Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sound Issuance - South African ECM Gets Noticed on the Global Stage

South Africa has been the sleeping giant of emerging markets for many years. While emerging European equity capital markets issuance was rampant from 2005 on, South Africa was a rare source of interest. Yet volumes are climbing while Russia slumbers and 2007 totals are now in sight.

Extracts from the International Financing Review (IMF), circa October 2010:

The sound of vuvuzelas has passed in South Africa following the world cup, but the country is now buzzing to a different sound: visiting equity capital market bankers rushing around to pitch to potential issuers. Bankers are keen to ensure they are involved in the resurgence in emerging market activity.


“Government policy and black empowerment has facilitated the emergence of a broader middle class and a redistribution of wealth,” said George Pavey, co-head of emerging markets ECM at Credit Suisse. “Robust population growth and an emerging middle class, coupled with a rebound in demand for commodities, are fuelling economic growth and helping the performance of South Africa’s equity market.


“South Africa has emerged from the financial crisis as a winner, attracting a disproportionate share of inflows into emerging markets courtesy of the quality of many companies in SA, the strong corporate governance, transparency, relatively conservative balance sheet structures. South Africa is a lower beta market, but it is a good place to put money,”


The positive mood is reflected in the build out of investment banking operations. While Credit Suisse had no bankers in the country three years ago, it is now in the process of building a team of around 60 bankers to cover Southern Africa. In 2007 South African ECM volume was strong with nearly US$8bn raised through 24 deals. As a relative measure in the same year, UK volume was about US$50bn. However the importance of South Africa dropped in 2008: the number of deals was flat but volume dropped to US$3.7bn, putting the country sixth against the rest of Africa and the Middle East. Significantly, the number of deals rose to 36 in 2009, thanks to a stream of rights issues, and the year to-date total in 2010 is already flat to the full-year of 2009.

There are also some comments about the two biggest listings this year, Life Healthcare and Optimum Coal.

Real the full article here.

Corruption: South Africa not as bad as Brazil, Russia, China, India

With scores of 9.3 out of 10, Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore are the world's least corrupt countries, according to a new index from Transparency International, an anti-corruption watchdog. At the other end of the table, Somalia ranks bottom with a score of 1.1, ahead of Afghanistan and Myanmar. Worryingly, Brazil, Russia, India and China—the BRICs currently considered the global engine for economic growth—all score less than 4.

South Africa, with a score of 4.7, ranks in the top third globally, higher than Brazil (3.7), China (3.5), India (3.3) and Russia (3.1).

Source: The Economist, Transparency International

Highlights from the South African Medium Term Budget

Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, delivered the Medium Term Budget in Parliament on October 27, 2010.

Key Highlights of his speech:

Former President Mandela once said: "After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb!"

Our successful hosting of the World Cup earlier this year is surely proof that no hill is too steep. As we move out of the depth of the greatest recession since the 1930s, we find yet another hill facing us - the highest, perhaps, we have yet had to climb. This is the creation of jobs and the reduction of poverty.

Our central goal is unequivocal: we have to accelerate growth in the South African economy, and we have to do so in ways that rapidly reduce poverty, unemployment and inequality.

I need to stress, Honourable Members, that the design of a growth strategy is the first step. Our next challenge is its implementation - aligning our policy and programmes, managing infrastructure project contracts, supporting accelerated business investment; actually delivering on the outputs and activities that are now documented in outcome statements, delivery agreements and strategic plans for every government department, every public entity, every state-owned enterprise, every municipality. All of us, every minister is committed to this.

We are strengthening our capacity to root out corruption and waste.

Honourable Speaker, South Africa was recently ranked first amongst 94 countries in the International Budget Partnership's Open Budget Survey, which assesses the degree to which governments provide sufficient budget documentation to allow for public participation, understanding and oversight in national budget decision-making.

Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to accelerate from 2.6 per cent in 2009 to 5 per cent in 2010 and 5.5 per cent in 2011 as commodity prices remain high, exports recover and domestic demand accelerates.

It is notable that in 2009, real spending on education and health increased in 20 out of 29 low-income regional economies.

At this stage, we expect overall growth of 3 per cent in 2010 rising to 3.5 per cent in 2011 and 4.4 per cent by 2013. Employment and private investment are expected to rise gradually as growth accelerates. Growth in real gross fixed capital formation is expected to rise from an estimated 0.8 per cent in 2010 to 5.6 per cent in 2011 and 5.9 per cent by 2013.

