This buffalo is worth more than what top South African CEOs earn in 5 years

A quarter share in a “superbuffalo” named Horison has been bought for R44 million, putting the bull’s total value at R176 million.

That puts the animal’s worth at more than double the total earnings of South Africa’s highest paid executive in 2014.

When it comes to buffalo, size really does matter – the wider the horn span, the higher the price – and with the highest horn span in the world at 1.39 metres, Horison has fetched the highest price ever for any animal sold in South Africa.

According to breeders, African buffalo used to have horns spanning wider than 1.5 meters, but hunting removed the largest animals from the gene pool.

Breeders are trying to restore top genetics through breeding programmes – which is why buffalo with a wide horn span can fetch millions.

The buffalo which previously held the record for the highest price at auction was a 1.35 metre horn span Cape Buffalo bull named Mystery, bought by South African billionaire Johann Rupert for R40 million in 2013.

Horison vs CEOs

In 2014, Richemont co-CEO Bernard Fornas was the highest paid executive in the country, earning R88 million including bonuses for the year.

This is half the total value of Horison. Taking the average total earnings among the ten best-paid executives, it would take 2.6 years of work to afford Horison.

On a basic earnings basis, the top 10 best paid CEOs in SA would have to work an average of more than 5 years to afford the bull.

SA executive basic earnings vs Horison

# Executive Company and role Total basic earnings 2014 (R’000) Years to afford Horison
1 Bernard Fornas Co-CEO Richemont R87 972 2.0
2 Richard Lepeu Co-CEO Richemont R85 105 2.1
3 Whitey Basson CEO Shoprite R49 972 3.5
4 Kevin Gallagher Operations director   Murray & Roberts R48.932 3.6
5 Gary Saage CFO Richemont R28.447 6.2
6 Alain Perrin Non executive director Richemont R27 076 6.5
7 Markus Jooste CEO Steinhoff R25 026 7.0
8 Ernesto Balarezo Manager Gold Fields R19.603 9.0
9 *Frederick Mostert Executive director Richemont R19.210 9.2
10 Alfred Baku CEO Gold Fields R18 634 9.5

Most expensive animals ever sold in South Africa

Historically, buffalo are seen as the most expensive animals in South Africa, with five of the top 10 most expensive animals ever sold in South Africa being buffalo.

Other expensive animals are sable antelope and white impala (prices also based on horns).

# Game Value
1 Buffalo (Horison) R176 million
2 Cape Buffalo (Mystery) R40 million
3 Buffalo R26 million
4 Buffalo R18 million
5 Sable Antelope R11 million
6 White Impala R9.7 million
7 East African Buffalo R8.1 million
8 White Saddle Blesbuck R7.8 million
9 East African Buffalo R6.5 million
10 Matetsi Sable (pregnant) R4 million

Prices for buffalo have increased five-fold over the past six years – leading some critics to talk of a bubble in the industry. However, with this latest pricing, the ‘bubble’ just got bigger.

Rhino, among the most poached and endangered game in South Africa, can be bought for a paltry sum of up to R350,000, according to wildlife seller ads.

Lions are sold for even less, ranging from between R30,000 for a female, to R210,000 for a young male.

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This buffalo is worth more than what top South African CEOs earn in 5 years