THE COUNTRY’s economy contracts to 2.2 percent in the first quarter, its lowest in nine years, leading to a fall in banking and financial stocks. The crucial mining and manufacturing sectors decrease 9.9 percent, 6.4 percent and 24.2 percent respectively in the first quarter. The contraction brings real economic growth for the year to March 2018 to 0.8 percent. THE ONGOING takeover tussle between Murray & Roberts (M&R) and ATON takes a new turn when the engineering, procurement and construction company approaches the Competition Tribunal in an effort to restrict the German family’s voting rights. ATON, which owns about 43.81 percent of M&R, was left fuming last month after M&R disregarded its takeover bid in favour of a deal with the construction engineering company, Aveng. OLD MUTUAL Plc breakup mastermind Bruce Hemphill is to step down from the boards of the group’s subsidiaries, Nedbank Limited and Nedbank Group. Hemphill leaves tomorrow to make way for Peter Moyo as the group gets close to finalising its managed separation programme. Hemphill will, however, remain on the Old Mutual Plc board. EMBATTLED multinational auditing firm KPMG has announced plans to retrench 400 employees from its South African unit as a result of the loss of lucrative government contracts. The firm says it will wind down its operations in Bloemfontein, East London, Mbombela and Polokwane. Chief executive Nhlamulo Dlomu says the retrenchments will affect the firm’s back office staff as well as the audit and advisory units.