Business Briefs 27-09-07

Dip in inflation
ZIMBABWE'S inflation rate slowed to 6,592,8% year-on-year in August, from a
record 7,634,8% in July, the Central Statistical Office said last week.
CSO director Moffat Nyoni attributed the improvement to a sharp slowdown in prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages. <

BR>The year began with inflation at 1,593,6% before rising 1,729,9%, 2,200,2% and 3,713,9% in February, March and April. In May and June, inflation rose to 4,350% and 7,251,1% respectively.
 E-ticketing extended
AIR Zimbabwe has introduced an electronic ticketing system covering all of Air Zimbabwe’s domestic, regional and international offices as well as travel agents linked to Galileo.
The airline first introduced e-ticketing in June, starting with domestic flights, and then extended it in the following three months to most of its regional and international destinations.
“For travellers, electronic tickets are expected to offer more convenience as they replace the rather cumbersome manual and automated tickets,” the airline said. “They can be processed though Internet bookings and allow for easier handling of changes to one’s itinerary.”
Air Zimbabwe has also made some key appointments. Innocent Mavhunga has been appointed head of National Handling Services, Moses Mapanda as general manager for Galileo Zimbabwe, and Isaac Sibanda as general manager for the Zimbabwe Aircraft Maintenance Centre.

Bank CEO resigns
NMB Bank chief executive David Hatendi has resigned with effect from September 30, three years after he took up the post.
He resignation follows a report by forensic auditors who unearthed fraudulent transactions of US$6,7m.
NMB said, “Hatendi had wanted to leave at the beginning of the year but the departure was stalled when the bank was hit by a massive fraud.
“Now that the issues are being handled by technical experts, the interim results having been published, and with his interests requiring his personal attention, Hatendi has sought and been granted the board’s approval to leave on 30 September.”

Zim ranked at bottom
THE World Bank has once again condemned Zimbabwe, ranking the country’s declining economy in the same league as Venezuela, Cote D’Ivoire, and Belarus.
The report represents a decade-long effort by researchers to build and update the most comprehensive cross-country set of governance indicators available for 212 countries.
The report, titled Governance Matters 2007: Worldwide Governance Indicators, 1996-2006, authored by the World Bank Institute (WBI), indicates that the quality of governance in Zimbabwe has deteriorated in the last 10 years and that corruption become more prevalent, compromising economic growth prospects and worsening poverty.
According to the report,  “Governance in Zimbabwe and Cote D’Ivoire has deteriorated sharply on every dimension … On average the quality of governance around the world has not improved much over the past decade, despite individual country improvements.
“For the countries that have done well, there have been a similar number that have experienced deteriorations in a number of governance dimensions, including Zimbabwe, Cote D’Ivoire, Belarus and Venezuela.
In making its assessment, the WBI considered six key dimensions of governance, namely control of corruption, rule of law, regulatory quality, government effectiveness, political stability and voice and accountability.

BA route cancelled
BRITISH Airways has announced that flights between Harare and London Heathrow
will be withdrawn from October 28.
The airline said it had been forced to make the “difficult decision” after losses on the route.
“We have been flying between Harare and London Heathrow for more than 75 years and it is with great regret that we have taken this difficult decision,” said Steve Harrison, British Airways’ area commercial manager for south, east and west Africa.
“We have worked hard to try to improve the profitability of the route over the past few years but, although revenues have increased, our passenger volumes have reduced and our costs have spiralled. The economic situation in Zimbabwe has contributed to a decline in market demand.”
BA will continue to have a presence in Harare through its franchise partner, Comair, which operates a daily service between Harare and Johannesburg, and between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg.
Harrison said the airline would rebook affected customers on alternative flights or provide a full refund.

Mwana majority share
DIVERSIFIED miner Mwana Africa PLC says it now owns approximately 84,2% of the outstanding SouthernEra Diamonds Inc shares after completing its offer for
148,9 million Class A common shares not already owned in the diamond-mining
According to Mineweb, Mwana, formerly known as African Gold PLC, holds exploration assets in a range of commodities as well as production assets in
Zimbabwe, the DRC and Ghana.
Mwana assets include nickel and gold mines in Zimbabwe, mainly Metallon Gold, gold-exploration projects in Ghana, and gold, zinc and copper-cobalt projects in the DRC.
Last week, on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM, Mwana Africa had gained 2,02% to trade at 63,75 pence, bringing the company’s market capitalisation to £201,569m,
Turnall turnover up
TURNALL Holdings Ltd released a fair set of interims for the Half Year 2007, with turnover up 15,083% to $205bn.
Export sales during the period under review amounted to R9,9m that the company believes should have boosted the bottom line if the exchange rate had been fairly valued.
The growth in turnover was driven mainly by overall growth in volumes of 33% to 32,043 tonnes. Export volumes grew by 30% over the comparative period.
Operating profit was $79,1bn after a finance charge of $12,9bn, resulting in margins declining from 54% to 39%, largely in response to the cost pressures and poor margin performance on the export front.
PAT was $68,1bn compared $578m during the same period last year and BEPS rose $11,342% to $146,45. The company closed the period with cash resources of $42,4bn. An interim dividend of $49,74 per share was declared.

New mine ‘framework’
 GOVERNMENT is working on a legal and policy framework for the local diamond sector to make it mandatory that a minimum percentage of the mineral is reserved for local beneficiation works, a Cabinet minister told the House of Assembly last week.
The Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Amos Midzi, said his ministry was already talking to local diamond producers.
The minister was responding to a report by the Portfolio Committee on Mines, Energy and Tourism on the gold and diamond sector, which had been presented by Highfield Member of House of Assembly, Pearson Mungofa of the MDC.
“All local producers agree to the retention of a quota for the local cutting and polishing factories. However, the ministry is drafting legal and policy frameworks for the local diamond sector wherein it will be mandatory that a minimum percentage of local diamond production be reserved for local beneficiation works,” said Midzi.

Minister visits Cuba
THE Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, attended a Joint Intergovernmental Commission in Cuba.
In declarations to Prensa Latina, he expressed satisfaction with Cuban cooperation in several spheres, especially public health, and said he hoped to create ties in other fields. – Own Correspondent

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