Survé’s Brics appointment good for SA

Published 31 March 2017 by Adri Senekal de Wet, Business Report

Dr Iqbal Survé, the chairperson of Sekunjalo Group and Independent Media, has been appointed as the chairperson of the South African chapter of the Brics Business Council.Survé, a billionaire businessman with investments in a diversified portfolio including media, technology and healthcare, on Thursday told Business Report that he was excited and honoured to serve as chairperson of the SA chapter; his mission is to ensure that all South Africans share in the benefits of being part of the fast growing economies of the east and the south.

Survé sees “Trump’s protectionism” and “Brexit” as an opportunity for South Africa to strengthen ties with business in the East, especially China and India, whose economies are expected to be number one and number three in the world by 2030, with a gross domestic product of $35trillion (R455.32trln) and $16trln, respectively.

Dr Iqbal Survé has been appointed chairperson of the South African chapter of the Brics Business Council. Picture: Tracey Adams/Independent Media

Dr Daniel Matjila, the chief executive of the Public Investment Corporation, congratulated Survé on Thursday: “This achievement is the result of his hard work and his fearless spirit.” His message ends with: “Iqbal, always keep your aim high and carry on your noble nature, many successes are yet to come your way. South Africa is proud of you”.

Survé is passionate about job creation, education, skills development and technology; he sees his new role as “enabler to ensure that Brics benefits the most marginalised South Africans and Africans, especially in the areas of financial services and sustainable development financing”.

“I will work with some of the best business leaders in the country and in the various Brics business councils. It is also an opportunity to enable our country to achieve the goals of inclusive growth and economic transformation. I will work with leading South African, Brazilian, Indian, Chinese and Russian captains of industry and in the various Brics business councils, a wonderful opportunity to enable our country to achieve the goals of inclusive growth and economic and social transformation,” he said.

Founding member

Survé is a founding member of the Brics Business Council and the Clinton Global Initiative; he serves on a number of multi-lateral institutions and global organisations.

Survé served as the first chairperson of the WEF Global Growth Companies Advisory Board and vice chairperson of the Global Agenda Council for Emerging Multinationals. He is a participant member of the G20 meeting and serves on B20 Task Teams as well as the Unga private sector forum, amongst others.

Read full article here.

Brics meeting set on solid relations

Published 31 March 2017 by  staff reporter, Cape Times.

Sekunjalo Group and Independent Media executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé leads the SA Brics Business Council meeting in Delhi, India, to strengthen business links between South Africa and the Brics bloc.

SA Brics Business Council arrived in New Delhi on Thursday to attend the mid-term meeting of Brics representatives with their international counterparts.

Brics is an association of five emerging economies; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Half of the world’s population, almost four billion people, live in these five countries. Collectively. Brics has a GDP of about $37 trillion.

Dr Iqbal Survé leads the SA Brics Business Council meeting in Delhi, India, to strengthen business links between South Africa and the Brics bloc. Picture: Tracey Adams/Independent Media

Newly appointed chairman of the South African chapter of the Brics Business Council, Survé said the mid-term meeting was an important event in the run-up to the Brics Summit which will be hosted by China, in the city of Xiamen in September. The summit will be hosted in South Africa next year.

Survé said he intended to strengthen the multilateral relationships of the South African business community with the Brics countries to the mutual benefit for each country.

The Brics Business Council ensures continuous interaction between the business communities and governments of Brics countries, identifying problems, bottlenecks and solutions to facilitate trade and foster investment relationships.

Brics Business Council members are appointed by the South African government. Commenting on his appointment as chairman, Survé said: “The Brics Business Council members are first and foremost ambassadors for the country.

“We are there to ensure that all South Africans benefit as the global economy moves rapidly towards the east and south.

“In the age of Trump protectionism and Brexit, we have to strengthen our ties with business in the East especially China and India, whose economies are expected to be number one and number three in the world by 2030, with a GDP of $35trillion and $16 trillion respectively,” he said.

Survé is a founding member of the Brics Business Council, and said he would build on the work done by his predecessors, Patrice Motsepe and, most recently, Brian Molefe.

The SA Brics Business Council members accompanying Survé include Siyabonga Gama, Transnet chief executive, and Danisa Baloyi, Black Business Council president, who are new appointments, Khanyisile Kweyama, of Business Unity South Africa, and Stavros Nicolaou, of Aspen Pharmacare, who retain their positions as members of the council.

