Barney Barnato would hardly recognise what's left of the rapidly disappearing Johannesburg Consolidated Investments (JCI), the mining empire he formed in 1889. Barnato was long gone by the time Johnnic had shape-shifted into a mining, industrial and media empire. The dismantling of the group started in 1995 with the unbundling of the mining and industrial interests.
Eric Samson is probably South Africa's richest resident, though you don't hear much of him. His unlisted Macsteel Holdings business empire generates revenue of nearly R70-billion a year, roughly equivalent in size to Sasol, and supplies much of the steel used in the local industry. Macsteel, one of the 10 largest companies in South Africa, is part of a probe into steel pricing by the Competition Tribunal.
South Africans are about to get hit with an avalanche of pay TV options from next year -- some of them delivered to your cellphone. Until now MultiChoice -- which owns M-Net and DStv -- has been the sole provider of subscription TV in South Africa, but that's about to change.
Royal Enfield bikes have a cult following among classic bike enthusiasts around the world, some of whom own more than 20 working models dating back to the 1930s. The bikes are now made in India where they festoon the streets and sidewalks and are the preferred mode of transport for millions of Indians.
The last two weeks were the most expensive in Gold Fields's history. It plonked deals worth about R25-billion on the table, in the process establishing itself as the world's top gold mining group in terms of ounces in the ground. Recently, it unveiled a R4,7-billion investment aimed at deepening its flagship Driefontein and Kloof gold mines, giving it access to an additional 10,8-million ounces of gold.
There were denials all round this week that Anglo American was a potential takeover target. In a high-stakes poker game, that's what you do: you pretend to fold before the game has really started. Anglo's share price exploded in the past two months as rumours of a possible takeover started to circulate.
The volatile rand is creating havoc for companies and investors. It lost 23% of its value in seven weeks, starting in early May, and has since regained nearly 10% of its value, trading at about R6,86 to the dollar recently. This is good news for exporters and commodity producers, who complained for years that the strong rand was hurting them.
Business is helping tackle crime, with several initiatives by Business Against Crime bearing fruit. Vehicle theft and hijackings are down about 16% over the past five years from about 115 000 in 2001 to 96 000 last year. Even more impressive is the 30% reduction in Gauteng hijackings last year.