Underground mining lifts M&R in challenging market

Engineering and construction group Murray & Roberts (M&R) reported a strong rise in results for the six months to December 31 on the back of a robust performance from its underground mining unit, as well as reduced Middle Eastern losses. In addition, the results were buoyed by the fact that a R170-million Voluntary Rebuild Programme charge did not recur durign the period. The payment arose as a result of a deal with the South African government, which followed a well-publicised settlement with the competition authorities, which found widespread collussion in the construction sector.

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Balwin expects to report lower FY18 earnings

JSE-listed Balwin Properties expects to report a 23% to 28% year-on-year decrease in headline earnings a share and a 23.21% to 28.19% year-on-year decrease in earnings a share for the year ended February 28.       Balwin said in a trading statement on Wednesday that it has experienced delays in obtaining town planning and local authority approvals for the start of construction on certain new developments around the country.

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Attacq lifts interim NAV, says transition to Reit on track

JSE-listed Attacq reported a 10.1% increase in its net asset value to R23.51-billion for the six months ended December 31. The group generated distributable earnings a share of 38.9c, while its gearing ratio improved from 41.4% to 36.2%.

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Aveng outlines new business plan, posts H1 loss

JSE-listed Aveng, which posted a headline loss of R335-million for the half year ended December 31, on Tuesday outlined details of the outcome of its strategic review, which involved a very “thorough and robust interrogation” of all parts of the business. The review was aimed at  identifying the businesses and assets that are core to the group and which support its overall long-term strategy, determining the most appropriate operating structure, as well as identifying a sustainable future capital and funding model.

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WBHO sees 67% jump in profit, believes the cycle has bottomed out

Despite the changing political landscape in South Africa, the construction industry, which has been in the doldrums over the last 24 months, will not immediately experience a change in fortunes, warns Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon (WBHO) CEO Louwtjie Nel. “Government has lots of obligations. We won’t see any big projects soon”.

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MAS records 98% increase in H1 distributable earnings

JSE-listed MAS Real Estate increased its distributable earnings by 98% year-on-year to €17.1-million for the six months ended December 31.   “The improvement in distributable earnings was driven by the full period effect of accretive acquisitions, the completion of developments and the deployment of capital into property development company PKM Developments,” CEO Morné Wilken said in a statement on Monday.   Further, MAS’s acquisition pipeline under due diligence, across Western Europe and Central Eastern Europe (CEE), totals more than €400-million, with substantial acquisitions to be completed within the next six to twelve months.  Meanwhile, mitigating the group’s future funding obligations in relation to PKM Developments has been a strategic priority, Wilken said.

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JSE to launch project bonds in March

Africa’s largest bourse, the JSE, will begin listing “project bonds” from mid-March, an official said on Monday, giving institutional investors a window to invest in infrastructure projects. The bonds will provide private firms a chance to get a foothold in infrastructure projects in Africa’s most industrialised economy, where project financing has traditionally come from banks and government.

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Basil Read shares rise as it successfully completes rights offer

JSE-listed construction company Basil Read’s shares on Monday rose 4.17%, after reporting that its rights offer, aimed at raising R300-million, received full support. The company issued 1.36-billion shares at 22c apiece – a discount to the 65c apiece closing share price on January 26.

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Green shoots seen in construction industry, despite tight conditions

The South African construction sector is still facing “very tough and difficult” conditions, with the 2.5% inflation rate creating an even tighter environment, Econometrix chief economist Dr Azar Jamine said on Friday. Speaking to industry representatives during an Afrisam-hosted post-Budget briefing, he said this cast a negative shadow over employment, as the construction industry created more informal employment than any other sector in the country.

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Accéntuate aims for recovery as political power changes hands

Flooring, water and chemicals specialist Accéntuate experienced a tough six months to December 31, 2017, with the company moving from a R3.5-million profit in the same period in 2016, to a loss of R1.78-million. Accéntuate said on Friday that its business had suffered on the back of depressed macroeconomic conditions, political uncertainty and a lack of confidence in the country.

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