry. The mission continues to grow as the service has now partnered with one of the world’s largest tech companies, Samsung, to host local music on their Z Series mobile devices. Through this incredible partnership, TurnUp Music and Samsung are focussed on the development and growth of local artists’ careers through various collaborative opportunities and a strong market reach. “Samsung, as the global smartphone leader, is the perfect partner to accelerate not just the streaming platform, but also to reduce barriers to entry across Africa. The 4G enabled Z Series devices are both accessible and affordable, making it a great tool for listening to music and watching videos” said Thabiet Allie, CEO of TurnUp Music. The announcement of the partnership was unveiled at AfricaCom, one of the largest African telecoms, media and technology events and met with great support from key industry experts and delegates at the event. “Because Samsung always strives to create technology that enriches people’s lives, we are delighted to partner with TurnUp Music in this initiative, bringing local sounds to users and helping to promote local musicians,” said Craige Fleisher, Director Integrated Mobility, Samsung. The TurnUp Music app will soon be available on the Z series, which can be purchased at Ackermans, PEP, Jet and CNA. CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
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SA short film, THE BULL, premieres this Thursday, 23 November, to cast, crew, supporters and industry VIPs at The Labia in Cape Town with a brief panel Q&A discussion offered after both screenings (one at 7pm and the other at 7h30pm). The filmmakers would like to submit the film to top tier international film festivals and are in the process of running an intensive crowdfunding campaign in the hopes of raising the funds required for festival submission fees. THE BULL Short Film The short film falls into the genre of magical realism as American-born / South African-at-heart writer and director Kelsey Egan explores the mythology of shape-shifting alongside South African traditions and themes of strength, longing and love of family. Producer Benike Palfi says: "Kelsey’s been living in South Africa for over ten years and is completely enamoured with our beautiful country. It’s a love that is evident in all her work and THE BULL is no exception.” Egan wrote the script about three years ago and promptly shelved it as she knew the complex production elements required to bring the story to life made the film practically "unproducible"; but producers Palfi and Rafeeqah Galant fell in love with the project and committed themselves into making the impossible a reality. Working closely with Kelsey, they managed to assemble a talented team to breathe life into the film. With evocative cinematography courtesy of Christian Denslow and a phenomenal professional crew, this labour of love was shot in three and a half days in September 2017, with an additional pick-up shoot in early October during which a reduced crew managed to capture the live birth of a foal. The film was produced with virtually zero funding thanks to a diverse assortment of incredible supporters and sponsors, including but not limited to Panavision SA, Media Film Services, Katana Grips, Cosmesis Studios, MXFX, Refinery, I Love Foodies, Fria’s Superfoods, and a host of other local health food . . .
FreshStop, the largest and fastest growing convenience store retail brand in South Africa, opened its 265th store on 16 November 2017 at 167 Main Road, Tsolo in the Eastern Cape. Located 42kms north of Mthatha, FreshStop at Caltex Mhlontlo Service Station is owned and operated by Sabelo Xotyeni and his wife, Bongi. With more than 17 years of experience in the retail and petrochemical industries, Sabelo is confident that this new store will cater to the needs of the community. “The community has been crying out for a branded convenience store, especially one that offers quality healthy food. Rural towns should be able to have access to the same quality and freshness of product that people in cities and towns have. It will now be on their doorstep so that they don’t have to travel too far to get access to this offering,” says Sabelo. FreshStop at Caltex Mhlontlo Service Station will offer customers a range of fresh fruit and vegetables, a selection of grocery items and a Grab n Go section for fresh sandwiches, pies, smoothies and snacks. In addition, the store has self-service Lavazza coffee on offer. The opening of the store has resulted in 10 new jobs being created in the community and the Store Retailer is determined to impact positively on the surrounding communities by sponsoring the local Tsolo Horse Race Tournament. “One of my biggest dreams has been achieved and I am over the moon; and thankful for the support of my family,” adds Sabelo. We wish Sabelo and Bongi and their team all the best for the opening of this 265th FreshStop at Caltex Mhlontlo Service Station store. FreshStop, named International Convenience Retailer of the Year 2013 and finalist of the 2017 International Convenience Retailer of the Year Award, is South Africa’s fastest growing 24-hour convenience store brand and has a network of 265 stores countrywide. CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
