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Finweek - EnglishFinweek - English

Finweek - English 7-mar-19

Finweek is South Africa’s leading financial weekly magazine focusing on investment. With its brisk, creative and authoritative analysis of business and investment issues, it’s an essential business tool in the daily battle for competitive advantage. Today's business decision-makers have to cope with increased pressure on their time and are expected, more than ever before, to succeed in the face of stiffer competition. Finweek provides relevant information in quick bytes, along with award-winning investment advice.

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access_time2 min.
from the editor

relatively speaking, I am still quite young and should have enough time to play catch-up should things go wrong financially. But, equally, if things do go wrong, I could be in a pickle – depending on how long it takes me to recover. This is where my worries become enormous. If things “go wrong”, how long would it take me to get back on track? I always try to be optimistic. But I also like to plan for the worst-case scenario, where I could be out of a job for months and I’d have to cut expenses to a minimum. But, with no money coming in, things would be tough. My self-esteem would take a beating and the gap on my CV would start to look like the Grand Canyon. I’d…

access_time4 min.
bank failures and the lessons they offer

in February 2002, Saambou bank, then South Africa’s seventh-largest bank, collapsed. It all started with an announcement by ABSA, on 15 January, of significant losses in its microlending subsidiary, Unifer. Saambou had a similar clientele to Unifer and a run on Saambou started, wiping out 20% of its deposits within five weeks. The collapse of Saambou triggered other runs. Within a few weeks SA’s fifth-largest bank, Board of Executors, had failed too. In the end, 22 banks closed, half the total number of banks in SA and 10% of the banking sector by size. The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) chose not to bail these banks out. Instead, as it was concerned about higher inflation because of an exchange-rate depreciation, it raised interest rates as the crisis unfolded (making the same mistake…

access_time4 min.
in brief

“WHAT WE SHOULD BE FOCUSED ON AT THIS POINT IS HOW TO HEAL THE COUNTRY, HOW TO MERGE THE WIDENING DIVIDE THAT THIS ELECTION HAS ACTUALLY BROUGHT.” – Bloomberg quotes Idayat Hassan, director at the Centre for Democracy and Development in Abuja, on criticism of Nigeria’s election process, after at least 39 people were killed in election-related violence. “WE ARE PREPARED FOR A RECESSION. WE’RE NOT PREDICTING A RECESSION. WE’RE SIMPLY POINTING OUT THAT WE ARE VERY CONSCIOUS ABOUT THE RISKS WE BEAR.” – Jamie Dimon, CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co, outlining the risks in the global economy, particularly in Europe and China, according to Bloomberg. “South Africa could also face ‘water shedding’ within the foreseeable future.” – University of Pretoria’s Professor Ferdi Meyer, director of the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy comments in…

access_time4 min.
sleep: the grossly neglected performance enhancer

serial entrepreneur Tobie Louw, along with various partners, started MySleep in 2010. It came about after they became aware of the huge demand for improved technology to specifically test and cater for sleep breathing disorders such as sleep apnoea (when a person’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep). “People at the time still had to spend a night in hospital or at a sleep laboratory to be tested for sleep apnoea. We, however, studied the technologies and protocols available in the US that allowed home testing, and then introduced these to the South African market via MySleep,” Louw explains. In response to the growing awareness of the impact of poor-quality sleep on people’s mental and physical wellbeing – as well as the economic toll it takes on workplaces due to lost…

access_time3 min.
de beers’ bold move to produce synthetics has paid off

remarkable early evidence following the launch of De Beers’ synthetic diamond range, branded as ‘Lightbox’, is that the pricing of competing products has fallen by as much as 60%, according to the group’s CEO, Bruce Cleaver. Lightbox was an attempt to draw a line in the sand between naturally occurring and mined diamonds and those grown in a laboratory. The long-standing concern in the diamond market was that the growing prevalence of synthetics was simply confusing. It was for this reason De Beers attempted to brand them and so differentiate them. The criticism prior to the launch was that De Beers was simply diluting natural gems even more. But Cleaver doesn’t think early market behaviour supports that notion. “We announced Lightbox in June and we sold our first diamond at the end of…

access_time2 min.
walking on the wild side

two resource companies known for their strict adherence to specialised metals production – Wescoal Holdings (coal) and Assore (steel feed minerals iron ore, manganese and chrome) are giving thought to changing their spots. “In the long term we are looking at a number of initiatives,” said Humphrey Mathe, the interim CEO of Wescoal in an interview. “We may look at the possibility of diversification into other minerals,” he said. Wescoal has long held dear a strategic goal of 10m tons/year (Mt/y) of thermal coal which is neither popular in the investment universe, nor easily achievable. Were Wescoal to succeed with the proposed take over of a Sydney-listed company, Universal Coal, it will take it some way to reaching that output target. Wescoal has long held dear a strategic goal of 10m tonnes/year (Mt/y)…