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Team work boosts Telkom Kenya

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Paul Booth.

Paul Booth.

Ultimate Software going private for $11 billion dominated the international ICT market last week, while at home it was comparatively quiet.

* An interim loss from Net 1 UEPS Technologies, with revenue also down (34.5%).
* A positive trading update from MTN.
* Negative trading updates from Alaris Holdings and Silverbridge Holdings.
* The 51% acquisition by Dynamic Technologies, a software and technology group, of DotModus, a cloud solutions firm.
* The 37.45% investment by the Reatile Group, an investment holding company, in Pragma, an enterprise asset and facilities management company.
* The announcement that Kingson Capital, a Section 12J venture capital company, has a R400 million fund to invest in high-growth tech and black-owned start-up companies in SA.

* Ethio Telecom will be the first company to be privatised partially from among the four state-owned companies the Ethiopian government has decided to privatise.
* Lava International Limited, a multinational mobile phone manufacturer, has entered into the Nigerian market through the launch of its Champion series (C1, A1, N1) and smartphones Z series (Z81 2GB, Z81 3GB) and the Iris 5.
* Bharti Airtel’s Kenyan unit has agreed to combine operations with Telkom Kenya, creating the second-largest telecommunications operator in the East African nation after Safaricom.
* The appointments of Henry Craukamp as MD of Rockwell Automation Sub-Saharan Africa; and Pedro Guerreiro as MD of SAP Africa’s newly-formed Central African region.

* The acquisition by Barracuda Networks of Avast Software’s Managed Workplace, giving the former its first remote monitoring and management platform.
* The $618.5 million acquisition by Carbonite of Webroot, a leading cyber security company.
* The $11 billion acquisition by Hellman & Friedman, a private equity firm, of Ultimate Software Group, a cloud-based human resources applications developer.
* The acquisition by Kofax, a leading supplier of intelligent automation software to automate and digitally transform end-to-end business processes, of Top Image Systems, a global innovator of on-premises and cloud-based applications that optimise content-driven business processes.
* Microsoft bought DataSense, a platform for collecting and managing data within schools that is used by education-focused solution providers.
* Pegasystems purchased Infruid Labs, a business analytics and data visualisation software company.
* The acquisition by Spotify of podcast companies Gimlet and Anchor as it looks to take on Apple’s popular iTunes podcasting platform.
* STMicroelectronics purchased a majority stake in Swedish silicon carbide wafer manufacturer Norstel AB.
* The $218 million acquisition by Tesla of Maxwell Technologies, which will help the electric car-maker beef up its battery technology.

The acquisition by Spotify of podcast companies Gimlet and Anchor as it looks to take on Apple’s popular iTunes podcasting platform.

