Entrepreneurial spirit and a superb leader as well

Published 30 October 2017, by Georgina Crouth 

JOHANNESBURG – With four awards under his belt this year already, Khalid Abdulla is counting his blessings: he’s captained the JSE-listed African Equity Empowerment Investments Limited (AEEI) for six years and built up a strong team around him.

AEEI listed its Premier Fishing and Brands Limited division earlier this year under Abdulla’s leadership and he is thrilled about an imminent listing on the JSE for its IT arm. “Part of our Vision 2020 was to list our fishing and IT businesses separately on the JSE. The IT listing is going to happen in the near future. There’s quite a bit of work happening around that,” he says.

“AEEI has five portfolios: food and fishing; technology, health and beauty, biotherapeutics, events and tourism, and its strategic investments. “Over the past 15 years we’ve built up the IT division, mainly around software services in hospitals and national laboratories. That business has already mushroomed and is going to expand a lot more – we’re going on a serious acquisition drive over the next year.

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Award-winning CEO Khalid Abdulla spills secrets of success

Published 29 October 2017, by Francesca Villette

Running a successful business means you have to be a step ahead of everyone, all the time. You’ll be up against many people – and it won’t be easy.

Running a successful business means making mistakes, but learning from them. Key in the game of success versus defeat is getting education, gaining experience and how to execute for success.

This is the advice of one of the most successful businessmen in the country – group chief executive of African Equity Empowerment Investments Limited (AEEI), and multi-award-winning businessman Khalid Abdulla.

He has been with the AEEI Group since 1999 and has served as the CEO of various subsidiaries, including the information technology businesses, and as Group CFO in 2007 before being appointed Group CEO in November 2009.

Abdulla’s list of awards for this year already include:

– Business Leader of the Year – Southern Africa 2017 award at the 7th All Africa Business Leaders Awards in partnership with CNBC Africa.

– SA’s Future Maker – Driver for Change Award 2017 at the Inaugural Vision 2030 Awards.

– South Africa’s Most Empowered Business Leader of the Year 2017 at The Oliver Empowerment Awards.

– Being recognised as a Most Empowered Company by Empowerdex over the years since its inception.

– Top CEO Africa Award for South Africa – by the CEO Today Africa Awards magazine.

He was a finalist in the 2015 Oliver Empowerment Awards – Top Male Leader of the Year; and has been ranked among the 10 best executives of 2015 by the Financial Mail.

Abdulla was also the recipient of the Black Business Executive Circle (BBEC)/Absa Bank Kaelo Awards in 2010 for leadership, Kaelo meaning “nurturing or mentoring” others.

“Every career has tools for success. If you want to be a professional sportsman, you have to practise to perfect your technique. If you want to go into business you have to have the right tools and education is key.

“You have to get your matric first, and then decide whether you want to go to university or Technicon.

“To be in business today means you’ll be up against a lot of competition; it’s not easy. You have to make sure you are a step ahead of everyone else.”

Abdulla was first exposed to industry by his father, who was an entrepreneur. He grew up in Harfield Village and his dad, Sharfoodin Abdulla, had a corner shop, and a music and movie house.

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Meet espAfrika Top 5 finalists

Published 24 October 2017, by Liam Karabo Joyce

After an exciting round of public voting that generated over ten thousand votes, organiser of the third annual espYoungLegends online talent search, espAfrika, has just announced the top 5 finalists.

The winner from the top 5, who will be selected by the public, will perform at the 19th annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival ( CTIJF) in March next year.

The espYoungLegends is a unique online competition that takes place annually. The goal of the competition is to search for the next unsigned jazz-inspired band to perform at the CTIJF.

The band should have outstanding talent and have 2 to 6 members.

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Premier Fishing satisfies their 2017 financial result’s appetite

Published 24 October 2017, by Zeenat Vallie

CAPE TOWN – African Equity Empowerment Investment’s subsidiary, Premier Fishing and Brands Limited has today released their audited financial results for the year ended August 31, 2017. The distinguished food and fishing group revealed new acquisitions as well as overall company growth.

The vertically integrated fishing group has ticked all the right boxes during their 2017 financial year. A meagre 8 months after listing on the JSE, the Premier Foods announced that its year on year profit after tax increased by 31% from R52 million to R68 million.

