Working in Africa can be risky, but payoffs can be huge
Given the lack of transport infrastructure on the continent, SA firms play an essential role in developing the resource economy of many African countries
South African companies that have expanded across the border know the risks when it comes working in Africa. The payoffs can be huge, but the downside can be downright frightening. No company knows this better than transport company Super Group. About a decade ago it learned this the hard way when it's business partner in Angola just decided to take full ownership of its fleet of vehicles there. The fallout was messy and the group barely survived the crisis brought by this literal hostile takeover. Its recent experience in Africa, however, has been rather different. While its South African and UK operations struggled, its African commodity-focused businesses powered its performance for the half-year to end December. There was a similar story with fellow transport-related group Grindrod. It also got a boost from a buoyant commodity cycle, which drove up earnings for the year to end December. The importance of being able to transport commodities from isolated mines can't be underest...