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Engineering News | Latest News

Engineering News is South Africa’s premier source of weekly real-economy news on projects, products, policies, personalities and technoeconomic progress, covering a wide range of industries – from agroprocessing to information technology.

Kenya Airways is said to put CFO Mwariri on compulsory leave

Kenya Airways sent acting Chief Financial Officer Hellen Mwariri on compulsory leave, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. Mwariri is under investigation by the board for allegedly leaking sensitive company information, two of the people said. She did not respond to a text message request for comment and calls to her mobile phone didn’t connect. Kenya Airways’ communications director, Dennis Kashero, didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 3:56 pm

Water dept to engage stakeholders on interim IncoMaputo agreement

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) will on October 1 implement the Interim IncoMaputo Water Use Agreement (IIMA) which specifies a minimum cross-border flow from the Crocodile and Komati rivers of 2 600 litres a second at the Ressano Garcia gauging station, in Mozambique. This is an increase of 600 litres a second from the current minimum of 2 000 litres a second specified in the Piggs Peak agreement.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 3:50 pm

Recent attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil highlight region’s risks – S&P

Although high inventory levels could limit the impact of the September 14 attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure, S&P Global Ratings on Tuesday said the event highlighted the region’s high geopolitical risks and the risks to spare capacity. The attack on national oil company Saudi Aramco's oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais led to an immediate drop in Saudi crude oil production of 5.7-million barrels a day, amounting to more than half of Saudi's average production this year.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 3:41 pm

Transnet, Kalagadi cement partnership with R3bn Meca 2 contract

Black-owned and woman-led Kalagadi Manganese and State-owned Transnet have cemented a partnership that will allow for the transportation of an initial one-million tonnes a year of beneficiated manganese in the form of sinter. The contract will earn Transnet in excess of R3-billion and volumes may increase to three-million tonnes a year.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 3:36 pm

ACSA reports sharp fall in profits, but remains profitable

State-owned Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has again reported a profit in its latest annual results, for the 2018/19 financial year (FY). However, that profit, of R227-million, was 58.9% down on the profit of R552-million achieved during FY2017/18. Acting CEO (Ms) Bongiwe Mbomvu affirmed, at the company’s results presentation on Tuesday, that “[w]e enter FY2020 with a healthy balance sheet”. ACSA’s revenues, R7.1-billion, were up 5.6% on those of the previous financial year (R6.7-billion). The company divides its revenues into aeronautical and non-aeronautical. Under aeronautical, landing fees were up 5%, passenger service charges rose by 7% and aircraft parking fees jumped 14%. Non-aeronautical revenues also increased.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 2:36 pm

Zambia may import 300 MW of power from South Africa, prices could double – minister

Zambia is in talks with South African power utility Eskom to import 300 MW of electricity, Energy Minister Mathew Nkhuwa said on Tuesday, adding that retail prices could double once imports begin. Zambia has a power deficit of more than 750 MW because of low water levels at hydropower dams, Nkhuwa told reporters on the sidelines of an energy meeting. He gave no timeframe for when imports could start.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 2:24 pm

Paramount’s Mbombe 4 x 4 achieves high-level certification

Global technology and aerospace business Paramount Group’s Mbombe 4 x 4, the newest addition to its advanced armoured personnel carrier family of vehicles, has received final certification for the independently verified blast tests which exceeded the criteria for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) Standardisation Agreement (STANAG) 4569 – one of the highest levels of protection that can be achieved by an armoured vehicle in its class. This announcement follows the performance of the Mbombe 4 x 4, which features flat-floor mine protection technologies pioneered by Paramount Group, during a series of explosives tests designed and executed by Landward Sciences, a programme of South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 2:17 pm

Multibillion-rand capex boost in pipeline for OR Tambo airport

Work on the engineering and construction of remote apron stands at the OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) should start this year, with the R2.4-billion project scheduled for completion in 2022, says Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) acting CFO Lindani Mukhudwani. The remote apron stands will be built next to the current air traffic control complex.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 2:13 pm

ShotSpotter deployed in Kruger National Park to fight rhino poaching

A global technology company, ShotSpotter Inc. announced on Tuesday that it has deployed gunshot detection systems in the Kruger National Park in South Africa to help combat rhino poaching. The announcement was made ahead of World Rhino Day on September 22.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 1:53 pm

