Archive for June, 2009

Jun 30 2009

When local is lekker and foreign not

Published by under Opinion,Top Stories

TheBigPond was born out of the “insight” that SA’s mainstream media were underestimating the importance of what SA managers were doing on the global stage. [Read on]

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Jun 24 2009

SA’s central position in clean car industry

Published by under Companies,More News

It’s official – South Africa will occupy a central position in the global car industry of tomorrow – the “clean car era”. Well, almost. And just in the heads of proud South Africans.

How then? After Daimler took a 10% stake in California-based e-car manufacturer Tesla Motors a few weeks ago, the US government yesterday awarded Tesla Motors a credit line of $465 million, thereby acknowledging that Tesla is an important player in the electric car world and urging it on to greater things.

If there was doubt before, there can be no doubt now (in my view) that Tesla will be a major player in the “clean car era” (which is to break in the next year or two).

You still don’t get it? Tusk was founded and is still managed by ex-South African Elon Musk (37). Read all about this “half-South African” here.

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Jun 22 2009

Glasenberg: SA’s richest emigrant?

Published by under Companies,Top Stories

Ninety-nine percent of South Africans have never heard of Ivan Glasenberg – even though he is the most powerful and perhaps richest South African businessman in the history of the country. Richer than the Oppenheimers, the Ruperts and the Motsepes. Last year his company had a turnover of €150 billion – more than either Daimler, or Siemens. [Read on]

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Jun 18 2009

Stellenbosch company helps Iran protesters

Published by under Companies,Top Stories

I received this message from the public relations officer of fring just now: fring is helping Iran protesters get their messages to each other – and around the world.

You’ll remember fring as the global mobile community and communication service** in which Stellenbosch-based venture capital company Venfin invested an unknown amount recently. Read all about that here. Apart from Venfin, fring has three other investors – one from the US and two from Israel. [Read on]

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Jun 16 2009

Sanlam wants more in India

Published by under Companies,More News

For my archive and records only.

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Jun 15 2009

Diamond prices on the mend

Published by under Companies,More News

This article might (or might not) have appeared in the Financial Times this morning. It was written by a German journalist and appeared in the Financial Times Deutschland. I thought it was important enough to translate and publish anyway. Here we go:

Diamonds sparkle (again)

Precious stone dealers get higher prices at auctions than in previous month


Christine Mai, Frankfurt

The global recession-hit market for diamonds has shown first signs of recovery. But, experts warn against premature optimism, because the retail trade still shows no signs of improving. “The upswing is driven by re-stocking of supplies and will lose momentum without a breakthrough on the retail side of the jewelry market,” said diamond analyst Des Kilalea of RBC Capital Markets in South Africa.

The excitement was big when the world’s biggest diamond producer De Beers halted almost all mining activity in the first quarter of 2009. Now production rises again, while prices seem to have found their bottom. But, analysts warn demand remains weak.

With the economic downswing the demand for diamond jewelry collapsed and pulled prices down – for cut and polished diamonds as much as 30%. Jewelry concern Tiffany & Co registered a drop in profits in the first quarter of almost two-thirds to $24.3 million. Producers reacted with shorter working hours and the temporary closing down of mining operations.

In the first three months of the year De Beers stopped mining almost completely – production dropped by 91% to 1.1 million carat (one carat equals 0.2 gram). The market was hit especially hard by the severity of the downswing in the USA, where almost half of the demand for diamonds comes from.

This had terrible consequences for countries mining and processing diamonds. According to sector representatives, about 400,000 jobs had been lost in the Indian diamond cutting and polish sector since October last year. In a few countries, especially in Africa, the crisis is existence-threatening. For instance, Botswana gets about half its gross domestic product from diamonds. To bridge the crisis, Botswana last week took up a credit line of $1.5 billion from the African Development Bank.

Positive signals have, however, been surfacing in the past few weeks. According to information provided by the sector, the diamond producer Gem Diamonds got about $1,600 per carat at an auction for uncut diamonds in May, after only about $1,100 was paid at the previous auction. Even this price was still way below the $2,500 per carat obtained in the first six months of 2008.

Gareth Penny, head of De Beers, reckons the bottom has been reached. Prices stabilised in April and May, he told diamond traders in Antwerp last week. “December and Xmas 2009 will be better than December and Xmas 2008,” was his forecast for the most important sales season of the year.

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Jun 15 2009

The wake-up call: Crowd sizes at Confed games

Published by under Opinion,Top Stories

Some (like the German media) will have their eyes on crime in SA during the Confederation Cup. Others will have their eyes on the games. But, I will have my eyes on the stands. More specifically, on the crowds attending the games. As far as I’m concerned, the factor ticket sales for Confed Cup games is the vital early indicator of the success (or failure) of next year’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa.   [Read on]

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Jun 11 2009

About websites which cost R6.5 million

Published by under Opinion,Top Stories

The City of Durban paid R6.5 million (about €540,000) for a website with content management system (CMS), wrote ITWeb. In today’s “expensive” Germany, websites with price tags like that are few and far between.   [Read on]

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