The council will work closely with ministers in various clusters and business sectors including Finance, Trade and Industry, International Relations and Co-operation, Science and Technology, and Education.

Survé said: “It is indeed an honour to lead the South African Brics Business Council and to represent my country and in addition, I will work with some of the best business leaders in the country and in the various Brics business councils. It is also an opportunity to enable our country to achieve the goals of inclusive growth and economic transformation.

“I am passionate about job creation, education, skills development and technology, and I hope that in this new role, I will be able to ensure that Brics benefits the most marginalised South Africans and Africans.”

The upcoming Brics Business Council mid-term meeting will be taking stock of progress in deregulation, manufacturing, infrastructure, agri-business, skills development, financial services and energy and the green economy, and prepare for the September summit.

Survé said the business bouncil had a huge role to play in economic development on all fronts.

“It is an interesting development that China is flying the flag for globalisation at a time when the United States President Donald Trump is taking a more protectionist stance.This opens up many opportunities, not only for South Africa, but for the continent.

“As South Africans, we have to make sure that we remain relevant in the global economic order and that we have access to the global market, and access to capital,” he said, adding it was vital to ensure that Africans benefit from the New Development Bank. The bank was established by the Brics to support public or private projects, by supplying loans, guarantees and equity participation.

“The bank must not just benefit countries in Asia, we want them to build dams, roads, power stations and railway lines in Africa,” Survé said.

Brics brings many opportunities to South Africa as the country needs more foreign-direct investment.

“South Africa spends more than 40% (R153 billion) of the budget servicing debt, and if we don’t have foreign-direct investment, it will lead to greater unemployment and social instability. That is why the business council is crucial. It is there to ensure as a country, we can channel FDI from the rest of the world, but mostly from Brazil, Russian, India and China.

 

Read the full article here.

 

Survé: Kathy was a wonderful human being

Published 29 March by Siyavuya Mzantsi, Cape Times 

As the world prepares to bid farewell to Ahmed Kathrada, Independent Media Executive Chairman Dr Iqbal Survé has described the Struggle icon as “a good family friend, a dear comrade and a wonderful human being”.

Former Robben Island prisoner Kathrada passed away in hospital after a short illness.

Independent Media Executive Chairman Dr Iqbal Survé pays tribute to Struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada. Picture: Tracey Adams/Independent Media

Survé said the country had lost one of the great minds, who dedicated his life to liberation and represented an important part in creating a non-racial society.

Survé sent Independent Media, African News Agency (ANA) and Sekunjalo’s deepest condolences to Kathrada’s partner Barbara Hogan, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and the rest of his family and friends.

“When I was informed that he was not too well a couple of weeks ago, of course I was concerned. Yesterday (Monday) his condition had deteriorated, and members of the family informed me that he was unlikely to make it. That was really sad. I guess I was sad because to an extent it was unexpected that he left us so suddenly,” Survé said.

He said the 87-year-old did not look his age because of his ability to take serious issues and find humour in them.

“That was Kathrada or Kathy’s trademark, including lots of tales which were related about his time on Robben Island or when the security police were trying to find him, his disguises and all those kind of things. He still had a very active mind. He was still fairly healthy physically as well and it was very sad to hear of this death, but even more sad that it happened so quickly,” said Survé.

“I often think about what he might have been thinking about the challenges facing the ANC. Did he go to the other side thinking that his personal sacrifices were in vain?” he said.

Survé said one of the most profound memories with Kathrada was when he and the family had visited the Nelson Mandela statue at Victor Verster Prison in Paarl.

He said he considered Kathrada as a mentor because he remained humble despite the adversity he had faced.

“I mean as you fight the Struggle, it’s almost difficult to remain humble. It’s difficult to remain humble in this country. You must have confidence, although other people see it as arrogance. Uncle Kathy never changed,” he said.

 

Full article here.

Sekunjalo sues TMG for defamation

Published, 24 March 2017 by Staff reporter, Business Report. 

Sekunjalo Investment Group, which owns Independent Media, announced on Thursday that they have instructed their attorneys Webber Wentzel to institute legal proceedings against Times Media Group (TMG).

