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updated 6:54 AM SAST, Mar 14, 2031
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WSP celebrates 1 million m2 of Certified Green Space in Africa

WSP in Africa, one of the largest multi-disciplinary engineering consultancies on the continent, is celebrating a milestone million square metres of Certified Green Space in Africa.

WSP sustainability consultants and engineers worked for over a decade; setting benchmarks and contributing to transforming the built space across Africa to become more resilient, sustainable, efficient and toward contributing to lower carbon economies.

“The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) was formed in 2007, to lead the way and providing guidance to green South Africa's commercial property sector. At that time, we were trading as GreenByDesign, as part of the WSP group in Africa, and were working on the designs for the second phase of the Nedbank head office in Sandton. In 2009, this building was the first in South Africa, and Africa, to be certified and achieve a Green Star rating,” says Alison Groves, Regional Director, WSP, Building Services, Africa.

Groves notes that by 2011 there were already 15 Green Star rated buildings in South Africa. “Since then the industry is doubling exponentially every year and, as the GBCSA introduces more rating tools, the uptake for green buildings is sky rocketing. The green building uptake can also be seen throughout Africa where Green Building Councils have been established in Namibia, Zambia, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya and Ghana.”

WSP teams of experts have played an active role in 50 Green Star rating certifications for 33 buildings in South Africa, and Africa.

Mathieu du Plooy, Managing Director for WSP in Africa, said: “This is a remarkable milestone that we are exceptionally proud of. This achievement speaks directly to our commitment and ongoing contributions to the green building and sustainability space. It is also a demonstration of our uncompromising determination for excellence - to deliver complex and sustainable projects that contribute to impactful legacies for a future where society can thrive.”

Some of the prominent projects that WSP sustainability consultants and engineers have been involved with and that contribute to the 1 million m2 of certified Green Star space include:

Nedbank Phase II, in Sandton, Menlyn Maine Central Square, in Tshwane, FNB Namibia Holdings’ @Parkside building, in Windhoek, Nobelia Office Tower in Kigali, City of Johannesburg’s (CoJ) new Council Chamber, in Johannesburg, Agrivaal refurbishment and new Batho Pele House, Tshwane, Vodafone Site Solution Innovation Centre (SSIC) in Midrand, Standard Bank campus, in Rosebank, WSP’s African headquarters in Knightsbridge, Bryanston. 

WSP teams are also working on a number of exciting projects currently – including but not limited to, the Rosebank Towers that achieved a Four Star Green Star SA Design and As Built rating, Rosebank Link targeting a Four Star Green Star As Built rating, as well as Education buildings, a corporate office campus in Waterfall and, The MARC, state-of-the-art mixed-use development in Sandton. Each of these developments will contribute to the continuation of green certified urban spaces on the continent.

Additional information from Elaine Porter, T: +27 11 300 6095 /E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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South Africa has the biggest share of planned hotel development

Cape Town has maintained the biggest share of planned hotel development according to The W Hospitality Group’s pipeline report for 2018, detailing the development status of hotels across Africa. The report, based on data recorded by 41 international and regional contributors, shows pipeline activity of just over 76,000 rooms in 418 hotels, a 14% increase on the 2017 pipeline.

To be included in this report, Africa-based chains must operate in more than one country on the continent, and the international chains in more than one country globally. It therefore does not include domestic hotel chains which operate in one country only.

In addition, the deals need to be legally-binding management, franchise or other agreements (some of the chains are owner-operators) which state the intention of the parties to open a hotel at a future date. Deals at the MOU stage which are “hoped-for” (whether or not are under construction), are not included. According to South African regional data, Cape Town retains the biggest share of planned hotel development in South Africa despite showing a decrease in total planned rooms.

Cape Town has 25% of the South African development pipeline, with 1,063 rooms in six hotels. Durban now has 16% with 697 rooms in five hotels, an increase of 40% in terms of total rooms on last year. Pretoria has 11% of the pipeline with 463 rooms in three hotels. Johannesburg has only 10% of the pipeline with 432 rooms in four hotels and Umhlanga has 7% of the pipeline with 298 rooms in two hotels.

Compared to last year, the data indicates that development is slowing in Cape Town and Pretoria, with the number of planned rooms down 22% and 28% respectively. By contrast, Durban, Johannesburg and Umhlanga are seeing growth of 40%, 23% and 113% respectively.

“While Cape Town continues to offer great opportunities for hotel investment, it is exciting to see new hotel construction projects all over South Africa, in places such as: Addo, Ballito, Boschendaal, Hermanus, Kruger, Malelane, Mossel Bay, Nelspruit, Paarl, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth, Rosebank, St. Francis, Stellenbosch, Tsitsikama and Umfolozi,” said W Hospitality Group’s MD, Trevor Ward.

