The African continent is fraught with a lot of problems. Nevertheless, some companies that emerged over the years are doing remarkably well as they continue to boost employment and revenue of their countries. They are also making direct impacts on the lives of people through their corporate social responsibilities.
Each year, The Africa Report chronicles the fortunes of the top 500 companies in Africa’s key business sectors. These rankings, which are published in February based on 2016 performances, point to some of the important longer-term changes affecting African economies.
Sonatrach (Algeria) – $30,242,200
Founded in 1963, the Algerian government-owned company was formed to explore the hydrocarbon resources of the country. It is the largest Algerian and African company and the 11th largest oil consortium in the world.
The company has some concessions in Libya, Mauritania, Peru, Yemen and Venezuela. The company which employs over 120,000 workers produces 30% of the GNP of Algeria. Its diversified activities cover all aspects of production: exploration, extraction, transport, and refining.
It has diversified into petrochemistry and the desalination of seawater. Sonatrach is currently expanding the Hassi Messaoud-Azrew pipeline, the longest in the country. The project entails a second, parallel line that will more than double the capacity of the existing line.
Steinhoff International Holdings (South Africa) – $17,304,461
The South African International retail holding company has more than 40 local brands in over 30 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Dual listed in Germany, the company deals mainly in furniture and household goods.
Founded in 1964 by Bruno Steinhoff in Westerstede, Germany, the company employs about 90,000 employees. Sixty percent of the company’s revenue and two-thirds of its benefits are made in Europe. Steinhoff’s South African brands include Ackerman, Buco, Dunns, Flash, HiFi Corp, Incredible Connection, John Craig, Pennypinchers, Pep, Refinery, Russels, Shoe City, Tekkie Town, Timbercity and Unitrans. Powersales is another African Steinhoff brand. In the UK, the company owns the high street brands Bensons for Beds, Cargo, Harveys Furniture, Pep&Co, Poundland and Sleepmaster.
In the Republic of Ireland, Steinhoff operates Dealz and Pep&Co. Steinhoff’s European brands include Conforama, Kika, Leiner, Pepco and Poco. In Australia and New Zealand, Steinhoff Asia Pacific Holdings operates brands including Bay Leather Republic, Best & Less, Freedom (formerly trading as Freedom Furniture), Harris Scarfe, MOZI, Postie, Snooze
Sonangol (Angola) – $14,711,363
The Angolan company is Africa’s third-biggest oil producer. It is mainly responsible for exploration, production, manufacturing, transportation and marketing of hydrocarbons. The company has over 30 subsidiaries, which basically work to help Sonangol reach its needs. These include telecommunication companies, railways, transport systems, and refinery facilities located across the world. Sonangol is also an important sponsor of the arts, sports and humanities in Angola and in Africa.
The Bidvest Group (South Africa) – $13, 290, 847
Founded in 1988 by Brian Joffe and listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1990, the group is a South African services, trading, and distribution company. It has substantial holdings in over 300 companies and employs over 114,000 people. Bidvest Bank, a South African commercial bank, is a 100% subsidiary of Bidvest Group. The Bidvest Group Limited has a corporate office in Johannesburg, South Africa. Its food services division was unbundled from the Group to form the Bidcorp Group in May 2016. Lindsay Peter Ralphs was subsequently appointed as the Group CEO of the Bidvest Group in that same year.
Eskom (South Africa) – $12 856 531
The South African electricity public utility is the largest producer of electricity in Africa and is among the top seven utilities in the world in terms of generation capacity. Founded in 1923 by a parliamentary act, namely the Electricity Act of 1922, the company is currently among the top nine utilities in the world in terms of sales. Eskom operates a number of notable power stations, including Kendal Power Station, and Koeberg nuclear power station in the Western Cape Province, the only nuclear power plant in Africa. The company is divided into Generation, Transmission and Distribution divisions and together Eskom generates approximately 95% of electricity used in South Africa.