We’ve become so used to looking obsessively at our faults that we often forget that SA companies remain of global interest.

The country might be addled by shoddy service delivery, but recent approaches by international companies Volaris and Heineken, for control of technology group Adapt IT and drinks group Distell respectively, indicates the high esteem in which SA’s private sector is held globally.

In Heineken’s case, its desire to buy the "majority" of Distell is especially curious — the €57bn group was badly hurt by last year’s alcohol bans. Heineken, which sells its eponymous beer here, along with Windhoek and Strongbow cider, was forced to ice a R6bn brewery in SA, given its Covid-linked losses.

Now, however, it sees Distell as a route to the African market. But whether Heineken’s bid gets the nod is far from certain, as Distell’s two largest shareholders, Remgro (which owns 31.8%) and the Public Investment Corp (which owns 31.7%) won’t want to let go except for a steep premium.

Still, these bids provide a lesson for those of us inclined to be so overly pessimistic on SA’s prospects that it obscures our view of the value under our noses.

Notwithstanding the post-Covid recovery, many SA Inc stocks remain a bargain — even if our in-built scepticism often prevents us from seeing this.


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