Capital flows to emerging markets have increased steadily over the past decade, supported by favourable growth dynamics, improved credit ratings, greater openness and the development of domestic financial markets. Net private capital flows to emerging economies could reach US$825 billion in 2010, up from US$581 billion in 2009. Fixed income investments will reach a record of US$70-75 billion in 2010.

In South Africa's circumstances, a careful balance needs to be found between continued real growth in expenditure, while reducing the future interest cost burden on the fiscus, so that expenditure growth can be sustained. Where we have to borrow, we will do so mainly to invest in infrastructure that contributes to building productive capacity. Improved delivery of services also requires that we use resources more efficiently, reduce waste and combat corruption.

Procurement and tender fraud to the value of nearly R25 billion is currently under investigation.


Pravin Gordhan's Speech (Listen)
Full Links to Medium Term Budget Statement and Adjusted Estimates of National Expenditure

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

WSJ: Wal-Mart Checks out South Africa

It's another sunny Saturday morning, and car trunks are open, ready for loading, in the parking lot here as South Africans return from shopping.

The O'Reilly family tested bikes at one of Massmart's Cape Town Makro stores last week. Wal-Mart is conducting due diligence on Massmart now.

"Shopping? Yeah, people here love it," says a saleswoman in the electronics department of giant discount retailer Makro, a unit of Massmart Holdings Ltd. "By midday," she says, "there is a stampede through the doors."

Similar scenes across South Africa help to explain why Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is considering making a 32 billion rand ($4.63 billion) bid for Massmart, which operates warehouse-sized stores that sell goods ranging from food and liquor to clothing, gym equipment and home furnishings.

Wal-Mart is now in its fifth week of conducting due diligence on Massmart. Executives are inspecting each of Massmart's 288 stores, which are located in 14 African countries, though mostly in South Africa.

If the company proceeds with a formal offer, the acquisition would be the Bentonville, Ark., retailer's biggest in more than a decade. It would also give Wal-Mart a head start in sub-Saharan Africa over European rivals Carrefour SA and Tesco PLC, which don't have any stores in the region.

Carrefour owns supermarkets in Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia with partners, but spokeswoman Amandine Cuinet declined to comment on the retailer's strategy for the rest of the continent. Tesco also declined to comment on markets where it doesn't operate.

South African labor unions have spoken out against Wal-Mart's potential arrival, but the country appears to offer friendlier and more familiar terrain than China and India, where Wal-Mart made earlier forays.

For starters, South Africa has embraced shopping malls. They dot cities, suburbs and, increasingly, the townships where a new and increasingly affluent black middle class has emerged over the past decade. In townships like Soweto, in southern Johannesburg, megamalls have largely displaced street traders.

"There is a new middle class of savvy consumers," says Simon Susman, the chief executive of clothing, homeware and food retailer Woolworths Holdings Ltd. "A shopping mall in South Africa is not very different from an Australian shopping mall or a British shopping mall."

Massmart itself has grown through acquisitions, according to Grant Pattison, Massmart's chief executive. Founded with Makro and six stores in 1990, it has bought a number of other brands, including upmarket Dion electronic stores in 1993. Last year it bought Cambridge Foods, a price-competitive supermarket chain catering to the millions of poorer South Africans who have to commute to their jobs from townships and villages. If a deal goes ahead, Wal-Mart is expected to keep Massmart management to guide its entry into the continent.

"South Africa forces you down a multiplatform route," Mr. Pattison says. Decades of apartheid rule, when blacks were kept out of the mainstream economy and the suburbs, ended in 1994. But the legacy is a two-tier economy that is only slowly eroding. The country boasts the presence of multinational companies, a wealth of mineral resources and the emergence of a middle class. But unemployment remains at about 25% of the working age population.

The two-tier approach has allowed Massmart and other retailers to do well even when the rest of the economy hasn't. In the 12 months through June, Massmart managed to increase its revenue 10% to 47.55 billion rand even though the country continued to lose jobs.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions, the country's biggest labor federation and a political ally of the ruling African National Congress, said it would fight the "Walmartization" of the retail sector. But Wal-Mart's Andy Bond, a former chief executive of Wal-Mart's U.K. subsidiary Asda who is spearheading the purchase, has said the company would work with Massmart's existing unions.

Mr. Pattison says that labor unions have a strong position in the country and the labor laws are very clear, something that wouldn't change with foreign ownership of Massmart.

Of course, Wal-Mart hasn't always managed to get its expansion into new markets right. In 2006, it had to abandon its German operation after spending eight years trying to crack one of Europe's most competitive discount-retailing environments. Last decade, it pulled out of South Korea.

