How South Africa’s biggest companies have performed in 2017 so far

With South Africa’s economy in recession, and consumers facing a tough time at the tills or out seeking work, it’s no surprise that a lot of the country’s biggest companies have not had the best year so far.

Looking at the JSE’s top 40 companies by market cap, things are split right down the middle when it comes to who’s made the best of the year, and who’s let things slip.

Considering the less-than-stellar local conditions, it comes as no surprise that many of the best performing companies listed on the JSE have draw their fortunes from other markets.

Companies like AB InBev, BAT and Richemont all posted green on their share price growth in 2017 so far – while other groups like Shoprite, Capitec and Anglo Platinum managed to avoid the downward trends seen in their respective sectors.

The retail sector has been particularly hard hit as the economic plight of consumers hits home – low consumer spending is one of the biggest contributors to the country’s second quarter decline which marked the technical recession.

Financial companies also showed a big slip in share price, coming off from a strong sector performance at the end of 2016, despite adverse conditions. The financial sector was hardest hit following political blunders in March, when president Jacob Zuma fired former finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

The mining sector, which showed a massive recovery in 2016, was one of the industries that actually showed GDP recovery – but it is also one of the hardest hit by the whims of the global commodities market, which has not served in South Africa’s favour this year.

Tech performance

There are three tech and telecoms groups listed among the 40 biggest companies in South Africa – namely, Naspers, MTN and Vodacom.

Naspers has continued to reach new highs, with its share value up by over 26% in the past six months, off an already high base. The group reportedly accounts for 15% of the all share index alone.

The internet and media group has been carried higher by its significant stake in China’s Tencent, which has surged almost 50% higher in Hong Kong.

Conversely, mobile operator MTN has seen a significant drop, down almost 13% so far in 2017. MTN’s has been hit by regulatory problems – specifically in Nigeria – which led to the group posting its first-ever annual loss.

The group’s share price has lost more than half of its value since 2015.

Vodacom, meanwhile, has showed some good growth, underpinned by its strong financial performance in SA. The operator remains South Africa’s biggest mobile network, and has further increased its market share in the country.

The data on share prices below were taken from Bloomberg for 3 January 2017, and 7 July 2017.

Best performers

Company January 2017 Share Price (ZAR) July 2017 Share price (ZAR) Share growth (%) Market Cap (Rbn)
Bidcorp 248.89 317.89 27.7% 106.3
Mondi PLC 279.75 342.89 22.6% 166.5
Naspers 2034.77 2480.28 21.9% 1 084.0
Richemont 90.01 107.69 19.6% 621.3
British American Tobacco 779.75 902.38 15.7% 1 680.0
Anglo Platinum 267.62 306.77 14.6% 82.6
Capitec 693.00 792.55 14.4% 90.6
Shoprite 172.95 196.18 13.4% 117.7
Discovery 115.34 128.85 11.7% 82.8
Vodacom 150.60 166.73 10.7% 247.9
Reinet Investments 26.51 29.30 10.5% 57.3
New Europe Properties 160.01 176.18 10.1% 58.8
PSG Group 220.43 242.17 9.9% 55.9
Glencore 47.95 51.69 7.8% 737.4
Investec 91.15 97.89 7.4%  95.7
Hammerson 94.01 98.40 4.7% 77.6
Sanlam 63.83 66.75 4.6% 143.2
Aspen Pharmacare  282.08 290.71 3.1% 132.4
AB InBev 1437.00 1478.29 2.9% 2 985.0
South 32 28.10 28.80 2.5% 150.0

Worst performers

Company January 2017 Share Price (ZAR) July 2017 Share price (ZAR) Share growth (%) Market Cap (Rbn)
Barclays Africa 170.00 139.35 -18.0% 118.7
Woolworths 71.84 60.45 -15.9% 63.0
Anglo Gold 150.93 127.78 -15.3% 52.6
Nedbank 241.24 206.40 -14.4% 102.6
MTN 130.00 116.02 -10.8% 217.5
RMB Holdings 67.02 59.86 -10.7% 84.0
FirstRand 53.80 48.40 -10.0% 270.4
Redefine Properties 11.50 10.37 -9.8% 58.6
Sasol 406.57 368.69 -9.2% 239.8
Anglo American 197.50 181.73 -8.0% 232.7
Growthpoint Properties 25.95 24.25 -6.6% 70.0
Remgro 226.51 213.14 -5.9% 119.8
Tiger Brands 394.34 372.33 -5.6% 71.1
Old Mutual 34.75 32.88 -5.4% 161.4
Standard Bank 152.60 145.44 -4.7% 235.0
Steinhoff 71.36 68.50 -4.0% 293.3
BHP Billiton 223.80 215.37 -3.8% 1257.0
Mediclinic International 130.00 125.73 -3.3% 92.8
Intu Properties 46.98 46.02 -2.0% 62.2
Rand Merchant Insurance 39.69 39.42 -0.7% 59.2

Read: The best and worst performing SA tech shares in 2017 so far

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How South Africa’s biggest companies have performed in 2017 so far