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The mythology around investment is quite bizarre. There is no mystery, no conspiracy, no stubborn decision makers, no cash hoarding and no investment strike. When investors are able to see the future and predict the returns that an investment will earn them, and see that they are higher than the cost of capital, they will invest. If they can’t, they won’t. It is that simple. If investment isn’t happening, it is because there are no reasonable prospects for positive returns. It would be far worse for companies to invest recklessly and lose their capital, given that capital is a scarce resource that can’t simply be replaced, than to keep it in the bank. One stubborn myth is that SA’s large companies are hoarding cash. It is as persistent as it is false. If companies don’t need cash, they give it back to shareholders, they don’t sit on it. Companies actually hold only as much cash as they need to keep their operations and replacement capital expenditure going. Holding more simply damag...

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