* The $185 million acquisition by Tyler Technologies, the public sector juggernaut that has been a big player in state and local government digital transformation, of MicroPact, a software company that focuses on the federal market. In addition, it has acquired MyCivic, a rapidly growing provider of citizen engagement applications.
* VMware bought AetherPal, a technology partner that enables IT administrators to remotely monitor and update devices in the field.
* Xerox purchased Vader Systems, a provider of 3D printing technology.
* The investment by NTT’s Docomo in Hatch, a spin-off of Angry Birds game-maker Rovio, in order to bring 5G gaming to Japanese consumers.
* Apple has reached a deal with France to pay an undeclared amount of back-dated tax, with French media putting the sum at around EUR500 million.
* Facebook has been ordered to curb its data collection practices in Germany after a landmark ruling that the world’s largest social network abused its market dominance to gather information about users without their consent.
* TPx Communications, formerly known as TelePacific Communications, is going public as part of a complex deal involving a special purpose acquisition company, Pensare Acquisition, which will help TPx become a Nasdaq-listed public company. The transaction values the combined companies at approximately $1.1 billion, with the new company being known as TPx Corp.
* Excellent quarterly results from Cabot Microelectronics (back in the black), IEC Electronics (back in the black) and Take Two Interactive Software.
* Very good quarterly figures from Microchip Technology (back in the black), Shutterfly, Tableau Software (back in the black) and Viavi Solutions (back in the black).
* Good quarterly numbers from Alphabet (back in the black), Carbonite (back in the black), CSG Systems International, EA (back in the black), eGain (back in the black), Entegris, Fabrinet, Fortinet (back in the black), GoPro (back in the black), Motorola Solutions (back in the black), Paycom Software, Presidio, Spotify (back in the black), Trimble (back in the black), Twitter, Ubiquiti Networks (back in the black), Ultimate Software and Vishay Intertechnology.
* Satisfactory quarterly results from Arrow Electronics, Cerner, Cognizant Technology Solutions (back in the black), Euronet Worldwide, FormFactor, Gartner, Genpact, Manhattan Associates, Radware, Rudolph Technologies, ScanSource, Sensata Technologies, Sonos, Teradata (back in the black) and VeriSign.
* Mediocre quarterly results from DXC Technology, First Data, Lumentum and NXP Semiconductors.
* Mixed quarterly figures from Amdocs, Axcelis Technologies, BCE, Brooks Automation, CDK Global, CDW, ePlus, Esco Technologies, Fiserv, Internet Initiative Japan, MTS Systems, Nuance Communications, Pitney Bowes, Quantenna Communications, Softbank, Swisscom, T-Mobile, TechTarget and Zynga, with revenue up but net income down; and, from Alliance Data, Benchmark Electronics (but back in the black), Qorvo, PC Connection, Seagate Technology, Skyworks Solutions, Snap-On, Synaptics (but back in the black), TTM Technologies and Zayo Group, with revenue down but net income up.
* Quarterly losses from A10 Networks, Aerohive Networks, Allot Communications, Alpha & Omega Semiconductor, Amtech Systems, Arlo Technologies, FireEye, ForeScout Technologies, Glu Mobile, MACOM Technology Solutions, MaxLinear, Mercari, Millicom, MobileIron, NCR, Netgear, pdvWireless, Pixelworks, Plantronics, Rapid7, RealNetworks, Snap, Tenable, Viad, ViaSat, Vocera Communications, Vodafone Idea, Westell Technologies and Zendesk.
* The appointments of Mike Baur as chairman of ScanSource (already CEO); Kevin Campbell as CEO of Backoffice Associates; Francisco D’Souza as executive vice-chairman of Cognizant Technology Solutions; Brian Humphries as CEO of Cognizant Technology Solutions; and Sanjay Mirchandani as president and CEO of CommVault Systems.
* The retirement of Steve Fischer, chairman of Scan Source; and Paul J Tufano, president and CEO of Benchmark Electronics.
* The departure of Christopher North, CEO of Shutterfly.
* An IPO filing in the US from Slack, the business messaging service provider.
* A disappointing IPO in Hong Kong from Tencent-backed Maoyan Entertainment, China’s biggest movie-ticketing platform by sales.

* JSE All share index: Down 1.3%
* FTSE100: Up 0.7%
* DAX: Down 2.4%
* NYSE (Dow): Up 0.2%
* S&P 500: Up 0.1%
* Nasdaq: Up 0.5%
* Nikkei225: Down 2.2%
* Hang Seng: Up 0.1%
* Shanghai: No change

International:
* Palo Alto Networks acquiring Demisto, a US-Israeli information security firm.
* Switzerland’s Sunrise Communications Group buying Liberty Global’s Swiss business UPC Schweiz, a broadband provider.
* Dell Technologies selling SecureWorks.

South Africa:
* More re the listing of the MultiChoice Group.

Final word

Fortune magazine has published its 2019 list of ‘The world’s most admired companies’. In the list from a technology perspective are:
* 1 Apple (no change)
* 2 Amazon (no change)
* 6 Microsoft (was 7)
* 7 Alphabet (was 3)
* 8 Netflix (was 11)
* 14 Salesforce (was 15)
* 34 Alibaba (new entrant)
* 36 Accenture (was 40)
* 40 IBM (was 35)
* 44 Facebook (was 12)
* 50 Samsung Electronics (new entrant)

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City of CT accused of dragging feet in CTICC probe

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Members of opposition parties say nothing has come of the latest investigation and believe the report will be swept under the carpet.


FILE: The Cape Town International Convention Center. Picture: South African Tourism.

CAPE TOWN – The City of Cape Town (CoCT) has been accused of dragging its feet on the completion of a forensic investigation into the expansion of the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) after several irregularities were detected in previous reports.

