Breakingviews

Woolworths pays too-steep ransom in Aussie battle

June 24, 2014

The South African group is buying billionaire Solomon Lew’s stake in an Australian unit in return for his support in its $2 bln takeover of retailer David Jones. The $201 mln side deal lifts the effective takeover premium – raising the pressure on Woolworths to realise synergies.

South Africa needs neighbors’ growth rates

May 2, 2014

Two decades after Nelson Mandela became president, the post-apartheid generation will vote for the first time in the May 7 election. The ANC represents his political legacy, but that’s undermined by the party’s weak economic results. Maybe the “Born Frees” can help change that.

South Africa platinum crisis not over yet

September 19, 2012

A deal between Lonmin and its striking miners might solve an immediate problem, if it holds. But it sets up other big challenges for the company and the industry. A big wage hike will hurt already weak margins. And the response may only encourage further strikes.

No easy fix for South Africa platinum crisis

October 4, 2012

Striking miners want higher pay for dangerous work. But current prices are too low for the industry to pay up. Cutting production would help, but platinum mines are deep and expensive to shut. Firing workers is political dynamite. So the crisis drags on.

Lonmin doesn’t have to surrender to Xstrata – yet

November 9, 2012

The big platinum miner spurned 25 pct owner Xstrata’s demand for management change in return for backing its $817 mln rights issue. It can afford to, for now: the fundraising is underwritten and Xstrata is probably loath to be diluted. But after this battle, Lonmin faces a war.

South Africa has work cut out to reach BRIC goal

August 26, 2010

South African president Jacob Zuma wants to join the BRICs. The likely deluge of foreign investment from membership of the club representing the biggest fast-growing economies would bring huge benefits. But Zuma has plenty to prove -- including that he can avoid the BRICs' worst failings.

Mandelanomics was too conventional to shine

December 5, 2013

Nelson Mandela, dead at 95, was a brave leader who was too timid economically. Avoiding the errors of others, he set post-apartheid South Africa on course toward being a mostly free market with stable finances. Unfortunately, he also left the country slow-growing and unequal.

Mandela’s successors can shape his economic legacy

By Edward Hadas
December 10, 2013

As world leaders remember a great statesman, they may ponder South Africa’s middle-income trap. Compared with other post-colonial economies, even stagnation would be a tribute to Mandela’s peace-making. It’s up to those who followed him to buck recent trends and escape the trap.

ICBC takes slow-burn approach to global expansion

January 30, 2014

The Chinese lender is buying 60 pct of Standard Bank’s UK trading business. Negotiations took over a year, and ICBC has over a decade to take full control. Slow decision making can mean missed opportunities, but caution may protect China’s banks from high-profile own goals.

The limits of emerging market deal-making

September 30, 2009

So much for emerging-market solidarity. A proposed $24 billion deal between Bharti of India and MTN of South Africa has fallen apart, not for the usual issues of price or control, but national ego.