The R500 million damages claim follows the publication of an article, “Breaking the News”, authored by Ann Crotty.

Dr Iqbal Survé, Executive Chairman of Sekunjalo Investment Group Picture: Courtney Africa

Sekunjalo said the group would shortly announce similar instructions against other media outlets that have republished the offending article.

Earlier this month Independent Media and the African News Agency (ANA) also announced that they would sue TMG for R200 million and R500m respectively.


Sekunjalo Group portfolio comprises investments in more than 200 companies across the African continent, Switzerland, USA and China, including shareholdings and partnerships with 9 multinational companies operating in Africa. The group has significant investments in South Africa with major listed and private companies, all of whom directly and indirectly employ in excess of 115 000 people.

“The Sekunjalo Group considers the Crotty article an insult made with a colonial and apartheid-era mentality,” said Dr Iqbal Survé, Executive Chairman of Sekunjalo Investment Group.

“The suggestion that Independent Media which constitutes less than 2% of Sekunjalo’s investment portfolio, is being asset-stripped is both laughable and bizarre.

It speaks to the moral bankruptcy of the individuals who write such slander. These same individuals either remain silent or they applaud Independent’s competitors when they restructure their businesses for whatever reasons, but when a black-controlled company like Sekunjalo does it they call it ‘asset-stripping’,” Survé said.

“Sekunjalo has in its 20 year history won many awards and has been a stellar example of good corporate governance and sound business practices and values. We take the highly defamatory accusation of asset-stripping very seriously. It is an insult to our ethical business practices and our adherence to good corporate governance which are integral to all our businesses – both in South Africa and globally,” he said.

Survé said that since acquiring Independent Media, Sekunjalo has invested in excess of R200m in the business to assist the company’s evolution from essentially a print media to a multi-platform media company.

Backed by Independent Media’s board of directors and shareholders, Sekunjalo’s investments were directed at funding, amongst others, new technology, IT infrastructure and the upskilling and training of journalists. The move was in line with the company’s strategy to transition to a digitally-driven company while optimising efficiencies throughout the organisation. Sekunjalo intends to invest a further R500 million in the next 3 years, he said.

Survé said he was confident of an award of significant damages for the defamatory statements made by Crotty, which “is fitting for a novel of fiction”.

He said he would like to see such award being used for the further education and training of journalists.
Survé added that since the acquisition of Independent Media in 2013, there has been a deliberate campaign of bullying, lies, distortion and disinformation against himself, Independent Media and Sekunjalo.

“Clearly this campaign is designed to undermine our investment, our business credibility and our transformation agenda, but it also highlights the lengths to which our competitors will go to hold on to the traditionally white-dominated media which benefitted royally from apartheid,” he said.

“It is normal practice for any dynamic company to constantly review its business strategy and add value for its shareholders. All companies and especially media companies the world over do this especially in today’s rapidly changing media environment.

“We have witnessed our competitors restructure their businesses without any comment from our detractors. This whole situation is vindictive and defamatory and we have to draw the line,” said Dr Survé.

Sekunjalo further believes that the legal action that it will institute against TMG as well as the pending legal action against other individuals and media outlets is a sign of its support for small black-owned publishers who have been trampled on by the big media conglomerates and who remain prejudiced by the monopolisation of media in SA.

“We will not be intimidated and therefore we have no hesitation in holding them to account as companies, groups and in their personal capacities in our courts and in the courts abroad. This fight is not only our fight; it is a fight on behalf of small, black-owned publishers who have been bullied by the media monopolies and their surrogates,” said Survé.

“Most importantly this fight is about the control and transformation of the media and ultimately about the economy of this country. The time is now.”

Independent Media to sue TMG for R300m

Published, 15 March 2017 by Adri Senekal de Wet, Business Report. 

Independent Media has instructed its legal team to institute proceedings against Times Media Group (TMG) following its refusal to retract a defamatory article, written by Ann Crotty, which was published in the Financial Mail and Business Live on February 23.

Several untrue and defamatory statements were contained in the article, “Breaking the News”, including allegations, innuendo and questions regarding Independent Media’s current financial standing and its ability to repay loans.

Independent Media has instructed its legal team to institute proceedings against Times Media Group. File photo: Leon Nicholas.

