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Mike Rosholt, who died in March, dominated Barlow Rand for almost three decades. Barlow Rand was the kind of conglomerate we don’t see any more in SA — although they certainly still flourish in India and South Korea. It controlled the then Tiger Oats, cement maker PPC, electronics firm Reunert, which had the lucrative contract to assemble landline telephones, and was one of the big six gold miners through Rand Mines. Without Rosholt’s courage and intelligence to guide it, Barlow Rand went through the first of several unbundlings in 1993. The slimmed-down business called itself Barloworld, after the house magazine. Barlows was itself part of a conglomerate, as Old Mutual held a strategic stake in the share along with Safren, which owned the improbable combination of Sun City and a fleet of cargo ships, as well as Nedbank and Mutual & Federal.However, it was Sanlam’s Sankorp subsidiary that was the most complex conglomerate of the 1980s. Headed by Marinus Daling and Attie du Plessis, ...

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