Foschini Group share price rises sharply after strong dividend payout

The Foschini Group share price was the biggest gainer on the JSE on Friday, closing 11.3% higher after it reported a 33% uplift in its final dividend to 200 cents a share for the year to March 31.

The share prices of the two other largest clothing groups on the JSE, Mr Price and Truworths, were also top gainers on the bourse, with their share prices ending Friday 5% and 5.16% higher, respectively.

TFG chief executive Anthony Thunström said they had grown revenue aggressively at the expense of competitors and had managed costs tightly.

The group has a portfolio of 34 retail brands, with over 4700 outlets in 23 countries on five continents, offering products including fashion and sport apparel, jewellery, cosmetics, electronics, homeware and furniture.

“In many cases, revenues, margins, gross profit and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) have been at record levels in rand terms across all of our territories, demonstrating the strength of our diversified business,” he said in a statement.

TFG Africa’s retail turnover grew 10.4%, driven largely by clothing, with a strong performance in Womenswear and Sport, as well as Homeware.

E-commerce platform Bash saw additional investment and online retail turnover grew 44.4% and contributed 4.2% to retail turnover. Group EBIT was up 24.9% to R4.2 billion.

TFG London experienced elevated inflation and interest rates, and retail turnover of R7.6bn was 10.4% higher. Gross profit margins were maintained through inventory management and an increase in own-channel mix.

TFG Australia also experienced higher inflation and interest rates, impacting consumer confidence and demand.

Compared against a strong post-Covid-19 recovery base, revenue was up 0.2% to R9.4bn. Online retail turnover grew 7.5%, contributing 7.3% to TFG Australia’s retail turnover.

Thunström said TFG Africa had delivered year-long market share gains across all key categories.

“In a low growth environment, this ability to continue to grow at the expense of competitors is critically important and speaks to the strength of TFG’s unique retail ecosystem,” he said.

Earlier in the year, the group committed to better working capital efficiency, reducing costs and paying down debt.

He said TFG exceeded all of those targets. Cash generated from operations was up 76% to R12.5bn, which, in part, drove the decrease in the group’s net debt by 31.3% to R4.9bn.


Algeria's Sonatrach, China's Sinopec sign MoU to expand cooperation

Algeria's state oil and gas firm Sonatrach said on Friday it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China's Sinopec that aims to expand cooperation, especially in the areas of exploration, renewable energies, petrochemistry, petroleum engineering, and skills development.


Tesla turns to Musk's small shareholder fans to back $56 billion payday

With major Tesla shareholders appearing divided over whether to endorse Elon Musk's $56 billion pay package, the company also is looking for support from retail investors who make up an unusually high percentage of the electric carmaker's ownership base.
Small investors tend to favor management, but they often don't bother to vote, experts said.
The company's June 13 annual meeting is shaping up as a referendum on Musk’s leadership, following a Delaware court's ruling striking down the hefty pay package. The company has asked investors to vote to reaffirm it and Musk stands to control more than 20% of the company if he gets it. A ‘no’ vote would be a rebuke with unknown consequences.

Tesla also proposes reincorporating in Texas instead of Delaware and re-electing two directors, including Musk's brother, Kimbal.
While there are a dozen items up for a vote, Tesla is focused on the pay vote and the move to Texas in an ongoing outreach campaign to small shareholders that includes a website, opens new tab, engagement with online influencers, and factory tours for a few of those who vote.
Big investors have sent mixed signals. T. Rowe Price has said the package showed "strong alignment" with investor interests. But the California Public Employees' Retirement System meanwhile has said it will likely oppose Musk's pay as not commensurate with Tesla's performance, and Norway's sovereign wealth fund came out against the pay package on Saturday.


BP tightens workplace relationships policy after Looney dismissal

BP employees must disclose any intimate relationships with colleagues or risk losing their jobs, the oil major told staff in a policy update, following the sacking of former CEO Bernard Looney for failing to do so.
The updated conflicts of interest policy, which was communicated to staff via email last week and seen by Reuters, highlights how Looney's sudden departure last September continues to reverberate through the company.

The updated policy "prohibits employees from directly or indirectly managing relatives or those with whom they're in an intimate relationship," according to the memo.
The London-listed company said that employees will face disciplinary action including potential dismissal for failing to comply with the new requirements.
In addition to the updated policy, which is part of BP's code of conduct, thousands of senior leaders are required to declare any intimate relationships with employees or agency workers occurring within the last 3 years. The managers were given a three-month grace period running to Sept. 1 to make such declarations.

BP confirmed the policy update regarding conflicts of interest arising from familial and intimate relationships at work.
"Employees were previously required to disclose and record such relationships if they felt there could be a conflict of interest," the company said in an emailed statement. "Now they are required to disclose intimate relationships at work, whether or not they feel they represent a conflict of interest."

Looney's departure came after the board investigated similar allegations against him in May 2022, following which Looney gave the board assurances over his past and future conduct.
BP's shares have dropped by over 11% since Looney's departure, underperforming rivals amid ongoing investor concerns over the company's energy transition strategy. Its new CEO Murray Auchincloss, who took office in January, has sought to steady the ship by promising to boost returns.
Auchincloss' partner is also a BP employee, a relationship he disclosed prior to becoming chief financial officer in 2020.


Nvidia sparks chatter over possible Dow inclusion after stock split

Nvidia's 10-for-1 stock split aimed at luring retail investors has taken effect, sparking speculation over chances of the artificial intelligence bellwether's inclusion in the blue-chip Dow index.
The split, aimed at lowering per-share value to make it more affordable for employees and investors, increases the company's outstanding shares without changing the stock's valuation.
"A side-effect of Nvidia's stock split will be to put it in the running to follow Amazon and Apple into the Dow, potentially pushing out fellow chip stock Intel that currently has the lowest weighting," said Ben Laidler, global markets strategist at digital brokerage eToro.

The stock dipped 0.5% in premarket trading on Monday, after climbing nearly 27% since the company announced the share split and a strong forecast last month. The dominant AI chip maker had also clinched $3 trillion in market value and surpassed Apple to become the second-most valuable firm in the world, trailing only Microsoft.
Market analysts said stock splits tend to attract individual investors that trade in smaller lots and have lesser capital to deploy than institutional investors.

However, Goldman Sachs strategists led by David Kostin said in a note most recent stock splits have not generated a significant increase in retail trading activity, but there have been some notable exceptions such as Amazon's split in 2022 and Nvidia's 2021 split.
Moreover, "investors typically assign higher valuations to liquid stocks because of their low trading costs and flexibility in a variety of market environments", the strategists said.

Over the last several years, trading volumes have briefly increased following stock split announcements but evidenced little change during and after the splits took effect, according to Goldman's analysis of 45 Russell 1000 stock splits since 2019.
Nvidia's stock was last trading at $120 per share post split, compared with $1,200 on Friday, making it a potential contender for the 30-member price-weighted Dow index.