SA’s Convergence Partners Invests in Kenyan startup CSquared

Updated on 23 May 2017

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Today's Top Entrepreneurship and Business Stories (23 May)


South African Convergence Partners, together with Google, International Finance Corporation and Mitsui are to reportedly invest in CSquared, a broadband infrastructure company headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. Convergence Partners is owned by Andile Ngcaba.

Together they have signed an agreement to invest up to $100 million in CSquared’s existing metro fibre network operations in Uganda and Ghana, plus new markets in the future.

Tech Financials reports that Convergence Partners’ investment will be housed in Convergence Partners Communications Infrastructure Fund (CPCIF), “the only infrastructure fund dedicated solely to information and communications technology in Africa”.

CSquared was initially started by Google as Project Link. It is a carrier-neutral open access, a wholesale provider of high-speed metro fibre throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

It currently has high-quality fibre networks in Uganda (800kms in Kampala and Entebbe) and Ghana (840kms in Accra, Tema and Kumasi). (via Tech Financials)

Two South African Airlines Voted Most Punctual Low-cost Carrier In The World

The results of a global survey undertaken by UK travel analysts OAG, and the recently published top 10 lists for various aviation successes, saw two low-cost South African-run airlines listed in the On-Time Performance rating list.

OAG is a UK research company that provides valuable insights into flight data. The information they provide offers information regarding the world’s airlines, airports, aircraft manufacturers and other travel-related institutions.

FlySafair was rated as the number one most punctual airline, with Mango Airlines listed as number nine.

“The OAG punctuality league presents on-time data as a series of tables based on a range of airport and airline categories. To qualify for the inclusion in the OAG Punctuality League OAG must have received data for at least 80% of the scheduled flights operated by an airline and for an airport regardless of geographic region. OTP data is not included for other categories of flights such as charter or non-passenger operations.”

In order to qualify, low-cost carriers need to have ranked in the top 200 in Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) across the world and to have operated no less than 30,000 scheduled flights, in 2016.

Neither South African Airways (SAA) nor Kulula Airlines qualified.

The best airline in the world in 2016 was Hawaiian Airlines with an On-Time Performance of 89.87%. Hawaiian Airlines made a huge turnaround, after being placed ninth in 2015.

SA has three major airports placed in the top ten.

All three of South Africa’s main airports, which service hundreds of international and domestic destinations, and all of the major domestic SA airlines – Fly Safair, Mango, South African Airways and Kulula, featured in the top 20.

The lowest ranking of our airports was Durban which came in tenth on the Airports Small category. This sees 2.5 to 5 million departing seats per annum. Johannesburg came in at eighth on the Airports Large category, which accounts for 10 to 20 million departing seats per annum. Cape Town scored highest and was placed sixth in the Airports Medium category which has 5 to 10 million departing seats per annum.

Rhodes Food earnings gain 16% on strong regional sales

Rhodes Food Group Holdings today pointed to an increase in regional sales as it reported growth of 15.9 percent in headline earnings to R126 million for six months to March 2017.

The Western Cape-based food producer, which owns a portfolio of brands including Rhodes, Bull Brand, Magpie, Squish and Bisto, increased group turnover by 8.2 percent to R2.2 billion, with operating profit 11.8 percent higher at R208 million.

Rhodes Food chief executive, Bruce Henderson, said regional sales, which includes South Africa and the rest of Africa, increased by 17.9 percent.

“Our fresh foods division grew sales by 27.8 percent with excellent growth in pies and snacking. Sales in the long life foods division increased by 12.3 percent despite the tougher trading environment both domestically and in other African markets,” Henderson said.

However, Rhodes Food said international sales declined by 20.7 percent owing mainly to the 11 percent strengthening of the rand against the group’s basket of trading currencies.

As a result, export volumes were lower largely as a consequence of timing and are expected to normalise over the full 12 months.

The group recently completed its two largest acquisitions with the purchase of Durban-based food manufacturer Pakco for R197 million and KwaZulu-Natal pie producer Ma Baker for R193 million.

Henderson said the acquisitions would enable Rhodes Food to enter the dry packed foods market, as well as strengthen the group’s position in the growing pie and pastry market.

Rhodes Food has invested more than R230 million in upgrading production capacity and efficiency in the past six months in the 15 production facilities it owns across South Africa and Swaziland. Capital investment of R220 million is planned for the second half of 2017.

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