FNB SA launches raft of new credit options
Banking group FNB is now offering inverters, UPS systems, solar back-up, and complete off-grid solutions from its banking app.
This includes both products and financing options to help ease the impact of load shedding on consumers. The Nav Energy platform has been built as a one-stop shop for all things energy-related, from educational content to products, and what the bank says is the quickest loan application option in the market, taking only six minutes.
The bank additionally launched a range of new credit offerings on Monday, saying that as South Africa counts the cost of spoiled groceries, ruined appliances and bankrupt small businesses, the demand for solutions to load shedding is rising.
The lowest cost option is to finance UPS devices from R149 a month over two years. FNB Wealth and Investment CEO Sizwe Nxedlana said the bank has already pre-approved a million clients for these contracts.
"What we are saying is that the range we are giving access to will start from small UPS devices to full photovoltaic solutions that can give mostly off-grid execution," said Nxedlana.
He said the bank has vetted the suppliers whose solutions it is prepared to fund, taking the burden off its clients to encourage them to use FNB's offering. FNB CEO, Jacques Celliers, said this was also a trust-building mechanism for the bank.-Fin24
Botswana tests De Beers deal
Botswana will acquire a 24% stake in Belgian gem trader HB Antwerp, in a deal that could challenge the southern African nation’s 50-year partnership with De Beers.
As part of the agreement announced by President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Monday, Botswana’s state gem trader Okavango Diamond Co. will receive polished rather than rough prices over a five-year supply deal with HB Antwerp for some of its sales. The new approach could potentially generate more revenue for the government than De Beers traditional method of selling rough — uncut and unpolished — stones.
De Beers and Botswana jointly own Debswana, which mines almost all of the diamonds in the country, the world’s No. 1 producer by value. In February, Masisi told a rally of his supporters that Botswana wants a larger share of revenue from the venture with De Beers: it currently gets 80% of the sales total when taxes and other charges are included. Masisi has previously threatened to walk away from talks with the biggest diamond company, which is a unit of Anglo American Plc.
“Today is the dawn of a new era in the diamond story of Botswana as we begin this journey with HB Antwerp,” Masisi said at the Belgian company’s offices in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone. “This partnership has the potential to be a game changer.”
HB Antwerp already has a partnership with Lucara Diamond Corp., under which it pays polished prices for bigger stones from the company’s Karowe mine in Botswana.
Okavango is entitled to 25% of Debswana’s output. The venture’s revenue was US$4.6 billion in 2022 and Debswana has long-term plans to extend the lives of some of its mines at a cost of billions of dollars.-Fin24
Shell wants Dutch to 'shut down' gas field
The Dutch government should shut down Europe's largest gas field as early as this year, a top Shell Netherlands official said Sunday, despite global energy uncertainties following Russia's war in Ukraine.
Gas have been pumped from the massive northern Groningen field since 1963, but residents have been terrorised by increasingly violent earthquakes for more than two decades, directly attributed to mining operations.
"The field must be closed. It can be done and it has to," Netherlands Shell outgoing president Marjan van Loon said.
"The parties involved believe that the field can be closed this year if you look at the data," Van Loon told the WNL television talk show.
Although gas extraction from the field has been almost cut to zero over the last few years, the Dutch government have left flames burning due global energy uncertainties prompted largely by Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine a year ago.
"Perhaps it's uncomfortable to really quit something like this during an energy crisis but it has to be done," said Van Loon, who steps down as the Dutch-based arm of Shell's president at the end of the month.-Fin24