Kenya Airways chairperson calls for professional board after nationalisation

Kenya Airways must avoid picking a board packed with politically-connected individuals after it is renationalised in order to ensure future success, its chairperson said on Tuesday. The loss-making airline, which is 48.9% government-owned and 7.8% held by Air France-KLM, was privatised 23 years ago but sank into debt and losses in 2014. Lawmakers voted to re-nationalise it in July.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 1:21 pm

Vitol and Mozambique's State oil firm form trading joint venture

Global energy trader Vitol and Mozambique's state oil firm, ENH, have launched a trading joint venture called ENH Energy Trading, Vitol said on Tuesday, to focus on liquefied natural gas (LNG), liquefied petroleum gas and condensate. The new entity will be incorporated and based in Singapore.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 1:19 pm

East, Southern African power grids to be connected in next 2 to 3 yrs – Kenya

The power grids of East and Southern African countries will be interconnected in the next two to three years after completion of various high voltage lines, paving the way for regional trade, a senior Kenyan energy official said on Tuesday. Power shortages and outages are common across both regions and businesses often complain that poor or erratic supplies discourage investors and push up prices of local products, as many firms end up relying on costly diesel generators.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 1:16 pm

SA petrol price still expected to decrease in October – AA

An attack on a major oil facility in Saudi Arabia means that a predicted drop in the petrol price for October will be lower than anticipated, according to the Automobile Association. It now expects the price of a litre of 95 octane petrol to drop by 5 cents, and a litre of 93 octane by 20 cents in October.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 1:10 pm

Tax laws to be tightened next year following Nugent findings, Parly hears

Draft legislation to tighten governance at the South African Revenue Service will be tabled early next year, Parliament's Standing Committee on Finance heard from Sars and National Treasury on Tuesday. Treasury's Ismail Momoniat told the committee that amendments would be considered to allow for clarification of the Tax Ombud's role and outline procedures for both the appointment and removal of a Sars commissioner. Momoniat said the proposed legislative amendments would also include amendments to the South African Revenue Service Act and the Tax Administration Act. The process would include public comments and hearings, just as the Tax Administration Laws Amendment Bill did.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 1:07 pm

World Bank appoints new country director for South Africa, neighbouring States

Marie Françoise Marie-Nelly has been appointed to succeed Paul Noumba Um as the World Bank's country director for South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana and eSwatini. She has joined the World Bank's Pretoria office, effective September 16.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 11:49 am

SA SME Fund, TIA partner to invest in three venture capital funds

The SA SME Fund and the government’s Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) have announced a pioneer partnership in the National System of Innovation – a public–private partnership to coinvest R350-million across three venture capital funds. The funds are OneBio Seed Investment Fund, a biotechnology dedicated fund; Savant Venture Fund, a hardware technology incubator and Fund Manager (in which two deals have already been pre-funded by the TIA’s Seed Fund); and the newly established University Technology Fund (UTF).

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 10:45 am

Building Confidence Index reaches another low

The First National Bank/Bureau for Economic Research Building Confidence Index fell to a multiyear low of 22 in the third quarter, from 29 in the previous quarter, a two-decade low.  The current level of the index indicates that close to 80% of respondents are dissatisfied with prevailing business conditions.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 10:44 am

Stats SA to conduct Census Mini Test in preparation for Census 2021

Statistics South Africa will, from October 9 to November 6, conduct a Census 2021 Mini Test in selected areas around the country. The Census Mini Test will be conducted to prepare for the upcoming Census in 2021 and, as such, will test and review census data collection tools and systems, as well as operational methodologies.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 9:36 am

Renergen redeems A$500 000 of convertible notes

Emerging natural gas and helium producer Renergen, which is listed on the JSE and the ASX, has redeemed A$500 000 of convertible notes issued in December 2018. The notes had an interest rate of 15% a year and were convertible into shares at an equivalent price of A$0.074 a share.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 9:31 am

