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Comoros Oil

Comoros has awarded its first ever oil exploration and production licence to a privately-owned Kenya-based exploration company, Bahari Resources. Countries along the Indian Ocean have become a hot spot for oil and gas exploration, spurred by new finds. Fouad Mohadji, vice president and minister for energy of Comoros, said the government was taking its first steps to develop its exploration strategy and that the country represents one of the last prospective offshore frontiers for oil and gas.

Uganda Oil
Uganda is likely to auction four blocks to oil explorers early next year. Elly Karuhanga, chairman of the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, said four blocks and 10,000 square kilometres off relinquished acreage will be auctioned, most likely in the beginning of next year. London-listed Tullow Oil, which discovered substantial deposits in the east African country in 2006, expects to start small production late this year.

Athi River Mining
Kenyan cement company Athi River Mining increased its 2011 profit by 23 percent and plans to raise $50 million through a convertible loan this year to finance expansion. Ranked the second-biggest cement manufacturer in the country, the firm said its pretax profit rose to 1.36 billion shillings from 1.11 billion in 2010, helped by expansion of its clinker plant, which boosted production.

EU Calls For End To Sudan Fighting
The European Union's foreign policy chief urged Sudan and South Sudan to end fighting along their disputed border, saying further clashes could lead to a wider military conflict. South Sudan said its neighbour Sudan launched air strikes on major oilfields in its Unity state on Tuesday, reportedly one of the most serious confrontations since the South declared independence from Sudan in July. Catherine Ashton, the EU's High Representative for foreign affairs and security, called for negotiations between the two sides.

Total Kenya
Fuel marketer Total Kenya posted a 96 percent drop in full-year profit to 58 million shillings, and blamed a weakening Kenyan shilling against the dollar, inflation and price caps introduced in the sector in December 2010. Total Kenya's cost of sales rose by 49 percent during the year, but the company was unable to pass on these costs to the consumer as a result of the price controls. The group said that it would not pay a dividend for the year.

Capitec FY Results
Capitec's full year headline earnings per share ticked up 49% to R11.25. The group's unsecured credit market is showing continued growth, growing by 71% for the year to end September. The term of credit granted has also been extended, with terms longer than three years advanced by the group growing to R8.9 billion and totalling 46% of all loans advanced. The bank said that it will remain focused on growing its customer base and will open 55 new branches in the coming year. Capitec declared a final dividend of 300 cents per share.

Vitol Taking 9.1% Stake in CIC ENergy
Energy trader Vitol is taking a 9.1% stake in South African miner CIC Energy, as part of its strategy to develop a substantial coal business for the long-term. CIC has three coal blocks in development, one for domestic coal and two for export. Vitol will now market 60% of any future export grade coal.

Mpact Buying out Minority Shareholders
Mpact is looking to buy out smaller minority shareholders. The group said that it will make an offer to shareholders holding anything from 100 to 500 shares. The offer price will be based on a 5% premium on the average price of the share between 14 and 21 June.

Zimbabwe Power Plant
Zimbabwe has short-listed eleven bidders for the expansion of its Hwange and Kariba South power plants. The winner is expected to be announced in the third quarter of this year. The country has been battling power shortages due to growing demand and ageing plants. Zimbabwe produces around 1,000 Mega Watts of electricity, compared with peak demand of 2,200 Mega Watts.

Zimbabwe’s CBZ FY Results
Zimbabwe financial services group CBZ's full year earnings rose 61 percent, as it shrugged off a dollar crunch that left depositors unable to withdraw their money from banks at the end of last year. Basic earnings per share rose 65 percent to 4.8 cents while profit after tax increased by a similar margin to $30.3 million. Going forward CBZ said that it will cut down on its policy of aggressive lending.

ECOWAS Suspends Mali
Leaders of the West African regional grouping ECOWAS, has suspended Mali from all its decision-making bodies and called on the soldiers behind last week's coup to hand back power immediately. The decision was read out after a meeting of regional leaders in the Ivorian economic capital Abidjan.

World Bank Approve Cameroon Loan
The World Bank has approved a $132 million zero-interest loan to help Cameroon build a dam. This will help the country generate more electricity for homes and businesses. This Hydropower Project is expected to increase hydroelectric generating capacity on Cameroon's Sanaga River by about 40%. The whole project is expected to cost $494 million.

BRICS Eyeing Joint Development Bank
The BRICS economies are expected to launch plans for a joint development bank and measures to bring their stock exchanges closer together. Officials say the initiative will allow the countries to pool resources for infrastructure improvements, and could also be used in the longer term as a vehicle for lending during global financial crises such as the one in Europe.

Global Oil Imports
Oil consumer nations are set to pay a record $2 trillion this year for oil imports if crude prices do not fall, according to the International Energy Agency. Crude hit $128 a barrel this month, only $20 short of its 2008 peak. It is up more than 15 percent since January, largely because of sanctions against oil producer Iran.

India Economy expected to return to 8% growth
India's Trade Minister, Anand Sharma says although India's economic slowdown is disturbing the economy should revert to annual growth of 7% to 8% soon. India's economy is forecast to grow at 6.9% in the current fiscal year, its slowest pace in three years.