By Edward West for IOL
Attacq, the real estate investment trust (Reit) that holds Mall of Africa and Waterfall City among its assets, said the easing of lockdown restrictions from March 1, 2021 had resulted in a marked improvement in trading density growth at its retail centres.
All its tenants were able to trade with minimal restrictions, the group said yesterday in an update of its retail portfolio’s trading performance, and progress made to improve its capital structure.
At Mall of Africa, trading density improved 33 percent versus March 2020, compared with a 0.8 percent decline recorded in February over the same month a year before, and a 14.1 percent decline in January on the same basis.
Brooklyn Mall saw trading density up 7 percent on the same basis, compared with a 17 percent decline in February and a 14.1 percent decline in January.
Eikestad Mall saw trading density up 12.7 percent in March, versus a 24.5 percent decline in February and a 30.6 percent decline in January.
Attacq’s operations for the first six months of the 2021 financial year had been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic’s second wave of infections and further national lockdown restrictions.
Post-December 31, Attacq settled 35.8 million euro of euro debt from proceeds of the disposal of MAS Real Estate shares, significantly de-risking foreign exchange risk.
Assuming the debt repayment took place on July 1, 2020, Attacq’s gearing ratio at December 31, 2020 would have improved to 44.1 percent from 46.3 percent.
Attacq had also started refinancing its R3.3 billion syndicated loan secured by the portfolios of its subsidiaries, Attacq Retail Fund Proprietary and Lynnwood Bridge Office Park, R2.9bn of which matures during the 2022 calendar year.
The refinance was expected to be implemented by June 30, 2021, while the balance of the loan of R300m was expected to be repaid with proceeds from the sale of assets.
Attacq’s share price increased 1.1 percent to R7.38 on the JSE yesterday afternoon. It was trading at R5.12 at the same day last year.
The share closed 1.37 percent higher at R7.40 on the JSE yesterday.
P-E Corporate Services has released its 2019/2020 Salary Trends report, which shows the average salary increase in South Africa over the last year was 6.2%.
The P-E Corporate Services Salary Trends report is based on over 500 benchmarked positions across all industries.
The data is gathered from over 800 organisations employing in excess of 1.5-million staff, representing over 10% of South Africa’s economically-active population.
The report also provides market data for different levels of staff in South Africa, from lower-level income to middle/line management.
The report stated that the average salary increase was 6.2%, down from 6.4% the previous year.
While there has been a downward trend in annual salary increases in South Africa, inflation has also decreased during the period.
When adjusted for inflation, the average salary increases in South Africa have improved over the past five years.
The 2019/2020 Salary Trends report further revealed that construction staff received the lowest average increase at 5.8%.
Employees in the information technology sector also saw a consistent decline in salary increases over the past five years – down from 7.2% in 2015 to 6.5% last year.
Employees at state-owned enterprises, however, received the highest average salary increase at 7.1%. This was significantly higher than most private companies.
According to a report by Netwerk24, Discovery is paying approximately R280-million a year – or R23-million a month – to rent its new offices in Sandton.
By 2022, Discovery anticipates paying R400-million a year, and R600-million in 2028. After 15 years the building will not be transferred to Discovery, and a new rental agreement has to be drawn up. Growthpoint is the majority shareholder in the building.
Business Insider reports that Discovery has entered into a 15-year rental contract with property group Growthpoint, which developed 1 Discovery Place for more than R3-billion. The building has a roof-top running track and a gymnasium that can accommodate up to 3 000 members.
This comes after Discovery clients were hit with a weighted 9.2% increase across medical plans for 2019. In addition, Discovery Vitality plans were increased by between 8.4% and 12.5%.
According to Business Tech, Discovery has 2.8-million beneficiaries, and with an open medical scheme market share of approximately 56%.
Image credit: Discovery
One of the biggest changes in finance minister Malusi Gigaba’s recent budget speech was the proposed increase of the VAT rate to 15%.
While the rate is still subject to final parliamentary approval, it is expected to come into effect from 1 April 2018.