“I am pleased at the results for this financial year and I wish to congratulate the Premier team on the efficiency as well as maintaining their focus on growth, development and sustainability. The growth plans for the fishing Group is taking place in earnest as expected and we look forward to the output and growth that this will generate in the future”, said Group CEO of majority shareholder, African Equity Empowerment Investments Limited (AEEI) and Deputy Chairman of Premier, Khalid Abdulla.

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We vow to be balanced, free from bias and fair

Published 27 September 2017, by Dr Iqbal Survé

South Africa has entered one of the most turbulent political periods since the advent of democracy on April 27, 1994. It is not an understatement to say the leadership of the entire country is potentially at stake when the ruling ANC holds its elective conference in Joburg in December.

President Jacob Zuma has already made it clear that he will relinquish the presidency of the ANC then, rather than create the spectre of two centres of power when his term at the Union Buildings expires in 2019. This is admirable in any society, but particularly so in a continent such as ours. South Africa has always been a beacon for democracy, not just for Africa, over the past 23 years.

Democracy, in its full bloom, is never neat or tidy. By definition it is messy, often robust; the more entrenched a democratic society is, the more uproarious its debates and exchanges.

The ANC certainly personifies this spirit of contestation and difference of opinion, even though the movement – Africa’s oldest – is well over 100 years old. This leadership contest, which has yet to officially begin, embodies this same spirit too – which is where the greatest danger lies and concomitantly the importance of the role that the media plays.

We live in a world of democratised information, where social media has become both the world’s greatest enabler and paradoxically the greatest threat as it spreads fake news with the same speed and dexterity as real news. In an environment where the stakes are as high as this, right here at home, so too the propensity to spread fake news will intensify, designed with only one purpose: to confuse conference delegates with often quite sophisticated smear campaigns.

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AEEI acquire majority stake in Orleans Cosmetics

Published 12 September 2017, by staff reporter

CAPE TOWN – JSE-listed African Equity Empowerment Investments Limited (AEEI), has announced that it has acquired a majority stake in prestigious cosmetics distribution company, Orleans Cosmetics (Pty) Limited (Orleans).

Orleans is the exclusive Southern African distributor of imported, high-end cosmetic brands such as Gatineau, NUXE, RVB SKINLAB/diego dalla palma professional and Sothys. These products are sold to leading retailers such as Truworths, Woolworths etc. as well as to spas and beauty salons.

Khalid Abdulla, Group Chief Executive Officer of AEEI said, “I am delighted that AEEI has concluded the deal with Orleans. Orleans was acquired to expand our health and beauty division, which is right on track in terms of organic and acquisitive growth and in line with AEEI’s Vision 2020 Vision strategy.”

AEEI’s health division has been growing steadily over the past few years, yielding excellent results. This acquisition is a strategic move to complement AEEI’s strong health and beauty division through the addition of leading cosmetic brands to its existing portfolio. The acquisition of Orleans also talks to a strong consumer-focused growth path for the
diversified investment group.

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Interview: China critical to BRICS’ future development — BRICS Business Council leader

Published 4 September by Xiong Maoling, Mathieu Wintrebert

XIAMEN, China, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) — China is a very important anchor of BRICS and is critical to its future development, chairman of South Africa BRICS Business Council has told Xinhua here on the sidelines of the ongoing BRICS summit.
Despite the sluggish economic situation in certain member countries, “all the ingredients are there for us to be successful,” said Iqbal Surve on Sunday, as leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) are gathering here for the bloc’s 9th summit.
Having visited China 15 times since 2007, Surve said he is amazed every time he comes back by how different parts of the country have developed. “Certainly China is leading the way,” he said.
As Chinese President Xi Jinping called on BRICS to expand the coverage of its cooperation at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum, Surve said he personally welcomed the initiative. “That can only benefit the people of those countries.”
During the Xiamen summit, China will hold the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries, where leaders of Egypt, Guinea, Mexico, Tajikistan and Thailand will join the BRICS leaders to discuss global development cooperation and South-South cooperation.
Surve thinks the idea of BRICS Plus fits the bloc’s aim to help people overcome challenges, lift people out of poverty and support people in meeting their aspirations.
The South African businessman also lauded BRICS’ rapid development in the past decade. “I’m actually astounded by the speed at which we’ve been able to achieve outcomes. I think it’s unprecedented,” he said, citing the BRICS’ New Development Bank (NDB) as an example.
The NDB, which was opened in Shanghai in 2015, approved loans totaling 1.55 billion U.S. dollars last year to seven programs on sustainable development and is expected to offer loans of 2.5 billion U.S. dollars this year. The bank launched its Africa Regional Center last month.
As the chairman of Sekunjalo Investment Holdings, Surve also expressed the hope that when making investment decisions, the NDB will really take into account the fact that the global economy has been digitalized.
“Investment has to take place in digitalization. It has to take place in technology and we can no longer think that investing in infrastructure is sufficient,” he said.
Speaking about the development of African economies, Surve said it’s important to promote the market integration of African economies in areas such as technology transfers, technology investments, green economy, sustainable development, and so on.
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Loot.co.za is prioritising revenue growth

