TOP 5 ON FIN24: SA retailers, Bell Pottinger and a bit of Telkom

Cape Town - Bell Pottinger suffers the consequences of interfering in South Africa's affairs, retailers Massmart and Woolworths released results, Steinhoff got punished after a magazine report claimed CEO Markus Jooste was being probed in a fraud case and Telkom launched its zero-rated streaming platform.

#ICYMI, here's a round-up of the top stories on Fin24.

Bell Pottinger said to have breached code on Guptas

A UK body is expected to rule on Bell Pottinger, after it found that the PR firm was in breach of the code of conduct of the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) through its work for Gupta-owned Oakbay.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) who laid the complaint against Bell Pottinger, said the ruling is expected in the week of September 4. The Professional Practices Committee (PPC) held a hearing last week, where the DA presented its complaint.

The complaint that the firm fuelled racial hatred in the country through its work for Oakbay was upheld and the PPC agreed it violated the Professional Charter. “We have now received confirmation that our complaint stands and Bell Pottinger will now be given five days to appeal the PRCA’s decision if it so chooses,” the DA's Phumzile van Damme said.

If Bell Pottinger appeals, the PRCA’s board of management will consider the appeal. They can either approve, amend, or overrule the decision by the PPC and publish a final decision during the week beginning September 4 2017, she explained.

Steinhoff rejects 'allegations of dishonesty' amid share plunge

Steinhoff International shares have slumped the most on record after reports that CEO Markus Jooste is among employees being investigated in a 2015 case tied to possible fraud.

The South African clothing and food retailer came out in support of its CEO, rejecting “allegations of dishonesty” made in a Manager-Magazin report, saying substantial information in the article is “wrong or misleading”.

Political uncertainty impacts Woolworths growth

Difficult trading conditions in South Africa and Australia have impacted the growth of retailer Woolworths [JSE:WHL].

According to the retail group’s annual results for the financial year ended June 25 2017, bottom line growth was 25.2% to R5.4bn.

CEO Ian Moir told Fin24 in an interview on Thursday that the company finds itself in the middle of an unbelievable economic and structural change in SA.

"The economic and political issues in SA have impacted our business - especially our clothing business. It impacts all retailers in SA. Yet, only one retailer managed to grow more than we did," said Moir.

He believes the ANC National Conference in December will be a watershed for the country.

Massmart still bullish about Africa - CEO

Despite a tough trading environment in Africa, Massmart [JSE:MSM] chief executive Guy Hayward is still positive about operational growth prospects on the continent.

The retail group, which owns Game, Builders, DionWired, Makro and Jumbo among others, released its interim results for the period ended June 25 2017 on Thursday.

Speaking at the results presentation in Johannesburg, Hayward outlined the group’s strategy, which involves finding new growth outside South Africa.

“Despite the headwinds in Africa, we expect it will grow faster than South Africa. We must be there,” he said. The group expects growth in the Africa space to increase by 17.1% in the next two years.

Telkom launches its zero-rated streaming platform LIT

Fixed and mobile operator Telkom has bolstered its service offering to customers with its game-changing zero-rated streaming platform LIT.

LIT, available from September 1, will allow Telkom’s contract customers to stream TV, videos and music for free with no data cost.

Telkom’s LIT Video and LIT Music offering will allow video and music streaming to its FreeMe 2GB and upwards customers.

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