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Zimbabwe’s Airline, Kenya’s Bond to Be Sold

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Kenya Central Bank has said the country will in November sell 20-year amortised infrastructure bond worth 50 billion shillings ($489 million) just as Zimbabwe pushes to privatise airline.



The the bond which will have an 11.95 per cent coupon will have its proceeds used for road, water and energy projects, it said.

It added that it would accept bids for the bond from Monday to Tuesday and auction it on Wednesday. ($1 = 102.1500 Kenyan shillings).

Also Zimbabwe has invited bids for the state-owned airline.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is pushing ahead with a drive to privatise and end state funding to loss-making firms, Air Zimbabwe’s administrator said on Monday.

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Air Zimbabwe, which owes foreign and domestic creditors more than $300 million, was in October placed into administration to try and revive its fortunes.

The troubled airline is among dozens of state-owned firms, known locally as parastatals, that are set to be partially or fully privatised in the next nine months as the government seeks to cut its fiscal deficit seen at 11 per cent of GDP this year.

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Air Zimbabwe administrator Reggie Saruchera said in a notice published in media on Monday that potential investors should make their bids before November 23 after paying a non-refundable deposit of $20,000.

Saruchera did not indicate whether investors would be allowed to tender for partial or total shareholding in Air Zimbabwe. He was not immediately reachable for comment.

Only three of Air Zimbabwe’s planes are operational, with another three grounded, which has forced it to abandon international routes.(NAN).

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Crisis Deepens as Nissan Issues Fresh Profit Warning Again

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The woes of the Japanese car giant looks to have deepened by the newly issued profit warning by Nissan while it seeks to recover from Carlos Ghosn’s arrest 

The firm had second cut in its forecast within few months by downgrading its projection for net profit in the fiscal year to March 2019 from 410-billion yen ($3.7-billion) to 319-billion yen.

Nissan appeared to acknowledge the recent difficulties surrounding the Ghosn affair, which has cast questions over the company’s own corporate governance.

Reasons for the downgrade are:

“the adverse operating environment facing the company during the fourth quarter, and the impact of recent corporate issues on sales.”

 “additional expenses arising from the implementation of a warranty extension campaign covering certain vehicles sold in the US market.”

The profit warning came as ex-chairman Ghosn awaits his fate after prosecutors hit him with a fourth set of charges over alleged financial misconduct.

 

In February, Nissan already slashed its full-year forecast, as it revealed that nine-month net profit had dropped 45 percent — a decline the firm blamed on rising raw material costs and foreign exchange difficulties.

It was forced to downgrade its net profit forecast for the fiscal year to March to 410 billion-yen, compared to 500-billion yen earlier.

 

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I’ve always wondered, Why do billionaires buy media empires?

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An article by Jordan Murray

Although the financial situation for newspapers remains less than ideal, billionaires continue to invest in print media for their institutional worth, with aims to make publications self-sufficient.

If you had $190 million to spare, what would you spend it on?

If you’re Marc and Lynne Benioff, you’d buy a media empire. The flamboyant CEO of Salesforce and his wife purchased the publication from Meredith Corporation a few weeks ago, quickly distancing themselves from the magazine’s editorial direction.

It was a decision that was made, Marc admits, without much forethought, and its spontaneity is as much a product of his outsized personality as it is of his wealth. Indeed, the large cash infusion represents a boon for Time, but represents only around three per cent of the Benioff’s net wealth. It’s endemic of a larger trend in business of high-earning CEOs bankrolling print media to insulate cultural institutions from economic and technological changes.

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce

While many are grateful for Benioff’s financial infusion, others are suspicious of his motives and the pressures he might exert on the newspaper’s editorial position. For his part, Benioff has moved to assuage those concerns, with Time’s chief content officer Alan Murray saying the Benioffs were willing to “put journalistic integrity ahead of corporate gains”.

Otherwise, Benioff’s purchase of Time appears to be an effort to preserve the periodical, as opposed to turning it into a vehicle for his political views. That hasn’t comforted some sceptics though, who have witnessed the financially precarious situation that arises when business leaders expect returns on their investments.