Wal-Mart opened its first store in mainland China in 1996. In a country mired in bureaucracy, it has had to navigate a commercial environment that favors local companies and a distribution system closed to foreign firms. The retailer has also stumbled on its own, with failed efforts in its early days to sell extension ladders and a year's supply of soy sauce to customers living in tiny apartments.

In India, where it plans to use its discount, big-store model to capture a slice of a retail market that has annual sales of more than $350 billion, Wal-Mart has been waiting for years for the government to ease restrictions on foreign investment in the retail sector. There, it must also compete in an industry made up of small merchants.

By contrast, South Africa has relatively little regulatory oversight, executives in the country say. "Although like any business we like to complain from time to time, you can do business in South Africa and you can open a store in South Africa," says Woolworths' Mr. Susman. In the rare instances where licenses to trade are required, they are easy to obtain, he says.

There is an established infrastructure of roads and ports for the movement of goods, and a modern banking system and effective telecommunications to run the business, he adds.

The challenge is that for all its potential, South Africa remains a relatively small market of only about 50 million people.

But some like Wal-Mart now see the country as a gateway into another huge continental market. "You have to take the long view on Africa," says Massmart's Mr. Pattison.

Robb M. Stewart, WSJ

—Eric Bellman in Mumbai and Laurie Burkitt in Beijing contributed to this article.

Link to source

Friday, October 22, 2010

SocGen: The Number One Emerging Market you're Ignoring Right Now

A presentation given by French banking giant Societe Generale says (italics mine):

  • Africa is primed to surge

  • 15 years of awesome growth

  • Ahead of the rest of the world, on average

  • Each market offers different possibilities

  • Africa is a commodity hotspot

  • Energy demand is set to rise

  • The world has more and more youth ready to ask for more

  • Demand for more (better?) meat and food will drive Africa

  • And Africa has plenty of raw materials

  • The potentials for Africa's agricultural growth is huge

  • China is only helping

  • The rise of the African middle class is also huge for demand

  • An ample opportunity in infrastructure

  • The China relationship is only starting

  • But there are problems (risks?)

  • There are a lot of ways to get in - beyond typical ways (indices?)

  • African stock markets are now becoming more interesting
See the full presentation here.

The World's Gone Mad

First of all, let's take a look at what happened to Wal-Mart (from this article in WSJ):

"Wal-Mart sold $750 million worth of three-year bonds paying 0.75% a year. It sold $1.25 billion of five-year bonds paying 1.5%, $1.75 billion of 10-year bonds paying 3.25% and $1.25 billion of 30-year bonds paying 5%."

"Remember that those bond coupons are subject to two hidden costs. First, bond interest is taxed as ordinary income. That means that if the bonds are held in a taxable account, they will be taxed up to 35% right now—and as high as 39.6% next year if the Bush tax cuts expire as planned."

"Second, bonds face a serious risk from inflation. Who wants a piece of paper paying 5% a year for 30 years if inflation jumps to 7%? Nobody. If that happens, the price of the bond would plummet."

Now let's take a look at Wal-Mart stock.

"At $54, it has barely moved over the past 10 years. Yet during that time the company's annual sales and net income have more than doubled. Net operating cash flow has nearly tripled. And dividends have quadrupled, from 24 cents to $1.09."

Read the article for more.

Second, Italy is a bigger sovereign risk than Indonesia, according to Business Week.

"Italy’s debt costs more to insure against default than that of the Philippines or Indonesia, as Europe’s financial woes overshadow a credit rating six levels higher than either of the emerging-market nations. Credit-default swaps on Italy, the only borrower among Europe’s so-called peripheral nations not to suffer a cut in its credit rating since last year, trade at 165.5 basis points. That’s more than the 131 basis points for Indonesia, which had to restructure some of its debt in 2000, or the 129 basis points for the Philippines."

Third, the Reserve Bank will tell you, "Since the beginning of the year, non-residents have been net buyers of equities and bonds to the value of R100 billion, of which R75 billion were bond purchases. This compares with net purchases of bonds totalling R15,5 billion in 2009 as a whole. Whereas in previous years bond flows appeared to be mainly speculative in nature, the recent developments suggest that there could have been a fundamental shift in these flows. There are indications that a significant proportion of these flows are more long term in nature as foreign pension funds and other fund managers take advantage of higher yields in emerging-market economies. The higher levels of bond market inflows are not unique to South Africa. It is estimated that emerging-market bond funds have recorded year-to-date inflows of US$32 billion, compared with the previous full-year high of US$9,7 billion in 2005."