Despite the increase being the first in over two decades, the VAT Act currently contains a number of rules which cater for an increase in the VAT rate.
These rules cover, for example, what happens when contracts have been entered into before the VAT rate is increased, where no invoice has yet been issued or payment received.
They also explain why its important to actively track and issue receipts when these transactions are made, to ensure that the correct VAT rate is applied.
Di Hurworth, director of Value Added Tax at KPMG South Africa, broke down exactly how these rules will work when the VAT rate changes in April:
Should goods have been provided before 1 April, or services performed before 1 April, then the current VAT rate (14%), not the new VAT rate of 15%, will apply.
Should goods be provided on a periodic basis or services be performed over a period which falls before and after the effective date of 1 April, then an apportionment must be made on a fair and reasonable basis and the 14% VAT rate will apply to the portion before 1 April 2018, and the VAT rate of 15% will apply on the portion of the supply of goods or services from 1 April 2018.
Specific rules relate to the sale of fixed property.
Hurworth said that there were also special considerations where the time of supply (invoice or payment) falls within the period from the date the minister announces the increase in the VAT rate (21 February 2018) and ending on 1 April 2018.
“If the goods will be provided more than 21 days after 1 April, or the services will be performed after 1 April, the new VAT rate should be charged on the supply of goods or services – i.e. 15%,” she said.
“However, there are certain exceptions to this. This rule therefore prevents invoices being raised before 1 April where goods will be supplied more than 21 days after the effective date.”
Source: Supermarket & Retailer
South Africa’s unemployment rose to its highest in 13 years in the third quarter, with manufacturing, mining and agriculture sectors all shedding jobs, the statistics agency said on Tuesday.
Africa’s most industrialised economy has grown lethargically over the last six years, making it hard to recoup the one million jobs lost during a 2008/9 recession.
The jobless rate rose to 27.1 percent of the labour force in the three months to September, from 26.6 percent in the second quarter, Statistics South Africa said on Tuesday.
“Unemployment is the highest since 2003. The highest unemployment rate prior to 2003 was probably around 30 percent in 2000,” Statistician-General Pali Lehohla told a news conference.
The rand held its ground despite the gloomy jobs data, propped up by firmer metal prices which boosted commodity currencies. It traded at 14.0800/dollar by 1110 GMT, slightly off a session high of 14.0525 but still up 0.9 percent on the day.
Stats SA said 5.873 million people were without jobs in the third quarter, compared with 5.634 million previously.
“The sectors that are the real economy have generated negative growth, both quarter on quarter and year on year. Manufacturing mining and agriculture have all been losing jobs,” Lehohla said.
The manufacturing sector, which accounts for about 15 percent of gross domestic product, lost 28 000 jobs while mining lost 9 000.
The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, was slightly lower at 36.3 percent in the third quarter, from 36.4 percent in the second.
A petrol price hike of between 17 cents and 18 cents a litre is likely in May‚ according to the Automobile Association (AA).
Diesel and illuminating paraffin‚ however‚ are set for decreases of 11c to 12c a litre.
Commenting on unaudited mid-month data released by the Central Energy Fund (CEF)‚ the AA said on Monday that rising international oil prices were continuing to do battle with gains in the rand/dollar exchange rate.
“We are seeing a gradual‚ but sustained return of strength to petroleum prices‚” the AA says.
“On the international market‚ diesel and petrol prices have risen since late February‚” the Association explains.
“The appreciation of the rand against the US dollar has gone some way to offset this‚ meaning that diesel and illuminating paraffin are heading for reduced prices‚ while petrol is set to climb‚” it adds.
“Both the exchange rate and international oil prices continue to be volatile‚ and the month-end picture could be quite different from the current one‚” the AA says.
A loss of R636m on both foreign exchange movements and failed hedging strategy worsened Edcon Holdings’ loss in the quarter ended June.
Mondi has said it will raise the price of its uncoated fine paper (UFP) by up to 12% in its upcoming quarter.
Logistics transport costs for companies are set to skyrocket as the fuel price continues to rise, says Morne Janse van Rensburg, CEO of VSc Solutions.