In December last year, an investigation was ordered by council following heated deliberations on the matter.

The expansion of the CTICC was at one stage the subject of an investigation by the Public Protector.

A forensic investigation was also initiated by former city manager Achmat Ebrahim, but nothing came of it.

African Christian Democratic Party councillor Grant Haskin now claims nothing has come of the latest investigation.

“It seems to me like there’s no sense of urgency by the city administration in implementing that council decision. The process can’t be ignored because it doesn’t suit some people.”

African National Congress councillor Xolani Sotashe believes the report will be swept under the carpet: “They have been trying hard to hide information in the past, so we have no reason not to believe that. We can count a number of issues that they have tried to sweep under the carpet.”

The city’s spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo said the investigation is still underway.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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Moody’s: Mboweni’s Budget shows further erosion in SA’s fiscal strength

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Tito Mboweni, South African Minister of Finance wa

Tito Mboweni, South African Minister of Finance walks with members of the Finance Ministry up Government Avenue to deliver his medium-term budget speech on October 24, 2018. (RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images) ~ AFP

Moody’s, the only major ratings agency that has not already downgraded SA’s sovereign debt to junk, on Wednesday responded to Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s maiden Budget by saying it “highlights the government’s limited fiscal flexibility amid a challenging economic environment”.

Moody’s currently has SA’s debt at Baa3 with a stable outlook, one notch above junk status. Rival agencies Fitch and S&P downgraded SA’s sovereign debt to non-investment grade in 2017.

Were Moody’s to downgrade SA to sub-investment grade, the country would automatically be ejected from the major Citi World Government Bond Index. This would force asset managers to sell billions of rands’ worth of SA bonds. Moody’s is scheduled to issue updated ratings in March.  

In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, Lucie Villa, a Moody’s senior credit officer and lead sovereign analyst for South Africa, said the Budget showed a further erosion in fiscal strength after the October mini budget already pointed to wider deficits. 

“Government support for Eskom, which will be only partially compensated by a reduction in other spending, and revenue under-performance lead to a renewed upward revision in fiscal deficits and debt levels, while contingent liability risks persist,” she said. 

Villa’s statement does not constitute a ratings action. 

In his maiden Budget, Mboweni announced that Treasury would allocate R69bn in financial support over the next three years to help cash-strapped power utility Eskom pay its debts, as it undergoes a restructuring to make it profitable.

Speaking to journalists at a pre-Budget briefing, Mboweni said the state was basically placing Eskom “under curatorship”, and warned the R23bn a year lifeline came with conditions attached.

Part of the support package includes the installment of a “chief reorganisation officer” at Eskom who will be jointly appointed by Mboweni and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Earlier Investec Chief Economist Annabel Bishop said the Budget could possibly stave off a credit negative response from Moody’s. 

“Government expenditure is projected to rise only in one year to provide financial support to Eskom. This may be seen as credit negative by Moody’s, but as it is only one year it may be enough to stave off an actual credit rating downgrade or even change to the outlook for the year,” she said.

A negative outlook can indicate a ratings downgrade within 18 months, she said. 

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FA Cup: Wolves v Man Utd quarter-final live on BBC

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FA Cup fifth round: Watch the best goals

The FA Cup quarter-final between Wolves and Manchester United will be broadcast live across the BBC next month.

The Red Devils’ trip to Molineux will be on BBC One and the BBC Sport website at 19:55 GMT on Saturday, 16 March.

Millwall against Brighton – at 14:00 GMT on Sunday, 17 March – will also be screened live on BBC One and online.

Watford v Crystal Palace and Swansea v Manchester City – both of which will take place on the Saturday – will be live on BT Sport.

There will be live in-play clips available for all four games on the BBC Sport website, as well as highlights after full-time.

FA Cup quarter-final fixtures

Saturday, 16 March

  • Watford v Crystal Palace (12:15 GMT) – Live on BT Sport
  • Swansea City v Manchester City (17:20 GMT) – Live on BT Sport
  • Wolves v Manchester United (19:55 GMT) – Live on BBC One

Sunday, 17 March

  • Millwall v Brighton & Hove Albion (14.00 GMT) – Live on BBC One

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