May 19, 2020

Africa's biggest companies

Mobile banking
Bizclik Editor
3 min
Africa's biggest companies

This April saw the unveiling of 2010’s exclusive Forbes Global 2000 – “the biggest, most powerful listed companies in the world”.

Predictably, the U.S. stole the lion’s share and took the top four spots. However, the number of companies from developing nations in the Global 2000 is fast increasing. Although the recession dented the performance of African companies over the past year, in comparison with the developed world, Africa has held up well. In fact Africa, along with mainland China, India and Canada, has gained some significant ground. This year, 34 African enterprises made it onto the list featuring corporations from Egypt, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria and the ever-powerful South Africa; totaling a combined market value of over $254 billion.

Outside of South Africa, Morocco came next, and with two featured companies, it was Attijariwafa Bank that came in highest at 888th place. Next on the list was Egypt, with Orascom Construction Inds topping the five featured Egyptian firms, in at 942nd place. The one and only Liberian firm featured on the list, Royal Caribbean, came in 1070th place, while Nigeria’s only presence was Zenith Bank, in 1374th place.

But of course, South Africa by far dominated the continent’s list presence with an impressive 25 companies featured, starting from a commendable 177th place. So read on as we review the top five using an equal weighting of sales, profits, assets and market value...

Company: Standard Bank Group
Rank: 177
Country: South Africa
Industry: Banking
Sales ($BN): 16.57
Profits ($BN): 1.55
Assets ($BN): 162.52
Market Value ($BN): 22.08

Up from 223rd on the list in 2009, Standard Bank Group remains Africa's largest corporation, climbing up to 177th position. And with impressive total assets and representation spanning 17 African countries and 16 countries outside of Africa, it’s easy to see why. Despite the economic crisis, Standard Bank has performed extremely well throughout challenging times, maintaining its leading position in Africa.

Company: Sasol
Rank: 298
Country: South Africa
Industry: Oil & Gas Operations
Sales ($BN): 17.84
Profits ($BN): 1.77
Assets ($BN): 18.73
Market Value ($BN): 23.85

Next in the list comes synthetic fuels giant Sasol. An integrated oil and gas company with complementary interests in coal, chemicals and the international development of synthetic-fuel ventures based on its proprietary Fischer-Tropsch technology, this powerful organization is the biggest oil and gas firm in Africa.

Company: FirstRand
Rank: 305
Country: South Africa
Industry: Financial Services
Sales ($BN): 10.93
Profits ($BN): 0.90
Assets ($BN): 104.61
Market Value ($BN): 13.67

Not too far behind the top two, FirstRand is up next. An integrated financial services group structured with critical mass to take advantage of the blurring of boundaries in the financial services industry, this group provides a comprehensive range of products and services to the South African market and niche products in certain international markets.

Company: MTN Group
Rank: 382
Country: South Africa
Industry: Telecommunications Services
Sales ($BN): 10.96
Profits ($BN): 1.64
Assets ($BN): 18.33
Market Value ($BN): 27.31

Just less than 80 places down and MTN Group is up next. A leading provider of communication services, offering cellular network access and business solutions, MTN Group is an internationally known firm, with its core operations in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. As of the end of December 2008, it had more than 90.7 million recorded subscribers.

Company: Sanlam
Rank: 823
Country: South Africa
Industry: Financial Services
Sales ($BN): 4.95
Profits ($BN): 0.27
Assets ($BN): 34.04
Market Value ($BN): 6.86

The last of our top five features Sanlam, a leading financial services group headquartered in Bellville, providing financial solutions to individual and institutional clients. From a life insurance company established in 1918, this firm has, in short, grown into a diversified one-stop financial services group, offering clients a “journey for life” for their financial needs.

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Jun 14, 2021

5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly

Kate Birch
3 min
Heading up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy is winning awards and leading with diversity

Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.

Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills. 

What do you do, in a nutshell?

I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.

How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?

I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.

They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?

The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless. 

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.


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