Still good to invest in SA de­spite is­sues

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES -

BAR­CLAYS Africa Group’s in­vest­ment bank­ing unit said South Africa was still of­fer­ing in­vestors op­por­tu­ni­ties even amid in­creased labour un­rest, elec­tric­ity short­ages and a slow­ing econ­omy. “There are some good com­pa­nies in­vest­ing into Africa,” Stephen van Coller, head of its in­vest­ment bank­ing unit, said yes­ter­day. The coun­try’s stock mar­ket ad­heres to good gov­er­nance prin­ci­ples, it’s easy to move money in and out of South Africa and the use of in­ter­na­tional ac­count­ing stan­dards made it “an easy in­vest­ment plat­form” to ac­cess com­pa­nies ex­pand­ing in the con­ti­nent, he said. Mo­bile tele­coms op­er­a­tor MTN Group, Bar­clays Africa, re­tailer Sho­prite and in­surer San­lam are some South African com­pa­nies boost­ing profit by ex­pand­ing across Africa. While they’re grow­ing, the econ­omy’s ad­vance has slowed, ham­pered by in­fla­tion at the top end of the cen­tral bank’s tar­get range, un­em­ploy­ment at more than 25 per­cent, strikes and elec­tric­ity cuts caused by creak­ing in­fra­struc­ture. Van Coller said: “Next year will be tough – there will still be power prob­lems and un­rest.” South Africa’s in­fla­tion rate was 5.9 per­cent in Septem­ber and the econ­omy is fore­cast to ex­pand 1.4 per­cent this year, the slow­est pace since a 2009 re­ces­sion. “Own­ing a big chunk of Africa out­side South Africa is im­por­tant,” he said. Bar­clays shares rose 1.14 per­cent to close at R177.99 yes­ter­day. – Bloomberg

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