What African central bankers will discuss in the next ten days

Central banks in sub-Saharan Africa, already missing out on the global monetary-easing parade, just got one more reason to stay on the sidelines. Monetary authorities in key economies in the region will likely decide to hold interest rates when they meet in the next ten days. The devastating Sept. 14 attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure could increase pressure on fuel prices and inflation, adding to worries on global market volatility, trade tensions and domestic budget constraints.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 9:26 am

Cameroon taps Terminal Investment Limited to run Douala port

Switzerland's Terminal Investment Limited (TIL) has been tapped to renovate and manage Cameroon's main Douala port starting next year, the port's director-general said on Monday. Douala, located on the Atlantic coast, is the hub for Cameroon's exports of cocoa, oil and timber. It has been managed since 2015 by Bollore, but the French company was eliminated earlier in the bidding process as it sought to renew its contract.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 9:23 am

Comair posts earnings jump after settlement

South African airline Comair on Tuesday reported a jump in annual profit helped by a $78-million settlement in an anti-competition case with embattled South African Airways (SAA). Its headline earnings per share (HEPS) rose to 197.2 cents from 69.5 cents per share for the year to June 30, Comair said in an updated trading statement.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 9:13 am

Egypt and Ethiopia at odds as talks over Blue Nile dam resume

Egypt says Ethiopia has "summarily rejected" its plan for key aspects of operating a giant dam the East African nation is building on the Nile, while dismissing Ethiopia's own proposal as "unfair and inequitable". The comments in a note circulated to diplomats last week show the gap between the two countries on a project seen as an existential threat by Egypt, which gets around 90% of its fresh water from the Nile.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 8:56 am

Exxaro to take full ownership of renewables company Cennergi

Diversified resources company Exxaro Resources has concluded an agreement with Khopoli Investments, a subsidiary of Tata Power Company, to acquire Khopoli’s 50% shareholding in Cennergi for R1.55-billion. This will give Exxaro 100% ownership of Cennergi.

Posted on 17 September 2019 | 7:19 am

Eskom sought advisers to help implement government bailout

Eskom Holdings, the State-owned South African power utility with about $30-billion of debt, sought advisers on how to implement a government bailout seven months after President Cyril Ramaphosa said the company would be reorganised. Eskom issued an invitation to tender for “financial services for implementation for government support package” on Aug. 23, according to a document seen by Bloomberg. The tender, which closed on September 3, requires that the team provide its record in “providing holistic solutions to restore the viability of companies in financial distress for transaction values in excess of $1-billion.”

Posted on 16 September 2019 | 3:50 pm

Tanzania plans to extend its gas pipeline network

Tanzania said on Monday it planned to construct a 30-km pipeline to extend the country's natural gas supply network from the capital Dar es Salaam to the nearby town of Bagamoyo to provide cheaper energy for factories and households there. The country has been eager to expand supplies of natural gas to more towns to allow factories in particular to replace more costly sources of energy such as coal and imported diesel.

Posted on 16 September 2019 | 3:48 pm

Army to stay longer in gang hotspots – Ramaphosa

South African soldiers will patrol gang-ridden Cape Town streets for an extra six months after President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday extended their deployment to the end of March 2020. The army was deployed in July to help quell escalating violence that has killed hundreds this year and that some officials have likened to a war zone.

Posted on 16 September 2019 | 3:47 pm

Competition Commission refers fire protection collusion matter to tribunal

The Competition Commission has referred a case of alleged collusion against 18 fire protection companies to the Competition Tribunal. The companies allegedly implicated are Automatic Sprinkler Inspection Bureau, Belfa Solutions, Bhubesi Fire Projects, Centa KZN Sprinklers, National Security, Country Contracts, Cross Fire Management, Fire Check, Fire King, Fireco, IBR Fire Protection, Jasco Fire Solutions, Multi-Net Systems, Specifire, Sylvester Fire & Piping Services, TFMC, Tshwane Fire Sprinklers and Whip Fire Projects.

Posted on 16 September 2019 | 3:32 pm

Companies can recoup carbon tax costs through ‘carbon credits’ – consultancy

Consultancy Cova Advisory says South African businesses have a chance to recoup a significant slice of their carbon tax bill, but warns that they should not dither over this. Cova last week hosted a carbon tax seminar, in partnership with ACT Financial Solutions. The companies told attendees how they benefit from carbon offsets, which can be used to discount their carbon tax bill.

