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South African mining tycoon Neal Froneman criticizes government’s attitude toward sector

The Sibanye-Stillwater CEO took issue with South Africa’s sluggish stance on attaining carbon neutrality.

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Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman.

Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman has criticized the South African government’s sluggish attitude toward attaining carbon neutrality. He underscored that its position endangers mining businesses and renders them less competitive than they should be. 

Sibanye-Stillwater is the world’s largest producer of platinum group metals.

Times Live recently reported the businessman as saying that government restrictions on electricity self-generation make it impossible for the mining industry to meet global carbon neutrality targets and lead to severe consequences for South African exports. 

In a statement, Froneman said: “Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has again rejected appeals by businesses to raise the threshold for embedded generation from 10MW to 50MW.”

He reiterated that the deadline for reaching world carbon neutrality targets has already been set for 2040. However, Sibanye-Stillwater still faces tremendous pressure from stakeholders to meet these targets by 2030, which it is committed to doing. However, Froneman said, Mantashe is making it “very difficult” to accomplish this objective.

Gold miners are among the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters. Greenhouse gas Scope-1 and -2* emissions from gold are higher than those of copper, nickel, iron ore, and metallurgical coal. 

In November, Reuters reported that investors were mounting pressure on gold miners — whose high greenhouse gas emissions have been less scrutinized — to operate transparently and take concrete steps to curb emissions. However, Sibanye-Stillwater has blamed its high Scope-2 emission levels in part on the South African national grid’s dependency on coal-fired electricity generated by the Eskom state power firm.

“Sibanye has a 50MW-project it wants to get off the ground but hasn’t been able to get regulatory approval, and a 250MW project waiting for approval in the Rustenburg area,” Time Live quoted Froneman as saying. “If South Africa doesn’t make these moves very quickly, there will come a time when we can’t sell our products because they are dirty, just like coal,” he said.

During an industry webinar in February, Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter supported lifting the embedded generation threshold from 10 MW to 50 MW. This followed a report by Meridian Economics and EE Business Intelligence, which showed that such a relaxation could release 5,000 MW or more of additional energy capacity within five years.

The benefits of lifting the threshold to 50MW include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring more predictable electricity cost hikes, increasing projects involved in renewable energy and security and creating a consistent energy supply for the mining sector. 

The problem with Eskom

Coal remains South Africa’s foremost energy source. Since 2018, the country’s giant electricity coal plants have suffered from power cuts that have forced some investors to leave the country due to their inability to secure an adequate power supply. 

The economic problems caused by the coal electricity grid already positioned the country for a recession, long before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Worse off, investors and climate activists are calling on the government and businesses to cut down on electrical coal plant use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the climate.

*Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Scope: The GHG Protocol has defined three scopes of emissions, Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3. Scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting company. Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain.

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Namibian tycoon Quinton van Rooyen’s Trustco wins round in court against JSE

Shares in the group rose 35.56 percent as a result.

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Quinton van Rooyen.

Trustco Group, an investment holding majority owned by Namibian businessman Quinton van Rooyen and his family, has won a round in court against the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

The Pretoria High Court ruled that the company may not be suspended from the JSE until the hearing of its review application in September.

The presiding judge, Nicoline Janse van Nieuwenhuizen, pre-dismissed every argument made against Trustco. The judge issued a decision, in which she ordered the JSE to be interdicted and restrained from suspending Trustco shares from trading on the local bourse.

“The grounds of review are all deserving of a proper hearing in due course, and I am satisfied that Trustco has asserted a prima facie right to fair and just administrative action,” she said in her decision.

In response to the news, shares in the group rose 35.56 percent to R0.61 ($0.0367), from a price of R0.45 ($0.0271) at the start of trading this morning.

The increase in Trustco’s share price pushed its market capitalization above R985 million ($60 million) and the value of van Rooyen’s 63.94-percent stake above R630 million ($38 million).

The court also prohibited the JSE from implementing or attempting to implement the decision that Trustco restate its annual financial statements for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, as well as the interim results for the six months ending Sept. 30, 2019.

The legal battle between Trustco and the JSE began on Nov. 11, 2020, when the exchange’s authorities claimed that the company had not met the listing requirements for its 2019 annual financial statements and 2020 interim results.

As part of the allegations, the JSE accused Trustco of violating international accounting standards by misrepresenting features of two loans and reclassifying land that it owns.

