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Archive for November, 2008

Nov 28 2008

Was it good, or was it not?

Published by under Companies,Top Stories

I’ve been looking at the financial results of Naspers for the six months to end September to report something, but one aspect bothered me so much, that I couldn’t get going. So, I decided to write about what bothered me and not the results.     [Read on]

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Nov 28 2008

The mystery which is Leopard’s Leap

Published by under Companies,More News

Another marketing mystery from the Rupert stable, or not? This time I’m in the Cape winelands, where it was announced the wine brand Leopard’s Leap will sponsor the 11th annual British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) in London next week.  

Big event, big sponsorship, big brand. But, when one starts looking around on the web to find out where this wine comes from and who is behind it, it turns into a bit of a struggle. Nothing. This is strange. All the more so, because the marketing-savvy Rupert family is behind it (apart from the fact that the Rupert name also has some mileage for the wines in it). 

There’s a friendly, good-looking Leopard’s Leap blog, and even a page on Facebook. But, nowhere on the web could I find some basic info about the brand, such as: Where do the grapes come from, who is the winemaker, can one visit a wine estate to taste, who imports the stuff in the UK?

On the site of the International Wine & Spirit Competition, you are told Leopard’s Leap is produced by Historic Wines of the Cape. Again, nothing on the internet about this outfit. 

It was only when I looked in the Platter guide that I read it’s a Franschhoek wine, the farm is “part of the Rupert Family Vineyards” but is “closed to the public”, winemaker is Eugene van Zyl and the only way to contact the outfit is by e-mail and phone. 

This is clearly a brand-building exercise, which is what SA wine exports need (big volume brands the Germans can pronouce and remember and which will be on store shelves everytime they go shopping), but why this gap in the marketing effort? Should Leopard’s Leap not get a “home” in the Cape winelands, where tourists can taste, and a website? Like, for instance, Golden Kaan has in Robertson. 

I think to sponsor the BIFA (for the 2nd year running) without a “home in the Cape winelands” and without some basic info on the internet, is to “span die bemarkings-wa voor die bemarkings-perde”.

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Nov 27 2008

Heineken threatens SABMiller’s German plans

Published by under Companies,Top Stories

SABMiller’s plans to double its market share in Germany within a few years might have been dealt a cruel blow even before they got implemented. [Read on]

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Nov 27 2008

Nimbuzz does iPhone

Published by under Companies,More News

Nimbuzz, the free call and universal chat solution co-financed by Naspers, says over 10 million log in to its service daily and over 10,000 new users sign up for the service every day. That might make it more popular than the project they worked on before Nimbuzz, ie. Skype. 

But, still they don’t rest. Yesterday they launched a free iPhone application in the Apple iPhone Apps store. Take a look what the respected tech blog The Next Web had to say.

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Nov 27 2008

Paul Volcker laughs last

Published by under Opinion,Top Stories

The mythos that is Alan Greenspan took another hit with the appointment yesterday of Paul Volcker (81) to US president-elect Obama’s new Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Greenspan took over from Volcker as head of the Fed (US central bank) in 1987. [Read on]

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Nov 26 2008

Naspers blows R500m and no-one says a word

Published by under Companies,Top Stories

Naspers released its financial results for the 6 months up to end September today, and they were good (under the circumstances even very good). [Read on]

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Nov 25 2008

How UK tax changes impact SA wine industry

Published by under Companies,More News

The fall-out of the economic stimulation package announced by the UK government yesterday might be negative for the SA wine industry. 

As part of the package, the UK government reduced VAT and – to prevent alcoholic drinks, tobacco and petrol from getting cheaper – increased import duties on these products. Since import duties have to be paid upfront by importers, while VAT is only paid over to the government “after the fact” (after a sale) at the end of a quarter, the net effect of the stimulation package will be to worsen the cash flow of importers. 

In an article on the site Talking Drinks it was suggested the net effect of the two measures was (1) to increase the prices of lower priced wines slightly (a few pennies per bottle) and (2) hit the cashflow of importers, who might be forced to renegotiate terms with suppliers. Cape wine exporters might soon be getting it from both sides.

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Nov 25 2008

InBev on the disposal trail again

Published by under Companies,More News

Two weeks ago we heard beer brewer InBev was looking to sell its business in Germany, including the German rights to the brand Becks, to help it finance the (rather expensive) acquisition of Anheuser-Busch.

Today the subscriptions only magazine Just-drinks.com reported an analyst saying Anheuser-Busch’s stake in Chinese beer brand Tsingtao might also be sold by InBev – for the same purpose.

Unfortunately my test subscription to Just-drinks.com ran out a few days ago. So, I am also “wondering” what the whole story is.

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