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South Africa’s Afrimat withdraws takeover bid for Universal Coal

Following extensive consideration Afrimat has decided not to proceed with the acquisition

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South Africa’s Afrimat withdraws takeover bid for Universal Coal
Kangala Plant - Photo credit: Universal coal

South African open pit mining firm, Afrimat Limited has withdrawn its offer to buy Australian-listed Universal Coal given the size and complexity of the transaction, it announced on Wednesday. 

In April, Afrimat bid for Universal, a company with operations in South Africa, for $0.2798 per share as part of its diversification strategy.

At that time, Universal which also supplies coal to state-owned power utility Eskom, had also received a revised takeover offer from a consortium led by South African entity Ata Resources, with a cash consideration lifted to 36 cents from earlier offer of 35 cents. 

“Following a thorough due diligence process and extensive consideration Afrimat’s board and management has decided not to proceed with the acquisition given the size and nature of the transaction”, Afrimat said in a statement. 

Shares of Universal fell as much as 16.4% to a near one-year low of A$0.255 after the withdrawal of Afrimat’s takeover offer.

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Mali’s new mining rules end tax exemptions

The regulatory change seeks to bring a “substantial increase” in the contribution of the mining sector

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New Mali mining law removes tax exemption

Mining companies operating in Mali will no longer be exempt from value-added tax during production and will only be protected from fiscal changes for a shorter period.

The regulatory change seeks to redress the “shortcomings” of a 2012 law by bringing a “substantial increase” in the contribution of the mining sector to the economy, the Mines Ministry said in a statement.

However, some industry watchers view the code change as a new instance of so-called “resource nationalism” and will likely spark tensions between the Malian government and mining companies.

Mali is currently Africa’s third-largest gold producer.

The regulation shortens the “stability period” during which mining companies’ existing investments are protected from changes to fiscal and customs regimes.

Changes to regulatory stability clauses have been strongly opposed by international mining companies elsewhere in Africa, most notably in the Democratic Republic of Congo where miners spent months at loggerheads with the government.

Under Mali’s previous law, stability was ensured for 30 years. It was however not made clear what the length of the new stability period would be, but the Economy Ministry said last year that the government aimed to reduce those protections to the lifespan of a mine.

“It’s the reality of the playing field at the moment, a lot of companies in Mali will have looked at what happened in DRC and Tanzania and they will have to be very cautious,” said Warren Beech, partner and head of mining at Eversheds Sutherland in Johannesburg.

Mali’s government had been negotiating with a working group of mining companies to draft a new code but said last year that it would move to implement a new law unilaterally if no compromise was reached.

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Forbes lists South Africa’s Trevor Noah as world’s 4th-richest comedian

Noah, whose ranking makes him the richest comedian in Africa, earned a whopping $28m in the period between June 2018 and June 2019

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Forbes lists South Africa's Trevor Noah as world's 4th-richest comedian
U.S-based South African comedian, Trevor Noah. (Comedy Central/AFP)

South African comedian, Trevor Noah is the fourth-highest paid comedian in the world, according to the Forbes Rich List 2019.

This is the first time the 35-year-old star has made it into the magazine’s top 10 since he began his work.

Noah, whose ranking makes him the richest comedian in Africa, earned a whopping $28m in the period between June 2018 and June 2019 from various projects, including his day job as the TV host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”.

Most of his income, however, came from his 70-stop world tour as a stand-up comedian, making him eligible for the list of richest stand-ups.

In the 2019 list, the South African came behind Kevin Hart ($59m), Jerry Seinfeld ($41), Jim Gaffigan ($30m).

Other than his tour, sources of Noah’s 2018 income were his two shows on Netflix, and book sales from his bestselling autobiography “Born A Crime”, which is still ranked No. 1 on the New York Times’ bestseller list for paperback nonfiction.

Forbes lists South Africa's Trevor Noah as world's 4th-richest comedian
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images/AFP

As a group, the top 10 best-paid comedians raked in $272m, that’s $20m less than the previous period.

The reduction in earnings among the top comedians has been attributed to reduced action among some, including Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle, who came in at $30m and $35m last year, respectively.

Trevor Noah’s ‘The Daily Show’ has become quite popular, with the South African inspiring laughter from topics ranging from politics to daily life events.

Noah joined the show in 2014 as a contributor, some two years after making his U.S. television debut on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”

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Zimbabwe to issue new currency notes to counter cash shortage

Zimbabwe abandoned the Zimbabwe dollar in 2009, after a bout of hyperinflation in favour of currencies like the dollar and rand

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Zimbabwe to issue new currency notes to counter cash shortage

Zimbabwe will issue new notes and coins soon to replace the country’s quasi-currency that was introduced three years ago in a failed attempt to counter a crippling shortage of cash.

The return to a fully-fledged local currency exchangeable outside the country’s borders will be backed by an undisclosed amount of foreign-exchange reserves, gold and loans, according to the country’s finance minister, Mthuli Ncube.

Zimbabwe abandoned the Zimbabwe dollar in 2009, after a bout of hyperinflation in favour of a basket of currencies including the US dollar and the South African rand.

In a bid to deal with the subsequent cash shortages, it introduced so-called bond notes and RTGS dollars in their electronic form, which are not accepted outside the country.

Ncube re-introduced the Zimbabwe dollar in June, accompanied by a ban on the use of foreign currencies-leading to a rapid erosion of spending power with the local dollar trading at almost 10 to the greenback.

Bond notes were officially said to be at parity as recently as February.

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