Posted on 16 September 2019 | 3:31 pm

G5 Sahel heads of State extend support to Desert to Power initiative

The G5 Sahel heads of State, at a Summit in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, last week, gave strong support to Desert to Power, an African Development Bank- (AfDB-) led initiative. The summit, "Harnessing solar energy for the socioeconomic development of the G5 Sahel countries" came on the heels of a high-level technical meeting attended by the region’s energy ministers, and development partners including the World Bank, and regional institutions such as the West African Economic and Monetary Union and Economic Community of West African States.

Posted on 16 September 2019 | 3:29 pm

Reatile Group completes Phase 2 investment in juwi South Africa

juwi Renewable Energies has concluded a second investment transaction with Reatile Renewables, with Reatile now owning a 43% equity stake in juwi’s solar photovoltaics (PV) Operations and Maintenance (O&M) business. The agreement follows the conclusion of a previous deal between juwi and Reatile earlier this year, in which Reatile took up a 20% shareholding in one of juwi’s solar PV engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) companies.

Posted on 16 September 2019 | 2:48 pm

Calgro M3, City of Johannesburg win UN sustainable city award

Residential property developer Calgro M3 and Standard Bank of South Africa has helped the City of Johannesburg win the Sustainable City and Human Settlements Award from the United Nations (UN). The award was announced at the UN’s fourteenth yearly session of the Global Forum on Human Settlements, held in Ethiopia earlier this month.

Posted on 16 September 2019 | 2:35 pm

Nigeria’s biggest tomato facility idle again as farmers dump crop

Nigeria’s biggest tomato plant is counting on the government’s restriction of food imports to sustain operations after going idle again six months after it resumed operations from an almost three-year shut down. When Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, decided to set up the plant, it was with the clear goal of supplanting imports of tomato paste mostly from China but that has suffered setbacks.

Posted on 16 September 2019 | 2:27 pm

JoJo Tanks broadens offering with Calcamite acquisition

Southern African roto moulder and water tank producer JoJo Tanks has acquired wastewater and sanitation specialist Calcamite. This continues JoJo’s transformation into a water solutions company, and follows its expansion into pumps and filtration products.

Posted on 16 September 2019 | 2:05 pm

$11bn green-energy initiative takes shape in South Africa

A plan to establish the world’s largest green-energy financing initiative is being threshed out in South Africa, which needs to reduce its environmental footprint and find innovative ways to fund debt-stricken state power utility Eskom Holdings. The plan being formulated by Meridian Economics, a Cape Town-based think tank, is under consideration by the government. It envisions the establishment of an $11-billion facility backed by development finance institutions and private funders. The new entity would lend money to Eskom at slightly below commercial rates on condition it accelerates the closure of polluting coal plants to make way for renewable energy.

Posted on 16 September 2019 | 1:59 pm

Ghana power producers say plan to save costs carries hefty bill

Ghana’s plans to stop paying for power that it doesn’t consume may cost the country as much as $2-billion in upfront claims. Private operators will not accept Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta’s proposal to renegotiate agreements and will demand the full payment of their contracts’ termination clauses, Elikplim Kwabla Apetorgbor, chief executive officer of the Chamber of Independent Power Producers, said in an interview.

Posted on 16 September 2019 | 1:56 pm

Labat Africa expands footprint with Lesotho cannabis licence purchase

Empowered JSE-listed investment holding company Labat Africa has acquired a 70% interest in the Zarenka Group for R57.5-million in shares. Zarenka has an interest in six cannabis licenses in Lesotho, which allows it to cultivate, harvest, manufacture, distribute, import and export cannabis for medical and recreational use and for any other use which is legal in the country acquiring the products.

Posted on 16 September 2019 | 1:45 pm

Policy uncertainty continues to subdue agri-sector confidence

The Agbiz/Industrial Development Corporation Agribusiness Confidence Index marginally improved to 46 points during the third quarter of the year, compared with 44 points in the second quarter. However, with the level remaining below the neutral 50-point mark, Agbiz says agribusinesses are still downbeat about business conditions in South Africa.

Posted on 16 September 2019 | 1:39 pm