A significant portion of the article claims that Independent Media entered into deals with and sold profitable assets to an entity called Africa Media Group to the detriment of its shareholders.

Independent Media has no knowledge of the existence of this entity. It is clear that the intention of the article was to spread fake news about Independent Media, portray a picture of underhandedness and to create suspicion and discomfort among shareholders, readers and advertisers.

The article also suggests that Independent Media has diminished in stature and would enter into deals without there being a sound business rationale

Independent Media has questioned the integrity and journalistic ethics of the writer and the motive of those publishing entities of TMG, which published the article.

Since the acquisition of Independent Media in 2013, Sekunjalo Group has invested in excess of R200 million in technological and digital advancements as well as skills training and development for journalists as part of its strategy to migrate the Independent Media brand from a largely print media to a multi-platform media group. This investment came with the full approval and support of the existing shareholders who will benefit from the increased value created as a result of Sekunjalo’s additional financial injection into Independent Media since the acquisition.

Commenting on the matter, Chief of Staff of Independent Media, Zenariah Barends said: “I have been at Independent since February 2014. Prior to me joining the company and since, there has been a barrage of attacks against us, including personal attacks on Dr (Iqbal) Survé, by the same groups and individuals. I have to wonder at the reasons for the consistent negative reporting about our company these past three years.

“It is certainly not normal. I would like to put it down to a case of sour grapes, as a number of our detractors were former employees at Independent Media. But the frequency and volume of negativity and malice, suggests something more sinister.”

She said the company would institute the necessary steps to sue the parties mentioned. “We want to get on with our business and build a media house where South Africans who are interested in developing our democracy know they have a trusted source of information.”

ANA, the news agency, last week said it planned to sue TMG for R500m.

Read full article here.

Three finalist INMA nominations for Independent

Published, 14 March 2017 by Staff Reporter , Cape Times. 

The Sekunjalo Group congratulated Independent Media on its nomination as a finalist in three categories at this year’s International News Media Association’s (INMA) Global Media awards – Best Launch of a Brand or Product to Create an Audience Segment in the local/regional category; Best Public Relations or Community Service Campaign; and Best Use of Video in the global/national category.

The awards take place at the conclusion of the 87th annual INMA conference in New York in May.

Since Sekunjalo’s acquisition of Independent Media in 2013, Independent Media has been the only African media company to be nominated for INMA’s Global Media awards for three consecutive years.

The awards received 655 entries from 196 media companies in 36 countries.

Participants include newspaper media, magazine media, digital media, television media and radio media.

Before the acquisition of Independent Media by the Sekunjalo-led consortium in 2013, the company lacked significant infrastructure to compete in the rapidly evolving media environment. Over the past two years, Sekunjalo invested significantly in technology, innovation and skills training and development, integral to the redesign of the company. “These nominations and the ongoing recognition by the international media community are direct consequences of the significant investment that Sekunjalo has made in Independent Media over the past two years”, said Dr Survé.

Independent Media’s Home Property magazine in KwaZulu-Natal was nominated in the category Best Launch of a Brand or Product to create an Audience Segment in the local/regional category.

“This nomination is particularly significant because it emphasises the success of our commercial strategy in KwaZulu-Natal. Amid considerable investment by our competitors to undermine our home and property leadership in the region, we have emerged successful with this great new value-added product for both our clients and readers,” said Dr Survé.

Independent Media’s national campaign to highlight awareness about racism, Racism Stops With Me, was nominated in the category Best Public Relations or Community Service Campaign in the Global/National category.

This campaign was launched in January last year when Dr Survé, as the executive chairman of Independent Media, recognised the need for the media to play a constructive role in highlighting South Africa’s most pressing issues and allowing for healthy debate across all sectors. He called on all stakeholders – readers, commercial partners, advertisers, investors, staff and society in general – to work together to confront the reality of racism. International media houses have expressed keen interest in collaborating with Independent Media on similar campaigns, acknowledging that racism is an international concern.

The national #DontLookAway campaign, which ran during the 16 days of Activism in Support of No Violence Against Women and Children, was nominated in the category Best Use of Video in the global/national category.

This campaign formed part of Independent Media’s Social Change programme to mobilise readers and advertisers to become aware of the scourge of violence against women and children.