Fourth: Pension funds, who rely on an 8% assumed return on capital over long time periods to match growing liabilities, have decided it's a good idea to flee stocks for the "safety" of bonds. A fool and his money will tell you this is a ridiculous idea:

"Alcoa's U.S. pension fund had 57% of its assets in stocks in 2006. The stock market started sliding late in 2007, and by the end of 2008 the decline had pulled stocks down to just 33% of Alcoa's pension portfolio. The fund's value tumbled by more than $2 billion, to $6.5 billion. Alcoa officials decided against restoring the stock exposure to its former level. With the blessing of the board, they looked for ways to insulate the fund from future damage. By early 2009, the board signed off on a plan to push stocks down to 30% of fund assets, selling shares and buying bonds. As the stock market surged back starting in early March that year, Alcoa continued to sell stocks to keep that weighting at 30%."

The pension boards will tell you it's to reduce volatility and protect principal, and that changing your strategy based on economics and markets is not what they are doing. That would be true except, "About two decades ago, in 1988, corporate pension funds had just 38% of their assets in stocks, according to the Center for Retirement Research. And 401(k)-type plans, in which individuals control investment decisions, also held less than 40% in stocks, according to the Center. During the stock boom of the 1990s, the percentage invested in stocks jumped for both groups, with individuals hitting 68% in stocks in 1999 and corporate pension plans hitting 67% in 2001."

And as for this gold illusion, it's pretty clear there's no correlation between the rate of change in M3 and the gold price, and there's clearly a somewhat complicated relationship to explain movements in the gold price related to the M3 money supply over long time periods.

All in, a good time to be buying companies at attractive prices.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

South African Tourist Numbers Soar

The number of people who visited South Africa in the past year has grown exponentially, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwk said on Tuesday.

“We have seen exponential growth in foreign arrivals to South Africa, culminating in more than 9.9 million foreign arrivals last year,” he said at a breakfast hosted by the Tourism Enterprise Partnership (TEP) in Durban.

Tourism's total direct and indirect contribution to the economy almost doubled from 4.9% in 1994 to 7.9% or R89.4bn in 2009.

“As government, in close partnership with the industry, we have consistently been taking the necessary steps to ensure that we continue on this positive trajectory,” he said.

World Cup success

South Africa would use the success of the soccer World Cup as a springboard to reach new levels of growth.

“With the exceptionally successful hosting of the World Cup in South Africa, the tourism sector in South Africa is set to enter a new growth phase.”

The tourism sector had provided foreign visitors to the tournament an "extraordinary experience", and he was confident they would become "powerful ambassadors" for the country.

One of the problems facing the tourism industry however was that worldwide consumer spending had not recovered fully after the economic meltdown.

“We must be more innovative in our efforts to attract tourists. We must work even harder at marketing our destination in our traditional and very important emerging source markets.”

Van Schalkwk commended the TEP for facilitating tourism growth.

“Since its inception in July 2000, TEP has successfully facilitated transactions in excess of R4bn.”

Monday, October 18, 2010

Big Mac Index says Rand still Undervalued

A weak currency, despite its appeal to exporters and politicians, is no free lunch. But it can provide a cheap one. In China a McDonald’s Big Mac costs just 14.5 yuan on average in Beijing and Shenzhen, the equivalent of $2.18 at market exchange rates. In America the same burger averages $3.71. That makes China’s yuan one of the most undervalued currencies in our Big Mac index, which is based on the idea of purchasing-power parity.

This says that a currency’s price should reflect the amount of goods and services it can buy. Since 14.5 yuan can buy as much burger as $3.71, a yuan should be worth $0.26 on the foreign-exchange market. At just $0.15, it is undervalued by about 40%. The tensions caused by currency misalignments prompted Brazil’s finance minister to complain last month that his country was a potential casualty of a “currency war”. The Swiss, who avoid most wars, are in the thick of this one. Their franc is the most expensive currency on our list.

Source: The Economist

Buffett: "The Biggest Blunder I ever made"

Warren Buffett discusses his worst ever investment on CNBC...

Aiming for the Top League - SA Corporate Tax Restructure

National treasury is shaking up its corporate tax laws, embarking on a new “Gateway into Africa” initiative to make SA a more attractive destination for foreign companies wanting to do business in Africa to base their regional headquarters in SA. The reform — part of the tax amendment bill and which takes effect in January next year — introduces a new headquarter company regime, separate from the current controlled foreign company regulations which subject foreign companies’ subsidiaries in SA to local taxes.

