Business & Finans
Finweek - English

Finweek - English 26 September 2019

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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2 min.
from the editor

talk, we know, is cheap. Dirt cheap. We can easily hide behind words. We can use them to sound smart, or to pretend we have a plan to fix things. But in reality, it could just be hot air. Governments do it all the time. So do corporates. Think of terms like ‘strategic think-tanks’ or ‘sub-committees’ who work on ‘multi-tiered approaches’ to address anything from solving crime, to financial results that point to leadership out of answers. Telling someone that you will fix, for example, the corporate culture of a company is quite different from actually doing it. What is the plan when you want to “fix” the so-called “soft” stuff like the culture of an organisation? I recently met with Arrie Rautenbach and Bongiwe Gangeni, respectively CEO and deputy CEO of Absa…

4 min.
a theory about having babies

one of the most underappreciated facts about the last half of the 20th century was the global decline in fertility rates. In 1950, the average woman had around 5 children. Today it’s less than 2.5. The implication is that women’s fertility rates can fall rapidly; it took 95 years in the UK for the fertility rate to fall from 6 to 3 children per woman (from 1815 to 1910), yet only 20 years in Bangladesh (1982 to 2002). South Africa, incidentally, needed 34 years (1963 to 1997). In many parts of the world the fertility rate is now way below the replacement rates, creating demographic challenges. And not just in the wealthiest countries. Yes, rich countries like Germany (fertility rate of 1.48) and South Korea (1.35) have exceptionally low fertility rates, but…

4 min.
in brief

“THIS IS CONGRESS’ BACKSTAGE PASS.” – Paul Gallant, an analyst at Cowen Inc, quoted in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). He was commenting after the US Congress gave technology firms Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet, Google and Apple, among others, until 14 October to provide documents – including executive communications, financial statements and information about competitors, market share, mergers and key business decisions – in an anti-trust probe of tech companies, reported the publication. Lawmakers are also demanding emails and other records from some of the industry’s top executives like Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook CEO), Tim Cook (Apple CEO), and Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt (Google’s early leaders), as they look for evidence of anti-competitive behaviour. Gallant said Congress “will be able to see what company management said…

3 min.
betting on the allure of legacy

richard Duffy, CEO of Petra Diamonds, is hoping Brexit-weary Brits will buy into the ‘romance’ of the firm’s Cullinan mine – situated a dusty, sun-baked 30km east of Pretoria. That’s the aim of a joint venture between his company and UK jewellery store Boodles, where diamonds marketed as having been mined from Cullinan are being sold. The intention is to play up the history as well as the modern-day benefits associated with Cullinan diamonds, remembering, of course, that in 1905, a very large 3 106 carat Cullinan rough diamond was cut and polished into pieces now worn and borne by the UK monarchy when the grandiloquent occasion befits. Sound hopeful? Perhaps. But in the current diamond market, every little bit helps. Duffy, who began duties at Petra in February, acknowledges the diamond company is…

3 min.
why eskom’s coal is burning money

say what you like about potential carbon exposure, the fundamental reason South32 decided to sell its South African coal mines, held in its 92%-owned South Africa Energy Coal (SAEC), is that they weren’t as competitive as other assets in the group’s portfolio. “SAEC was probably not going to compete within our portfolio for capital, given our capital allocation programme, and the more I think about it, that is probably the best reason to put forward,” said Mike Fraser, chief operating officer of South32, in an interview with finweek. “If these were high-returning opportunities, you would actually be able to cover the risk that was being created in the portfolio by coal: You could have bought carbon credits to offset it, or you could have done something somewhere else.” SAEC is now subject to…

4 min.
how saudi oil attack may impact sa

nerves are settling after the record spike in oil prices which followed a spectacular drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s main oil production facilities on 14 September. The incident raised the spectre of a military confrontation, which could take out more oil infrastructure in the volatile region. But warnings that in this scenario oil prices would surge to $100 a barrel – choking growth in the weak global economy – have been put on a back burner by financial markets, even though a “geopolitical risk premium” is expected to keep prices higher over the coming weeks. Standard & Poor’s said in a research note on 16 September that the implications of the attack should not be brushed off lightly. The fact that one combined strike on Saudi Arabia could knock out half of…