Why would anybody buy a newsroom?

It’s easy to compare billionaires with an interest in media empires to Charles Foster Kane, Orson Welles’ ruthless newspaper magnate. The truth is often more complex than that. Some CEOs, like Jeff Bezos, purchase flagging institutions not out of pity but out of a profit motive. Bezos, after all, was initially unmoved at the prospect of purchasing a business that haemorrhaged money and that he didn’t know much about.

However, he saw the opportunity as having a greater sense of rightness to it. “If this were a financially upside-down, salty snack food company, the answer would be no,” Bezos reasoned, “But as soon as I started thinking about it that way, I started to realize The Washington Post is an important institution.”

“If this were a financially upside-down, salty snack food company, the answer would be no,” Bezos reasoned, “But as soon as I started thinking about it that way, I started to realize The Washington Post is an important institution.”

Nowadays, The Washington Post is profitable, thanks to Bezos’ technological direction as much as his financial contributions. He has remained outside the newsroom, and has instead focused on the newspapers’ economic situation, preferring not to think of his contribution as a “philanthropic endeavour”.

A comparable situation arose for Laurene Powell Jobs, when her Emerson Collective purchased The Atlantic in July 2017, saying that “there’s a door between Emerson and the Atlantic, but it only swings from the Atlantic into Emerson; it doesn’t open in the other direction”.

Like Bezos’ approach, the emphasis wasn’t on editorial direction as much as it was on improving the economic function of the publication itself, which Jobs managed to do. Although the financial situation for newspapers remains less than ideal, billionaires continue to invest in print media for their institutional worth – an often-achievable goal, as newspapers are relatively inexpensive investments – with aims to make the publications self-sufficient.

Laurene Powell Jobs

Laurene Powell Jobs

Do things always work out?

In contrast to those two particularly fortunate cases, other entrepreneurs aren’t quite as committed to the outcomes of their chosen publication, quickly losing patience with their investment and becoming eager to rid themselves of it.

Perhaps the most notorious example of this is Joe Ricketts, whose purchase of Gothamist prefaced an attempt to merge the idiosyncratic vehicle for snark and culture with his own New York-centric outlet, DNAInfo. The arrangement lasted for only eight months, in which time both newsrooms complained about mismatched agendas. When the staff of both publications attempted to unionise, Ricketts simply shut both down and walked away from the situation.

Similarly, Peter Barbey purchased The Village Voice in 2015 promising that he was “flat-out serious about getting The Voice to be a major Manhattan publication”. Three years later, he unceremoniously shut down printing, citing “business realities”.

Such billionaire investments in newspapers are met with suspicion by the journalists who work for them not because they portend maleficent editorial direction, but because they often become more accountable to the economic concerns of one person. Much like any other business, if there isn’t a model for self-sufficiency to work towards, that often means that the end is in sight.

Much like any other business, if there isn’t a model for self-sufficiency to work towards, that often means that the end is in sight.

So, what happens next?

In conversation with CNBC, Joshua Benton, director of Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard, cited several reasons for why billionaires choose to become involved in media, including “a mixture of … sincere appreciation of the art form, … a desire to see it flourish … [!and!] a sense of civic responsibility”.

Moreover, the chance for growth in an industry that has struggled to adapt to digital distribution is immense and has proven profitable under the right leadership. Ultimately, the emphasis isn’t about establishing a vehicle for personal retribution. It’s about product differentiation and, eventually, financial returns.

It’s not difficult to appreciate how Benioff views the matter; he believes that there are two types of CEOs, those committed to improving the state of the world, and those who are not.

When he purchased Time, he was acting on that impulse, believing that print journalism deserved attention. It doesn’t mean he’s prepared to throw away a significant sum of money. It means that he’s willing to help a beleaguered industry through challenging times, with the sort of leadership and business expertise only an eccentric, carefree CEO can bring.

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