Trustco questioned the JSE’s authority to order corporations to amend their financial statements. It claimed that only boards have that authority and stated that all transactions had been “exactly accounted for, reported, and disclosed.”

Amid the legal battle between Trustco and the JSE, wary local bourse investors sold their stakes in the company, fearing a potential delisting of its shares, which caused the share price to crash to an all-time low in July before rebounding recently by double digits.

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South African tycoon Jens Montanana’s Datatec acquires UK-based firm after closing $252-million deal

Datatec is a South African ICT services provider.

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Jens Montanana.

Logicalis UK&I has acquired Q Associates, one of the UK’s leading IT consultancies services, as part of its strategy to expand its expertise in digital infrastructure.

Logicalis UK&I is a wholly owned subsidiary of Datatec, a South African multinational technology group led by businessman Jens Montanana.

The news comes after Datatec sold its management consulting business for R4.12 billion ($252 million) to UK fund manager Bridgepoint Development Capital.

The acquisition, which provides IT consultancy services for data management, protection, compliance, and information security, aligns with the group’s strategic growth plans.

Montanana, Datatec’s CEO, commented on the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, stating that it will broaden Logicalis UK&I’s reach and add value to customers across industries.

“The acquisition of Q Associates will extend the reach and skills of Logicalis UK&I, underlining our commitment to grow and provide increased value to customers across all sectors, especially higher education and government secured services,” he said.

According to a press release obtained by Billionaires.Africa, the transaction complements Logicalis UK&I’s core expertise in digital infrastructure, networking, and cloud, enabling a broader portfolio of best-in-class solutions and services for customers operating in a digitally enabled world.

Datatec is a South African provider of ICT services, specializing in software and cloud computing solutions such as Infrastructure as a Service and Software as a Service.

The ICT services company has expanded to more than 50 countries across North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific under the leadership of Montanana, who founded the group in 1986 and owns a significant 11.98-percent stake in the group.

The multinational technology group sold its management consulting business Analysys Mason to Bridgepoint Development Capital for R4.12 billion ($252 million) more than a month ago in a move to unlock value from its investments in the technology industry.

As of press time, Datatec shares were trading at R44 ($2.64) per share, 25 basis points lower than their opening price on the local bourse this morning, giving the group a valuation of R9.78 billion ($588 million).

Montanana’s position in the company is valued at R1.17 billion ($70.4 million).

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Zimbabwean exec Andrew Chimphondah-led Shelter Afrique recovers $5.7 million in troubled projects

Chimphondah is known for his successful business turnarounds.

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Zimbabwean senior executive Andrew Chimphondah.

Shelter Afrique, a pan-African housing financier led by Zimbabwean senior executive Andrew Chimphondah, announced that it recovered Ksh687.19 million ($5.7 million) from some of its troubled real estate projects in Kenya at the end of its 2021 fiscal year, which ended on Dec. 30, 2021.

The recovery is the result of efforts taken by Shelter Afrique’s management to put the financial institution on the path of sustainable growth and reduce its mounting non-performing loans.

Chimphondah was appointed managing director in September 2018.

“In 2021, the management sustained the recovery efforts anchored in the 2020-2023 board-approved non-performing loan management strategy,” Macharia Kihuro, special operations manager, said.

He went on to stated that the company has regularly reviewed the success and effectiveness of its non-performing loan management strategies through its special operations unit.

According to BusinessDaily, the housing financier earlier disclosed that it was able to recover collateral totaling Ksh533.7 million ($4.47 million), including 15 housing units in unnamed local projects, 11 apartments in Eden Beach Resort & Spa in Mombasa, and vacant land.

Beatrice Mburu, Shelter Afrique’s acting CFO, said earnings for the period were bolstered by $2.53 million in impairment recoveries from its $4.34 million investment in the Spring Green project in Kenya, which went bad, and the $4.47 million that it recovered from various Kenyan properties.

Shelter Afrique’s financial performance for the period represents a strategic turnaround for the institution.

Chimphondah, who has more than 20 years of leadership experience in real estate finance and retail and commercial banking, is known for his successful business turnarounds.

Last year, Zimbabwean executive led Shelter Afrique to an $11-million housing deal with the African Banking Corporation in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The housing loan, which is due in 2027, will be used to build 2,500 residential units, for mortgage origination, home extensions and improvements, and for affordable housing and commercial project lending.

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