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Sep 30, 2008

Daily podcast – September 30, 2008

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September 30 2008
 
 
 
Engineering|Gold|Africa|Concrete|Mining|Motors|Nuclear|Platinum|Resources|Sappi|Africa|Energy|Manufacturing|Motors|Product|Motors|Motors|Operations
Engineering|Gold|Africa|Concrete|Mining|Motors|Nuclear|Platinum|Resources|Sappi|Africa|Energy|Manufacturing|Motors||Motors|Motors|Operations
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Tuesday, September 30, 2008.

From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Shannon O'Donnell.

Making headlines today:

General Motors South Africa confirmed on Monday that some 300 workers were recently offered voluntary severance packages and that more were to follow.

Vice president of human resources Chris Thexton said the move was in line with the decline in vehicle sales in South Africa.

He said this had directly impacted on General Motors SA's employment levels in manufacturing and related support areas.

Thexton said the company was also developing a leaner organisation structure to improve its overall competitiveness.

Paper producer Sappi on Monday announced its €750-million acquisition of the European coated graphic paper business of M-real. Sappi CEO Ralph Boëttger said this would "return the European business to acceptable levels of profitability and returns".

 

The deal would increase Sappi's European graphic paper capacity from 2,6-million tons a year to 4,5-million tons a year. It would also expand the company's wood-free coated product offering and customer base. This would make Sappi the number three player in the coated paper market in Europe.

The transaction included the acquisition of M-real's coated graphic paper business including brands and know-how, as well as four coated graphic paper mills - two in Finland, one in Germany, and one in Switzerland.

Minerals and Energy Ministry spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said on Monday that there was no plan "at the moment" for the creation of a State-owned mining company as the National Union of Mineworkers proposed at South Africa's mining summit.

Ratau said that a plan to create a State-owned mine had not yet been proposed to the Ministry.

He said that "more concrete" comment might be forthcoming from the Ministry should discussion on the issue take place. "But at the moment it's not government policy" to establish and control mines.

NUM president Senzeni Zokwana at the mining summit:
(audio clip)

Also making headlines:

Oil falls below $96 on financial turmoil
Esor buys civil engineering firm Shearwater for R220-million
Bidvest is to re-evaluate its Nampak offer
Gold is up on safe-haven buying amid bailout woes
Braemore widens its loss, says it made 'significant' progress at its operations
And, Implats sees platinum in a slight surplus this year

In political news:

The Gauteng Premier resigns
Robert Mugabe says there will be a Zimbabwe unity government by week's end
Israel's prime minister says Israel should quit nearly all occupied land
And, Iran says it won't halt nuclear work despite a UN demand to do so

That's a round up of news making headlines today. For more on these and other stories, visit engineeringnews.co.za, miningweekly.com and polity.org.za


Edited by: Shannon de Ryhove
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Polity & Multimedia
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