Published 28 August 2017, by Kabelo Khumalo

CAPE TOWN – South Africa’s online shopping superstore Loot.co.za has set its sights on unlocking further value in the business and entrenching its foothold in the competitive e-commerce industry, supported by the company’s capital-efficiency position and a sound market understanding by its top executives.

The company said that it viewed its growth strategy in the long term and is prioritising revenue growth before profitability.

Gary Hadfield, chief executive of Loot.co.za, said on Friday that the company had built a strong platform and has consistently delivered hyper growth, while hitting its margin and bottom line targets.

“We are acutely aware of the crucial areas and investments required to scale this type of business. We have conducted detailed analysis of the investment quantums received by African players and funded by the likes of Kinnevik, TigerGlobal and Millecom.”

“By comparison, we could be viewed as still being in “bootstrapping” mode, running a lean business, but with a sound grasp of where we get our gains and what will drive value creation. We will be investing a lot more in crucial areas,” Hadfield added.

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Naspers and BizNews no different from Bell Pottinger

Published 31 July 2017, by Dr Iqbal Survé

I have been reading with interest how Bell Pottinger used, not only their own platforms, but also those of other media houses in an attempt to change South Africa’s narrative.

In essence, Bell Pottinger was peddling fake news on behalf of the much alleged corrupt and money-grabbing Gupta family.

When the tide turned against Bell Pottinger and when they were unmasked as using fake news, they were rightly ridiculed and condemned as agents working against the majority of South Africans.

Bell Pottinger, contracted by the Gupta family, has been condemned for trying to influence the South African narrative around fighting embezzlement, fraud and state and corporate capture.

They manufactured news and promoted the notion of White Monopoly Capital, Black First Land First and others.

his fake news was swallowed and sent out so easily by our competitor, Naspers Media24 and their surrogate, BizNews.

But they also used fake news when the Sekunjalo-led consortium was purchasing Independent Media.

They used their considerable resources to malign Independent Media, me in my personal capacity and as executive chairman both of Sekunjalo and Independent Media.

Their fake news attacks became increasingly vicious and spurious after the sale of Independent Media was completed.

It became clear to me that Naspers Media24 and their surrogate speak with forked tongues when it comes to the creation of fake news. They attacked Bell Pottinger for peddling fake news yet they are guilty of the same.

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OPINION : Why Brics is important to SA

Published 31 July 2017, by Dr Iqbal Survé

When you identify an opportunity grab it, steer it and keep it on course with everything you have. I believe in steering true north, and now we have an opportunity to chart a new course for the great SAS South Africa. As the chairperson of the Brics – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – business council South Africa chapter; as an innovative entrepreneur and businessman, and above all else, a South African, I have many concerns.Our high unemployment rate, educating our youth, equipping them with relevant skills, building infrastructure, our gross domestic product (GDP) and attracting foreign direct investment are high on my agenda. There is no argument that we are dealing with one of the most important destructive apartheid legacies, second-class education – which led to a myriad of social evils. The results of which need more than just two decades to repair.

We have to credit our government for realising the goal for SA to be a partner in this multinational forum. The state continues to amend policies and laws to create attractive conditions to draw investments.

It was after intense lobbying with economic giants and wealth-creating nations, Brazil, Russia, India and China, that we joined the partnership seven years ago. We set ourselves on a course and to roll back centuries of economic drought.

Brics gives us an opportunity to create jobs, and work in tangent with the partnership to re-skill and up-skill our workforce.

It is not up to the government alone to fix this. The state is not a creator of a lot of jobs. This is where the private sector has a role to play, to work hand in hand with the government. It is without question; for our economy to grow, we need to create jobs for millions of young people, SA has participated in many multinational institutions, such as the UN, the AU, and the G20. Our partnership with Brics is not meant to be at the exclusion of other investment partners such as the EU and North America. It is intended to augment the partnership and draw increased investment.

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