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East Africa Sugar

Several East African countries including Uganda and Kenya are sitting on surpluses of sugar and are seeking homes for supplies imported after last year's drought. Edward George, head of the soft commodities research desk at pan-African banking group Ecobank, said late last year some traders got carried away and imported far too much. He estimated that Uganda currently had stocks of nearly 40,000 tonnes of unsold white sugar and that Kenya had stocks of more than 20,000 tonnes.

National Bank of Kenya
National Bank of Kenya's pretax profit slid 9.4 percent last year to 2.44 billion shillings, hurt by a rise in provisions for bad debts. The banks full year earnings per share fell to 3.19 shillings from 4.18 shillings in the previous period.

Zambia/Libya Zamtel
Libya's LAP Green Networks is suing the Zambian government for $480 million over the seizure of its 75 percent stake in the country's only fixed line telephone operator. The company said they are compelled to take this course of action as dictated by the procedure set out in Zambian law. Under its previous government, Zambia sold a majority stake in Zamtel to the Libyan operator for $257 million. An inquiry in November ruled that 2010 transaction illegal, a move that has rattled investor confidence in the southern African country.

Mauritius Rate
The Bank of Mauritius is expected to trim its benchmark lending rate on the back of a worsening growth outlook for the Indian Ocean island and a marked slowdown in year-on-year inflation. Seven out of nine economists surveyed by Reuters predict a cut in the rate, with most going for a 25 basis point reduction to 5.15 percent, following a 10 basis point cut in December. The year-on-year rate of inflation dropped to 4.1 percent in February, the lowest since November 2010, and the International Monetary Fund cut its 2012 growth forecast to 3.7 percent from 4.1 percent in January.

Litha Annual Results
Litha healthcare's full year headline earnings per share climbed 28% to 23.2 cents. Revenue increased 38% to R1.7 billion, as LHH and Pharm-africa were included during this full year period as opposed to being included for only 8 months in the comparable reporting period. Litha is confident that it is on track to fully extract the anticipated benefits and cost savings from the group services strategy now that the structures of the enlarged group are in place. No dividend has been declared as the group continues with its acquisition strategy it will reinvest any profit.

Zimbabwe Mines
Zimbabwe has ordered foreign mining firms to deposit their export earnings with local banks. This is the latest government move to exert pressure on miners as it tries to address the dollar crunch afflicting its economy. Zimbabwe's mines minister said that it does not make sense that mining companies are operating in the country and keeping money in offshore accounts.

Sudan Sugar IPO
Kenana, Sudan's biggest sugar company, is planning to raise $200 million by listing a quarter of its shares in Hong Kong in December, to finance new projects. The sugar maker wants to more than double output to over 1 million tonnes annually. Sudan, one of Africa's largest sugar producers after Egypt and South Africa, imports more of the sweetener than it exports because of strong local demand. Officials hope new factories and other improvements will reverse that by 2014.

Nigeria Arik Air
Nigeria's biggest carrier Arik Air will have to stop its daily flights between Abuja and London because it is being prevented from getting arrival and departure slots at UK airports. This is because the airline's slots are about to expire. Arik Air said that restrictions have now been placed on the company but gave no indication of who was enforcing these restrictions.

Gabon Rubber Plant
Singapore commodity firm Olam International will invest $183 million in Gabon. The company is looking to enter a joint venture with the government. Olam plans to hold an 80% stake in the project which will look at developing 28 thousand hectares of rubber plantations in the African country.

Cameroon Oil
Cameroon is on target to double crude production to 100 thousand barrels per day this year. This after independent oil producer Perenco raised output to 50 thousand barrels per day. Oil production in the central African state averaged around 65 thousand barrels per day last year due to maturing oil fields.

IMF - Global Growth will slow in 2012
The IMF says that global economic growth will slow this year, with the United States looking much improved but Europe's fragile financial markets remain a concern. IMF deputy managing director, Zhu Min added that growth in emerging markets will be strong but the full impact of the slowdown in developed economies has yet to fully filter through to other regions.

Apple’s Plans for Cash Hoard
Apple is set to host a special call with investors today to announce a decision about what it plans to do with its $98 billion cash hoard. The move comes as investors have urged Apple to return some of the balance in the form a dividend.

US Treasury on Mortgage Debt
The US treasury department is expected to announce that tax payers have made a $25 billion profit on mortgage bonds purchased at the height of the meltdown. Treasury has spent over $200 on purchases of mortgage debt over the past 16 months.