World Business Quick Take

Agencies

Thu, Sep 13, 2018 - Page 10

MAURITIUS

Economy to grow 4%: MCB

Economic growth is to accelerate next year, driven by railway, road and other infrastructure projects, MCB Group Ltd chief executive Pierre Guy Noel said on Monday. The economy would probably grow 4 percent next year, compared with 3.8 percent this year, he said in an interview. The government is spending 15.6 billion Mauritian rupees (US$453.46 million) this year on capital expenditure to develop infrastructure, including more than 3,000 social-housing units, police buildings and new parliament and Supreme Court buildings. That spending is forecast to increase by 15 percent next year, BMI Research said. While the nation is facing a soaring import bill as it purchases goods for construction, its effect on the current account is to be offset by tourism revenue, the central bank said last month.

INSURANCE

No repeated margin for RMI

Rand Merchant Investment Holdings Ltd (RMI), which owns stakes in insurers operating across the UK, Australia and South Africa, told investors not to expect a repeat of the unusually low claims that boosted this year’s profits. The Johannesburg-based investor on Tuesday reported a 15 percent increase in adjusted earnings in the 12 months through June, even as economic growth in its main markets stuttered. South Africa tipped into its first recession since 2009 in the second quarter and Britain’s GDP growth has been sluggish, while political turmoil in Australia has caused business confidence to slump to a two-year low. A drop in motor-related claims and favorable weather conditions helped boost profit from OUTsurance, which would also pay a special dividend of 236 million rands (US$15.62 million) to RMI, the company said. The unit’s Australian division, Youi Pty Ltd, also paid its first dividend. New initiatives, such as Discovery Ltd’s plans to start a bank by the end of the year, could also put a strain on earnings, the insurer said.

FAST FOOD

Ivory Coast to get Pizza Hut

Vivo Energy PLC said it is to open the first outlet of Yum! Brands Inc’s Pizza Hut in the Ivory Coast after its debut of the company’s KFC brand met expectations. The forecourt operator signed a deal with Yum for Pizza Hut after being “quite happy” about the performance of the first KFC store that opened in April in Abidjan, said Ben Hassan Ouattara, managing director for the London-based company’s local unit. Vivo and venture partner KFC Baobab are to open two more outlets of the fried chicken chain before the end of the year, with more stores planned for next year, KFC Baobab director Grant Wheatley said in an interview. Vivo is also partnering with Burger King for an outlet in the Ivory Coast.

INVESTMENT

PIF takes out first loan

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund (PIF), is to sign a US$11 billion loan this week, marking its first-ever borrowing, people familiar with the matter said. Some of the biggest global lenders, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc, HSBC Holdings PLC and JPMorgan Chase & Co, are providing the loan that is priced at 75 basis points more than the London Interbank Offered Rate, or just shy of 90 basis points, including fees, the people said. London-based boutique Verus Partners is advising the PIF on the talks, they said. The deal would give the PIF additional cash after two years of major new investments.