W Hospitality Group provides advisory services to the hotel, tourism and leisure industries, offering a full range of services to their clients who have investments in the sector, or who are looking to enter it.

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Kenya: construction of Sh63 billion dams in Elgeyo-Marakwet begins

The construction of Sh63 billion multi-purpose dams in Elgeyo-Marakwet County has begun following an agreement between a government agency and the local community over land compensation. Seventeen engineers from Europe have in the last two weeks been laying the ground for construction of the hydro-electric and irrigation projects.

"The designers and planners are already on the ground and the construction is expected to take a shorter time than anticipated," said Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) MD David Kimosop. He said a down payment of €41 million (Sh4.9 billion) has been made for the design of Arror dam. "Construction is expected to begin in the next six to eight months after the detailed design plan is carried out," said Kimosop.

He said engineers are carrying out mapping and evaluation, which will facilitate piping for the hydroelectricity and irrigation project. "We are in the process of acquiring land for the families to be displaced to pave way for the construction of the projects after we settled on amicable agreement," said Kimosop.

400 hectares of forest land for the two projects will be acquired from the Kenya Forest Service in exchange for 570 hectares recovered from private land owned by locals, who will be displaced and compensated. Arror dam will cost Sh38.5 billion, while the other in Kimwarer will cost Sh28 billion. The two dams to be constructed in rivers Arror and Kimwarer in Marakwet West and Keiyo South respectively will displace more than 800 families.

They are expected to irrigate over 20,000 acres of land. Kimosop said the two projects are key to unlocking the huge potential of Kerio Valley, which has experienced insecurity for decades.

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Congolese factory adds to PPC’s burden

Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Ethiopia provide relief and cement maker strengthens balance sheet PPC’s JV factory in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been a big drag on group results for the year ended March 2018, making up nearly half the company’s losses.

SA’s moribund major construction sector did not help. Revenues from the main South African cement market fell marginally in the period. Meanwhile, high taxes, the soaring cost of sales, forex losses elsewhere in Africa and heavy impairments helped SA’s largest cement producer to increase its total comprehensive loss to R561m in the year from R496m in financial 2017.

Group administration and other operating expenditure rose 28% to R1.34bn in the period, affected by corporate action, restructuring, separation costs and other nonrecurring costs. The high group tax rate of 68%, excluding the effect of equity-accounted earnings, was mainly due to the non-deductibility of some abnormal costs, including impairments, and tax penalties in Zimbabwe. The rate in future should be 30%-35%.

“There is a lot of noise in the results,” PPC chief financial officer Tryphosa Ramano said on Monday. This included five months of results from the DRC business and three months of revenues from the 38%-held Ethiopian plant, both of which were included in accounting for the first time.

The group recognised a R165m impairment of the 69%-owned DRC plant in the period, due to it “not operating as expected” after being commissioned from November 2017 due to political and economic uncertainty caused by delayed elections.

The plant contributed a net attributable loss of R264m to PPC’s overall result. Group net cash flow improved 69% to R1.4bn, as cash generated from operations after working capital rose 23% to R2.3bn in the year. This came as PPC’s rest of Africa operations in Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Ethiopia kicked in.

“PPC’s balance sheet is in a significantly stronger position than it was two years ago. Importantly, the period of elevated capital expenditure is complete as the new operations outside of SA have now been commissioned,” Kagiso Asset Management analyst Meyrick Barker said.

“This allows PPC to devote a larger portion of its operational cash flows to paying down debt, and ultimately to resume dividend payments to shareholders. One area of concern that remains is that it continues to be difficult to repatriate cash from some of PPC’s operations outside of SA.” Barker also said “the risk persists that further write-downs will be required” in the DRC in future.

“Capacity in the area significantly exceeds demand, making it very difficult to achieve the capacity utilisation levels the project requires to make it economically feasible.”

PPC said it had made significant progress in improving its liquidity and strengthening the balance sheet by restructuring South African debt, reducing interest rate costs and negotiating a two-year capital holiday for DRC project funding.

Group revenue rose 7% to a record R10.3bn, with Southern Africa earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation margins at 22% in tough markets. Basic earnings per share rose 25% to 10c a share as headline earnings per share jumped 114% to 15c per share.

PPC CEO Johan Claassen said the group might sell equity in the DRC plant in future to its Chinese equipment supplier Sinoma, despite revenue in the country growing from R24m in financial 2017 to R144m in 2018.

However, group net debt was down R900m to R3.8bn as overall capital expenditure fell

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