The regime will enable profits and interest earned in other countries to flow tax-free through a foreign company’s SA office to its home country. This should enhance SA’s chances of being in the top league of world destinations in which to set up shop.

Continue reading here...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chris Gardner forming $1bn South Africa Fund

Chris Gardner (portrayed by Will Smith in the film Pursuit of Happyness) is to launch a $1bn private equity firm in South Africa.

"Chris Gardner is working on a project in South Africa to increase the employment opportunities, economic stability and wealth distribution of an emerging nation. Working with the support of South African government and labor unions, and with the guidance of the financial professionals responsible for investing the largest of US pension assets, Gardner Rich in conjunction with previously disadvantaged South African entrepreneurs, will buy established, stable companies based in South Africa and transform them to compete in the more inclusive South African economy.
In doing so, Chris will directly improve the lives of over 85,000 South Africans by including company employees in his ownership structures. While the social benefits to the people of South Africa are great, the economic motivation is to capitalize upon the previously suppressed work ethic of the South African people and benefit from their fervent desire to be a part of their new dynamic economy; to this end, Chris is proud to help them achieve and share in their goals."

Direct Link says:

"It's a nation he fell madly in love with in the late '90s when he was invited by an institutional customer to meet with senior officials there; during the trip, Nelson Mandela greeted him by declaring, "Welcome home, son." Now he dreams of bringing foreign capital and hundreds of jobs to the country: "I have the opportunity to use everything I've learned in the capital markets on Wall Street over 25 years to do transactions that will actually benefit people while we all make money." As Gardner sees it, American investors' perception of South Africa -- disease, corruption and failing infrastructure -- is horribly skewed. It is, in other words, deeply underestimated -- not unlike how some might have once underestimated a certain homeless man sleeping in a train station. "It's miscategorized and misunderstood," he says. "There are tremendous opportunities as the economy there shifts from natural resources to manufacturing."

PetroSA to Build Refinery to save R12.6bn annually

A planned crude oil refinery to be built in the Eastern Cape will save South Africa about R12.6bn a year in energy costs, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

"This country stands to save... once the refinery is running, and could export oil across Africa," Zuma said in a speech prepared for his visit to PetroSA's gas liquid refinery in Mossel Bay on Thursday.

He said the project, expected to be built by 2015, would showcase South Africa's competitive ability to its global counterparts which was important for the image of the country.

It would also help the country escape from the current dependency trap where refined automotive products had to be imported, he said.

Once completed, the refinery in the Coega Industrial Development Zone near Port Elizabeth would be the biggest in Africa.

"We welcome the fact that PetroSA is making its impact, not only in job creation but in empowering the people as well. It employs close to 2000 people, while 27 500 more will be absorbed within the crude oil refinery that is planned," he said.

Zuma also welcomed the impressive growth of PetroSA from its successful merger of Mossgas, Soekor and parts of the Strategic Fuel Fund in 2002.

"To be able to reach the markets in Europe, the USA, Caribbean, Middle East and the Far East, is an important achievement.

"With the company supplying about seven percent of South Africa's liquid fuel needs, indications are that we will lessen our dependence on foreign sources of fuel," Zuma said.

Referring to the company's partnership with the University of the Western Cape for a R36m sponsorship to establish a Synthetic Fuels Research Facility at the university, Zuma said it would help bridge the gap between academic knowledge and practical involvement in the field.

"This is not only much needed skills intervention. It is also part of opening up opportunities to previously disadvantaged institutions to enable them to make a significant contribution to economic development," Zuma added.

Currency Wars - A Few Contrasting Views

Is the world headed for a "currency war"? Massive capital inflows into emerging market bonds coupled with a weakening dollar has seen emerging market currencies such as the rand and real appreciate.

South Africa's Finance Minister believes a global currency war is coming, while US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says "there's no risk".

Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega believes a "currency war is currently underway".

All of Brazil, Japan, Thailand, Switzerland and others have taken pro-active steps to intervene in their respective currency markets.

A picture paints a thousand words.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Citigroup to Expand in Africa Through "Inorganic Growth"

Citigroup could consider acquisitions to help build its transaction services business in Africa once the U.S. government has sold off its stake in the bank, a top executive said on Monday.

Francesco Vanni d’Archirafi, Citigroup’s chief executive officer of global transaction services, told reporters in Johannesburg that "inorganic growth" could be one option to help build its business in Africa.

Citi’s global transaction business offers cash management and custody services to corporate clients.