“We are unashamedly non-racist, non-sexist and purpose-driven. By publicising the horrific statistics related to women and child abuse, we are playing our part in drawing attention to gender violence in our country,” added Dr Survé.

Competition entries were judged in February by an international panel of 44 executives from 17 countries.

INMA has run an annual competition rewarding excellence in media since 1937. This year’s Global Media awards focused on six activities crucial to success:

* Energising brands.

* Creating new products.

* Growing, engaging and monetising audiences.

* Growing advertising revenue.

* Developing customer insights.

* Instilling innovation.

Read full article here.

AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY TO SUE TIMES GROUP FOR R500 MILLION

Published, 09 March 2017 by ANA Reporter, Business Report. 

Johannesburg – The African News Agency on Thursday said it will take legal action against Times Media Group if the rival company fails to “retract defamatory statements” it made about the news wire.

“On instructions of African News Agency (ANA), our attorneys, Webber Wentzel, sent letters of demand to Times Media Group, Ann Crotty, Ray Hartley, Business Day and Business Live on 8th of March 2017 demanding that they retract defamatory statements made about ANA in an article, ‘Breaking the News’, published on 23 February 2017,” said Grant Fredericks, Chief Executive Officer of ANA.

He said the respondents were given three days to retract the defamatory article, but had instead “released a further statement repeating the original defamatory article”.

Fredericks said Ann Crotty and Times Media Group’s Financial Mail had in their most recent statement misinformed the public by stating that they had contacted ANA.

“We wish to make it clear that at no stage has any reporter from the Financial Mail, Business Day or Business Live contacted ANA, its Chief Executive or President regarding the claims made in their article,” said Fredericks.

“Furthermore, no other ANA staff member was contacted by the Financial Mail or Ann Crotty regarding the claims published in their original article. In this regard, Ann Crotty, the Financial Mail and Business Live chose to ignore ethical journalistic practice by neglecting to verify the validity of any of their claims.”

Fredericks said ANA is a global content syndication service provider with video, text and pictures, using world-class technology which has attracted international investors, both for its content syndication service, and its soon-to-be-launched social media platforms. These investors are partners and committed to ANA’s growth strategy within South Africa and the rest of the world. ANA further plans to extend its footprint into various other locations, including Boston, New York, San Francisco, London, Paris and Mumbai.

“The defamatory article published by Ann Crotty and the Financial Mail has resulted in significant reputational damage to ANA, its international investors and partners, including its 40-plus media partners globally. Should Ann Crotty, the Financial Mail, Business Live, Business Day or any other reporter of Times Media Group have contacted ANA, we would gladly have provided them with the correct information.”

Fredericks said: “ANA has set aside a substantial sum to litigate against Times Media Group and Tiso Blackstar, to claim an amount of R500 million in damages suffered.

“ANA is reluctant, but feels compelled to take legal action against Times Media Group in the South African and UK courts and, after having carefully considered the legal issues, ANA is confident that it will be successful in holding them to account for publishing false and defamatory statements.”

Fredericks further said that through the article, ANA had been dragged into the alleged ongoing smear campaign by journalists, including former journalists of Independent Media, against Independent Media, Sekunjalo and Dr Iqbal Survé.

 

Read full article here.

SEKUNJALO DR SURVÉ JOINS FORCES WITH DUTCH INVESTOR

Published, 08 March 2017 by Adri Senekel De Wet, Business Report at 06h29am.

Cape Town – Dr Iqbal Survé, the executive chairman of the Sekunjalo Group, and technology entrepreneur Marcel Boekhoorn, owner of Ramphastos Investments, on Tuesday announced a joint investment in a South African gold reclamation project.

The investment will see significant amounts of gold being reclaimed from mining dumps using state-of-the-art technology, resulting in job creation and foreign currency earnings for the South African economy.

Boekhoorn’s holding in Ramphastos Investments comprises a wide array of business interests ranging from cutting edge technology, including voice; biometrics; digital antennas; decompostable coffee cups and aviation glass to private equity and real estate.

His most prized real estate asset is the hi-tech Campus Eindhoven, often dubbed the most intelligent square mile in the Netherlands.

Boekhoorn has a long track record of exceptional returns, making him one of the wealthiest people in the Netherlands.

