Weekly Press Review – 28 August 2017

The sale of Maersk oil and gas assets to Total made headlines this week. Total agreed to buy the oil and gas unit AP Moller-Maersk, paying Maersk with $4.95 billion (R65.03 billion) of its own shares and assuming $2.5bn of the company’s debt.

The board at Grindrod is investigating the possibility of a separate offshore listing process.

According to the press, Mike Hankinson, executive chairman of Grindrod said, “The Grindrod board has for many years reiterated the intention to separate the shipping business from the balance of the group, as it does not believe that the value of the shipping business is fairly reflected in the Grindrod share price.”

The company has said that it has appointed South African and foreign advisers to assist and it is expected that the listing process will be concluded within the first half of next year.

Despite Sasol announcing a 15 percent fall in headline earnings, Sasol shares traded in positive territory this week.

According the press, the stock moved 1.58 percent up in early trade with the shares settling 0,57 percent up at R392.80 at the close of the JSE on Friday.

Sea Harvest, the fishing division of Brimstone, is working towards the purchasing of a freezer ship valued at $15.5 million.

According to the press, Felix Ratheb, executive head of Sea Harvest, says the vessel is a necessity to ensure optimal use of the fleet.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) says that it is making progress in the fight against abalone poaching after two separate arrests last week and the confiscation of abalone worth approximately R13 million.

According to the press, the department says, “The protection of Marine Living Resources, including abalone, is one of the priorities of the department.”

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Weekly Press Review – 14 August 2017

JSE-listed Sea Harvest has acquired a new freezer trawler from listed Icelandic fishing company, HB Grandi. According to the press, the vessel, the MV Therney, was built in Sterkoder yard in Norway.

The group said that there are currently three Sterkoder class vessels in South Africa, two owned by Irvin & Johnson, and one acquired by Sea Harvest in 2014.

Sea Harvest has invested more that R300 million over the past three years in vessel acquisition and factory upgrades to create a world-class asset base.  After listing, the company said that it wanted to pursue growth organically and through acquisitions, in an effort to position itself as a global seafood producer.

In an interview with the Sunday Times this week, Cape Town mayor, Patricia De Lille said that in attempt to deal with the water crisis currently facing the Western Cape, some 250 million litres will come from desalination projects. As this infrastructure is not yet in place, a desalination boat, to be parked at sea, is an option on the table in the interim.

Importers, exporters and shipping lines may be faced with an 8 or 9 percent fee increase to use South African harbours.

According to the press, Transnet is holding public hearings in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban to discuss the National Port Authority’s tariff application for 2018/19.

Increasing the availability of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) to South Africa, Sunrise Energy officially launched the R1,2 billion LPG plant near Saldanha Bay this week.

According to the press, the first cargo of LPG was received in May from a LPG vessel and William Bopape, plant manager, said that the import point has been extremely busy ever since.

Sailing clubs claim that they are being muscled off government owned land.

According to the press, South African Sailing says that clubs in Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Mossel Bay and East London are in the midst of legal action over new lease agreements or are facing eviction or stringent new terms.

The organisation claims that steep rental increases and diminished access to water are threatening development programmes that produce top black sailors.

Transnet National Ports Authority has denied targeting sports clubs, but declined to comment on sub judice matters.

Marine scientists and conservationists have warned that the annual sardine run in Kwazulu Natal could be under threat from both climate change and the impact of fishing.

According to the press, the sardine run generates an estimated R500 million in tourism for the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast and is being impacted by increased ocean temperatures.

Marine conservationist, Lesley Rochat says, “What we do know for certain … is that the world’s oceans are undergoing rapid and regionally specific warming as a result of climate change.”

“Climate change must be addressed in order to preserve marine life, including the sardines,” says Rochat.

Weekly Press Review – 13 March 2017

Sea Harvest is set to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) this month, making it the second fishing company to list this year after Premier Food and Fishing (PFF).

According to the press Sea Harvest is a subsidiary of Brimstone Investment and is expected to retain its controlling stake in Sea Harvest after the listing, with an interest of more than 50 percent.

A bidding war is on for the ferry trade from mainland Cape Town to Robben Island.

According to the press, two new ferry tenders are embroiled in a battle over potential financial spoils. The vessel at the centre of the controversy is the Madiba 1, a R60 million, 200-seater ferry.

Butana Komphela, who has shares in the Madiba 1, also chairs a consortium bidding for a back-up ferry contract, currently shared by several companies based at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

A rival bidder claims the MEC’s political connections could help the consortium secure the deal.

A second tender for a new-build ferry is also causing controversy after it was reported in the Sunday Times that the tender had been awarded to Damen Shipyards, even with a bid R20 million higher than rival bids from Veecraft and Nautic Africa.

Damen has not commented.

According to an article in the Cape Times this week ghost ships may be the way forward for the shipping industry. With self-driving motor vehicles set to be a real prospect by 2020, the shipping industry will soon find it necessary to follow the same path.

One of the key manufacturers in the unmanned vessel space, Rolls Royce, expects remote controlled vessels to be in use within the next 10 to 15 years.

Internationally the elimination of human input is regarded as one of the key benefits of automation, but with the scarcity of jobs in the South African market one would have to look closely at the viability of such an option in developing countries.

Weekly Press Review – 19 June 2015

Sea Harvest has made headlines this week with the launch of their new share scheme which will see the company issuing more than 4 million shares to its employees.

The company, which is owned by Brimstone Investment Corporation and Kagiso Tiso Holdings, regards the 4.3 million shares as an extension of it empowerment and shareholding for employees.

Sea Harvest executive chairman Fred Robertson said, “In celebrating 20 years of existence, Brimstone has endeavoured to assist in the growth and development of all subsidiaries and this share scheme does exactly that.

“We are very proud of our employees and it is imperative that the company’s success positively impacts them, their families and the surrounding community.”

Another fishing company making a difference in the community this week is the Oceana Group. It was reported in the press that the company has taken on the rehousing of nine Hout Bay families who lost their homes over two months ago in a fire.

After an appeal by the Hout Bay Civic Association, Oceana stepped in to assist with the building of several new fire-resistant houses.  The families affected by the fire will be moving in this weekend.

Avril Raatz who lost all her possessions in the fire said, “I am so excited.  I would like to thank Oceana and the Hout Bay Civic Association for making this happen.”

Three new vessels to be launched in National Marine Week

National Marine Week kicked off in Cape Town this morning when the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Minister Edna Molewa, addressed a small audience of learners, invited guests and media. It was the first in a number of maritime-related functions in our calendar this week that includes the launch of three new vessels in Durban and Cape Town.

  • On Wednesday Sea Harvest will name their newly acquired R130 million vessel, the Atlantic Peace where Chairman Fred Roberston and CEO Felix Ratheb will officiate the proceedings.
  • Nautic Africa launches their 35 m Sentinal on Thursday in the Cape  Town harbour and invited guests will be treated to a little spin in the multi-role crew and patrol vessels.
  • Smit Amandla Marine will launch the latest addition to their fleet in Durban on Thursday.  The Sibanye linerunner has been in production at the SA Shipyards facility and will receive a formal welcome.

That’s a lot of nautical flavour for a week that is aptly named and perhaps speaks to the pronouncements that the government is making around the blue economy. Minister Molewa touched on the importance of Operation Phakisa this morning too – and affirmed that the results of the Ocean Lab deliberations held in Durban recently will be announced shortly.

She added that the Department of Environmental Affairs has been tasked to lead the blue economy initiative and that the focus will be on sustainable economic and social development.

We are still collecting feedback from the industry on Operation Phakisa. <CLICK HERE> To complete our quick survey on the initiative.