The bank is about 12.4 percent owned by the U.S. government, after taking a record $45 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds during the financial crisis.

Source: BusinessDay

More details on this here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

South Africa To Get 6 New Power Plants

South Africa will get six new power stations worth R1.3 trillion in an effort to eradicate power cuts, the SABC reported on Thursday.

China, France and South Korea would help in the construction of the proposed new stations, the energy department's director general Nelisiwe Magubane said.

The power stations, which formed part of the government's new proposed energy plan, would use "different technology".

"This project has actually not yielded the required results... we need them to re-look the research projects.

"But in the meantime we are still going to need additional power plants and we are going to use what we call conventional nuclear power as we use it in Koeberg, in Cape Town," she told the broadcaster.

Source: Fin24

See also:

South Africa to halve coal dependence

"The government sees nuclear supplying 14% of the country's energy mix by 2030 and renewable energy by 16%, while the remaining capacity would come from open cycle gas turbines, pump storage schemes and imported power generated from hydroelectric plants."

More on Energy Development in South Africa:

- New Oil Pipeline (A Legacy Asset)
- Wind Power in South Africa

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New Oil Pipeline - "A Legacy Asset"

"One of SA's most ambitious engineering projects is being buried and though you might never see or hear of it, it will underpin their economic lives."

"I speak of Transnet's New Multi-Product Pipeline, currently under construction from Durban to Gauteng. The 700km pipeline will move 87bn litres pa of petrol, diesel and jet fuel to fuel the interior's growing demand for fuels."

"It will cross 100 waterways, and much steep terrain. At least half of the route requires drilling and blasting through rock. The present Durban-Johannesburg pipeline is inadequate and after 45 years worn out and becoming unsafe for use. The new pipeline with four times the capacity will replace it"

"It is a legacy asset, an economic lifeline that should last at least 70 years."

"It will reduce the number of fuel tankers on the roads by 60%, reducing road wear and increasing safety."

"Transnet's new policy is to build capacity before it is actually needed. Rail expansion will absorb R54.6bn and ports R24.7bn in the next five years."

South Africa's Wind Power Potential

Suzlon Energy, the third leading wind turbine supplier in the world by market share, on Wednesday announced that it had set up offices in South Africa, while appointing Silas Zimu as country CEO.

Zimu was previously managing director of major utility company City Power.

Tulsi Tanti, the founder, chairman and MD of Suzlon said: "Silas Zimu is a fantastic appointment for us. With 19 years in South Africa's power sector he understands the business like nobody else in the country."

"Silas' experience is second to none and he shares with us the vision for a greener tomorrow. This announcement today underscores our belief that South Africa has huge wind potential, along with our intention to play a major role in bringing that to fruition.

"We believe that wind power can help South Africa deliver the power the country needs, along with energy security required, and create thousands of green jobs."

Zimu said: "My vision is clear. I want to see this great country of ours embracing wind for all the right reasons: closing the energy gap between what we generate currently and what we need, offering green electricity, creating many green jobs and enabling sustainability in the social, environmental and ecological spheres."

"I believe that wind has a very important place in South Africa's energy portfolio, and I am delighted to now have a strong platform with Suzlon to make that a reality," Zimu concluded.

Source: I-Net Bridge

Monday, October 4, 2010

European Debt Crisis Explained in 3 Minutes

UT Bank of Ghana to List on JSE Africa Board

Ghana's UT Bank may consider listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange's Africa board, its chief executive said on Monday.

Kofi Amoabeng told Reuters in Johannesburg that the group was also interested in selling up to 20% of the bank to an foreign partner.

He added that UT Bank aimed to at least double its balance sheet in the next three years from the current $250m.

The other two listings on the JSE Africa Board:

Trustco Group Holdings
Wilderness Holdings Limited

Friday, October 1, 2010

Welcome to Sam's Club

Mail & Guardian, October 1, 2010 (link):

On the proposed bid by Wal-Mart for Massmart...

1. "South Africa may not be invited to the Bric party, but it looks like we're welcome in Uncle Sam's club -- and that may say more important things about the country and the region".

2. "Walmart is buying 232 South African stores and 24 more across the continent, as well as the serious expertise of Massmart's management. But what it is really buying is the idea of a South African, and an African, middle class."

3. "It is buying the idea of Africans as consumers of goods and services rather than recipients of aid. That is a big deal, very much to be celebrated, and not just for symbolic reasons. For starters, it refocuses interest in Africa away from the resource plays that continue to dominate inward investment and towards the continent's people.