“Partnering with Dr Iqbal Survé, a well-respected and highly reputable industrialist, enables us to bring novel technology to the country, while capitalising on Dr Survé’s knowledge and network,” said Boekhoorn.

Survé, a billionaire philanthropist, has invested in several technology companies. He is also the executive chairman of Independent Media

Survé said he expected to report more joint investments with Boekhoorn in the months to come. Both entrepreneurs are committed towards a long-term partnership with joint teams already vetting follow-on transactions.

Survé said Boekhoorn’s focus on sustainable, impact projects was aligned with some of the objectives of the Sekunjalo Impact Fund, which was launched on February 9.

Two key areas of the Impact Fund are sustainability as well as technologies.

Premier’s historic listing on main JSE

Published, 02 March 2017 by Quinton Mtyala, Cape Times at 10h59pm.

Almost 18 years after Premier Food and Fishing was taken over by the Sekunjalo Group, the company marked a milestone when it listed on the main bourse of the JSE yesterday morning.

At a function where the listing was witnessed via live streaming at the Mount Nelson Hotel, former company spokesperson and now executive editor for Independent Media’s business titles Adri Senekal said Premier was truly a broad-based black empowerment business.

Independent Media’s chief of staff Zenariah Barends, who had also worked at Premier, said she was emotional considering how far the company had progressed.

Sekunjalo Group and Independent Media executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé said the listing was “a big occasion. To list a company on the main board (of the JSE), is not easy”.

He credited Premier Food and Fishing’s staff for their dedication, saying other fishing companies had experienced disasters due to negligence.

Survé said the safety of crew manning its boats was their first priority, and it is for this reason that Premier Food and Fishing had not suffered a disasters since 1999.

“We’ve told the crews that they should not go out when the seas are rough,” he said, adding that the work of those on the trawlers was tough, and often crews would be at sea for up to a month.

Survé said one of the first things he did when Sekunjalo took control of Premier was to stop the practice of overfishing which had become an industry standard. “We had to respect the laws of the country.

Instead, the company focused on aqua-culture, and Survé said this now made up a significant chunk of revenue.

Survé said he was also proud that under his stewardship, Premier Food and Fishing had become an ethical company, while its competitors had lied about their empowerment credentials. “We could have been a bigger company (had we been unethical),” said Survé.

Sekunjalo was likely to list more of its more than 200 subsidiaries within the next two years.

Survé said Sekunjalo did not owe have any long-term borrowing with banks, and what it did borrow was for short-term cash flow.

“We’ve not taken out any dividend. I still stay in the same house I’ve been living in for the past two decades,” he said.

Read the full article here.

PREMIER FOOD AND FISHING IS FIRST 2017 LISTING

Published, 02 March 2017 by , Business Report Online at 11h01am.

Premier Food and Fishing has become the first company to list on the JSE this year, making its debut under the share code PFF.

The company listed on the Farming, Fishing and Plantations sector of the JSE’s Main Board.

Premier Food and Fishing owns one of the country’s largest black-owned fishing companies, Premier Fishing SA, which has a 65 year track record.

The company, a subsidiary of African Empowerment Equity Investments (AEEI) says its much anticipated listing on the local bourse has been oversubscribed.

The company last week said a private placement ahead of its initial public offering (IPO) was oversubscribed four times, following a successful two-week road show in anticipation of resuming trading on the JSE next week.

The company, in existence since 1952, was previously called Sekunjalo Industrial Holdings. It was to privately 117 million shares.

It is listing to gain access to capital to grow its business organically and through future acquisitions. It also wants to give employees and members of communities in which it operates, as well as the general public an opportunity to acquire an equity stake.

Donna Nemer, director of Capital Markets at the JSE, says the exchange is pleased to welcome Premier Food and Fishing.

Read also: Premier Foods oversubscribed

Premier Food and Fishing joins six companies that are listed in the Farming, Fishing and Plantations sector of the JSE, which currently has a market capitalisation of R38.29 billion.

CEO Samier Saban, Premier Food CEO, says “listing will provide the company with access to capital in order to grow the business both organically and by way of future acquisitions. Being listed on the JSE will further allow us to give both our employees, as well as the members of the communities in which we operate and also the general public, an opportunity to acquire equity in the company and thereby a liquid, tradeable asset within a regulated environment.”

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