The biggest companies in South Africa

Mineral and mining companies have taken a knock on the JSE over the past year, but tech and financial firms maintain a strong position amongst the top 25 companies listed on the local exchange.

Despite ongoing challenges in the local mining sector, global resources company, BHP Billiton remains the largest JSE-listed company with a market cap of R1.7 trillion – up R100 billion from 2012.

While mineral and mining companies remain some of the biggest companies in South Africa, their positioning has changed compared to when BusinessTech looked at the top 25 JSE-listed companies in November 2012.

Mining giant, Anglo American, which was listed as the 4th biggest company by market cap in 2012, saw its value shrink 10.4% to R336.9 billion in 2013.

Other mining companies saw even bigger declines:

  • Kumba Iron Ore shrank 17.4% to R148.5 billion (2012: R179.7 billion);
  • Impala Platinum cut off 24.6% to R74.8 billion (2012: R99.1 billion); and
  • Goldfields dropped off the top 25 entirely, having nearly halved its market cap, dropping 45.6% to R42.8 billion (2012: R78.6 billion).

The South African mining sector has faced increasingly tough times on the backdrop of the Marikana incident which took place in 2012, which saw 34 people dying in a clash between police and striking mine workers.

The sector has been further stressed by numerous wild cat (unprotected) strikes and wide-scale layoffs.

Anglo Platinum recently announced that it would be reducing its headcount by over 4,100 – a figure reduced from an initial target of 6,000 workers.

Tech and banking

Looking at tech and banking, mobile operator, MTN Group remains South Africa’s largest tech or telecoms company with a market cap of R365 billion.

The mobile group’s closest competitor in the South African mobile market, Vodacom (which is South Africa’s biggest mobile operator by customers), tracks behind the yellow giant with a market cap less than half the size, at R173 billion.

However, South African media giant, Naspers, has shown massive growth in 2013, with much thanks to its holdings in global tech companies such as China’s Tencent and Russia’s

The media company’s smart investments, as well as its successful pay-TV business in MultiChoice, have boosted its market cap by 54% since November 2012, breathing down MTN’s neck for the “top tech” crown.

Standard bank remains South Africa’s largest banking group by market cap, having boosted to a capitalisation of R186 billion in 2013.

The bank is also listed in the Forbes 2000 as the largest South African company, and the 231st biggest company in the world.

FirstRand, the holding company for First National Bank, WesBank and Rand Merchant Bank, is the second largest financial house in the country, followed by Old Mutual, Barclay’s Africa (Absa), Sanlam and Nedbank.

Top 25 JSE listed companies by market capital

Rank Company JSE Code Market Capital (Millions)
1 BHP Billiton plc BIL 1,703,135.88
2 British American Tobacco plc BTI 1,013,813.75
3 SABMiller plc SAB 801,564.06
4 Compagnie Fin Richemont CFR 596,306.69
5 MTN Group Ltd MTN 365,547.16
6 Naspers Ltd NPN 360,280.97
7 Anglo American plc AGL 336,917.44
8 Sasol Limited SOL 309,566.38
9 Standard Bank Group Ltd SBK 186,082.84
10 Vodacom Group Ltd VOD 173,614.47
11 FirstRand Ltd FSR 170,998.77
12 Old Mutual plc OML 148,759.31
13 Kumba Iron Ore Ltd KIO 148,481.64
14 Barcalys Africa Group (Absa) BGA 116,574.19
15 Anglo American Plat Ltd AMS 114,506.93
16 Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd APN 109,126.65
17 Remgro Ltd REM 103,351.17
18 Sanlam Limited SLM 100,569.00
19 Nedbank Group Ltd NED 97,845.38
20 Shoprite Holdings Ltd SHP 93,118.56
21 Mondi Ltd MND 81,706.94
22 Bidvest Ltd BVT 81,445.41
23 Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd IMP 74,828.88
24 Exxaro Resources Ltd EXX 60,086.97
25 Mediclinic International MDC 59,706.32

Market capitalisation taken from Bloomberg, 27 August 2013

Tech/Telecoms Banking/Financial

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The biggest companies in South Africa