CAPE TOWN – Technological advances and digitalisation are changing the face of the maritime industry – but rather than this being a threat to South African jobs, it opens up a myriad of opportunities, especially among the youth. This emerged during the second and final day of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) Maritime Education and Training in the Digital Era conference in Cape Town on Thursday. Graham Dreyden, representing South Africa’s largest employer of local seafarers, African Marine Solutions (Amsol), said: “We don’t need fewer people on board ships – we need smarter people on board.” Dreyden said the younger generation would find it easier to adjust and offer value in multiple roles in the shipping industry, adding that 35% of Amsol’s 550 employees were classified as youth. “Our challenge is how to prepare them for entering the industry. Big data and analytics will impact the whole shipping value chain and the seafarer’s capacity to manage data and make complex decisions.” In another boost to the industry, a major private sector partner, Norwegian-based Klaveness Shipping Management, has identified South Africa as its new source of next-generation sea staff, after Romania and the Philippines, the latter of which supplies 400,000 sailors to the global fleet. According to Klaveness’s head of crewing, Torbjorn Eide, the company has a long-term perspective on investment in South African maritime education and training, with engagement planned for the next five to 10 years. To this end, he said Klaveness had signed a skills development agreement with the South African Maritime Training Academy, in partnership with SAIMI, and invested heavily in the country’s national cadetship programme. “We see tremendous opportunities, both from a commercial engagement and people development perspectives,” said Eide. But, he warned, the current retention rate of 54% of trainees could force Klaveness to re-evaluate its position . . .
Are you one of the lucky South African consumers expecting to receive a 13th cheque or tax refund soon? It can bring some financial relief (if used prudently) especially as December is one of the most, if not THE most, expensive month of the year. Have you done some financial planning to sensibly make your ‘little bit extra’ work for you and your finances? Matthys Potgieter, spokesperson and debt expert at DebtSafe, says consumers that are struggling to keep up with their debt repayments are increasing by the minute. “And, as a result of this, you can witness people having impaired credit records as well as major financial (in some cases legal) problems,” adds Potgieter. Potgieter suggests that you should consider making wise choices when you receive your ‘little bit extra’ this year. He highlights that you can either be a spender, saver or user, which one would you rather be? The risky spender It’s is always fun to do a bit of splurging but, as you know, life is expensive and economic times are currently tough for South Africans. DebtSafe, therefore, recommends that you only spend a little this December (if you can really afford it). Rather spend a few bucks on that holiday that you need to pay off, instead of being a risky spender by spending all your bonus money on unnecessary, expensive items. The cautious saver If you are in a position to save your entire bonus or have money left from your tax refund amount (after your necessary debt payments etc.), why don’t you save it? Tuck your entire bonus or a part of your tax return into your rainy day / emergency fund. Life happens and you never know how much your ‘little bit extra’ savings may come in handy, especially when you really need it. The wise user Potgieter recommends that a bonus or tax refund can be put to productive use by paying off excessive debt. So if you relate to this, there is one of two things that you can do: 1. you can either make use of the so-called snowball effect by paying . . .
(Port Elizabeth) – In a welcome year-end boost for the lagging Nelson Mandela Bay construction industry, ground is set to break in December on the R1-billion Phase One development of the government-backed Florida Heights integrated housing development. According to the developer behind the project, Sakhisizwe, more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created during the five-year roll-out of the first “integrated development” housing scheme for the Eastern Cape, on a hill overlooking Despatch, along the R367 across the Swartkops River. The scheme – one of the “catalytic projects” identified by the national Department of Human Settlements throughout South Africa – is also set to be an economic injection for Despatch and neighbouring Uitenhage. Attracting low to middle income residents, Phase One will see 1,020 housing units developed alongside community and mixed-use facilities, with Phase Two – which is in the planning stages and is set to be completed in about 15 years’ time – to include a further 12,030 residential opportunities. The entire project is set to accommodate approximately 45,000 residents. Florida Heights will be profiled at the provincial housing indaba next month. “This is a critical and much-needed project for the Bay, and one we are excited to break ground on,” said Sakhisizwe chief executive William Charles, whose company was also involved in the development of the Port of Ngqura. “As founders and proponents of Sakhisizwe Trust, Sylvia Charles and I have spent many years thoroughly researching integrated developments abroad – especially those in Germany and the Netherlands – and tailoring this project to fit the needs of local low to middle income residents,” said Charles. The Bay has a total housing backlog of over 80,000 units, according to the national Housing Development Agency’s technical assessment framework report for the Florida Heights scheme. Of the development, the agency’s report also outlines intended . . .