TheBigPond - spotlight on what South African business and business people have been up to in Europe. Edited by South African journalist Christo Volschenk from Stuttgart, Germany. Note: This blog has migrated to a new home at www.thebigpond.eu.
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Investec Asset Management loses senior man
According to the website HedgeCo.net, Mike Brown, a senior employee of Investec Asset Management (IAM) in London for the past eight years, moved on. More specifically, to Collins Stewart Fund Management, where he will be head of fund sales.
At IAM he was responsible for distribution into the UK, Middle East, the Channel Islands, other offshore centres, Scandinavia and the Americas. In his new position he will lead sales of the multi-asset, multi-manager funds and specialist equity, fixed interest and hedge funds from the offshore group, the site reported.
Denel hopes to co-build South Korean attack heli
South Korea has decided to develop its own attack helicopter and build 270 between 2013 and 2018 with the help of foreign experts.
South Africa's Denel, developer of the Rooivalk helicopter, is one of a number of companies around the globe who said they would be willing to help South Korea develop the new helicopter, reported the Korea Times on 30 July.
I republish part of the article written by Jung Sung-ki, staff reporter of Korea Times (www.koreatimes.co.kr):
"South Korea has decided to build about 270 indigenous light-medium attack helicopters armed with advanced missile and self-defense systems in partnership with foreign defense firms, a military source said Wednesday.
The Army wants to initially deploy the aircraft in the field between 2013 and 2018.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) made the final decision last week after a 19-month feasibility study on the Korea Attack Helicopter (KAH) program estimated to cost between $5 billion and $10 billion, the source told The Korea Times on condition of anonymity.
DAPA had been weighing since January last year whether to buy foreign attack helicopters or develop the country's own aircraft with the help of foreign manufacturers. Many defense experts have advised, however, the latter option would not be affordable.
The agency commissioned the study by a private defense think tank late last year.
Major helicopter makers in the world have expressed keen interest in joining the KAH program, offering a package of benefits for Seoul, including technology transfer regarding the development of sophisticated attack helicopters, DAPA officials said.
Among the firms eyeing participation are Boeing and Sikorsky of the United States; AgustaWestland, a British-Italian joint venture; Denel Aerospace Systems of South Africa; and the Franco-German consortium Eurocopter, a subsidiary of the European Aeronautics Defence and Space (EADS), they said.
Sources say Eurocopter is expected to have the edge since the South Korean Army's proposed operational requirements closely reflect the firm's Tiger helicopter.
Denel's AH-2 Rooivalk are expected to compete for the KAH program.
According to the information on the KAH issued by DAPA to the foreign helicopter manufacturers in April, the Army wants a twin-engine medium-weight helicopter that has a flight endurance of more than two hours.
The KAH should have a maximum cruising speed of 130 knots or more and be equipped with satellite-guided GPS and inertial navigation systems, and systems supportive of night/instrument flights.
The helicopter also should be fitted with radar, laser and missile warning receivers and an integrated countermeasures system. Armament is to include more than eight anti-tank guided missiles and 38 70mm air-to-ground fire support rockets, as well as a 20mm cannon and more than two air-to-air missiles, the document said.
Production contracts worth $4.1 billion will be signed around 2011, a year before the start of mass production, once it is clear how much technology transfer has occurred."
Investec Asset Management on the acquisition trail?
Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity is set to rise in the European asset management industry in the next 12 months, if a "snap survey" of asset manager CEO's is to be believed.
The Dow Jones publication Financial News (www.efinancialnews.com) conducted a survey on the topic of M&A activity in June and published the results in the issue of 28 July.
According to the magazine 85% of CEO's interviewed said they were open to such activity - up from just 70% last year.
The magazine concluded: "M&A activity is set to rise as asset managers review their strategies and look for ways to cut their costs."
Apparently, analysts were of the same opinion.
"Analysts are predicting a spate of transactions in the next 12 months," according to the magazine." Aaron Dorr, a New York-based managing director at Jefferies Putnam Lovell, said: "We expect strong M&A activity involving battered banks and other financial institutions divesting asset management businesses to raise capital..."
In the meantime, the valuations for asset managers have dropped slightly in the past 12 months.
"Last year 56% of the respondents in the snapshot survey said a 12 to 15 times ebitda was a fair valuation. This year 55% said 10 to 12 times was a fair evaluation."
It was not clear from the article whether Hendrik du Toit, CEO of Investec Asset Management, was one of the 85% group (open to M&A activity), or one of the 15% group (not interested in M&A activity), but he was quoted as saying a price of 11 to 13 times ebitda would be reasonable.
"Cheap does not always translate into opportunity," he said.
"Attractive targets are always expensive. For example, Allianz bought Pimco for top dollar and was rewarded for it. Where they are cheap, there is always a good reason," he added.
SABMiller announces European expansion drive
The UK publication Just-Drinks reported on 25 July SABMiller will set up new businesses in Sweden and Austria as part of a plan to significantly expand export beer sales in Europe over the next five years.
SABMiller says it is expanding its export operations across Europe, with its objective to “significantly” increase volumes over the next five years.
With the new operations in place, SABMiller will export to nearly every country in Europe.
Germany and the UK are cited as SABMiller successes. In Germany export volumes totalled 300,000 hectolitres, although two-thirds of the total is accounted for by Pilsner Urquell brought in from the neighbouring Czech Republic. The brewer describes the UK as its most successful, with the country’s residents able to choose from a larger portfolio of SABMiller brands than any other European market. (No volume figure was provided.)
Overall exports across Europe have risen by 24% per annum to a total in excess of 2.4 million hectolitres. The trend is accelerating – last year exports rose by 40% in volume terms, the company said.
Standard Bank rated 'best in Africa' (again)
South African bank Standard Bank was nominated the 'Best Bank in Africa' at this year's Euromoney Global Awards for Excellence held in London earlier this month.
According to a report on MediaclubSouthAfrica.com, this was the second year running that Standard Bank was selected 'Best bank in Africa'.
Here a synopsis of the article written by Janine Erasmus:
"Standard Bank walked off with two other awards on the night – one for being the top bank in South Africa for 2008, and one awarded to its Stanbic IBTC Nigeria division as Best Bond House. Standard Bank trades as Stanbic Bank in a number of African countries.
"UK-based Euromoney magazine, launched in 1969, has grown into one of the world’s most respected financial sector publications. The Euromoney Awards for Excellence are now in their 16th year and are widely considered to be the most prestigious in the financial services industry.
"Awards are made on global, continental and national levels, and there is a special category for emerging markets.
"Earlier in 2008 Standard Bank was named as the Emerging Markets’ Bank of the Year in Global Finance magazine's annual "Best Emerging Market Banks in Africa" survey. In addition, its progressive workplace HIV/Aids programme was recognised internationally with two awards from The Global Business Coalition and Africom.net.
"In October 2007 Standard Bank sold 20% of its shareholding to China’s leading commercial bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which is also the world’s biggest bank in terms of market capitalisation. The deal, worth almost R37-billion ($4.8-billion), is the largest direct injection of foreign capital in South Africa to date.
"Standard Bank trades in 38 countries around the world, which includes its operations in 18 African countries."
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