Brait rates its investment in the store business, which also includes Food Warehouse, at Rand 2. The grocer posted sales up 2. The company has seen underlying profits and revenues rise in recent months including an Brait had already lost control of the struggling New Look, which has stores, earlier this year after it was forced to refinance the fashion chain handing a majority stake to bondholders.
He now owns Retail industry. This article is more than 11 months old. Investment group, whose largest shareholder is Christo Wiese, needs to raise cash. Wiese said New Look was looking to open stores within three years in China, where it already runs 90 outlets. Virgin Active, which has taken top spot market in Italy and its biggest chain is located in South Africa, has identified Asia-Pacific as the next growth market thanks to a growing population of health-conscious consumers, he said.
Wiese was optimistic for the outlook for Europe despite gloomy economic forecasts but was cautious about the idea of snapping up cheaper assets in Britain following its June vote to leave the European Union. In South Africa, several businessmen, including the outspoken chief executive of gold miner Sibanye has called for President Jacob Zuma to resign after a series of scandals. Wiese said as a businessmen rather than a politician, he would like to stay out of politics.
It is not helping our economy. But Wiese also dismissed suggestions by some analysts that he was looking to preserve his wealth by moving assets abroad during the political turbulence that has also drawn in Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
On the contrary, he said he expected business to continue to expand, including its interests in South Africa, with Virgin Active for example having its head office in London but earning more than 60 percent of its EBITDA, or core profit, in South Africa.
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The currency has been a lame nag for so long that its recent run may have caught some off-guard. But it could rally further. Hero of the dessert scene a couple of years ago, frozen yogurt is now a melting puddle. Adele Shevel has not been a neutral observer. For a man turning 80 in September next year, Christo Wiese still has some pep in his step. But he has hardly any left in his portfolio. His stake in investment firm Brait, which owns Virgin Active, has fallen from R A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.
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But the various share-based executive incentive schemes embedded in every company controlled or established by Christo Wiese do share one critical similarity in that they would have had devastating effects on every one of the "incentivised" executives if allowed to run their contracted course. Fortunately for the 21st-century executives they have hapless shareholders to bail them out.
In the past 12 months these schemes have exploded across the Wiese empire like landmines triggered by a retreating enemy. In this instance the enemy is surely hubris. The excessive confidence in individuals and markets that underpinned these ultimately destructive schemes has wreaked havoc and revealed the control-obsessed cynicism with which they were imp A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.
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Brait proposed that Pepkor would do better at that stage as an unlisted entity. Following this, management acquired a substantial stake in the company. Wiese says the group, or parts of it, could be listed in the future. As cut-throat as business can be at times, those that are successful have spent years building and maintaining good relationships.
Wiese and South African investment millionaire Jannie Mouton go a long way back. Mouton has nothing but admiration for Wiese. Tradehold is an investment holding company listed on the main board of the JSE, its main interests lie particularly in property in the United Kingdom, which is hoping to expand. Wiese feels that the driving force of any entrepreneur should be to build businesses and help people develop. This, he says, is the true measure of success.
So what the heck? Pepkor is testament to this in its 57 years; Wiese has been part of 47 of them. As the man behind this growth, Wiese points out that it was a step-by-step process that had its ups and downs. His worst knock happened in when the rand collapsed. The balance sheet was under strain and the company had to be restructured. Shoprite was listed separately and some of the non-core assets were sold off. In one year, the company went from interest bearing debt of R million to having R million in the bank, at the time.
As a man who has done business across the continent for decades, Wiese calls himself a committed and optimistic African. He feels that Africa is shedding its old image; that a new Africa is emerging. He considers the events at Marikana, where Lonmin mine strikes turned violent, a prime example. Although Wiese is best-known for his business interests in retail, he has also tested other waters.
Wiese was not looking to get into the hospitality industry when he bought the Lanzerac Wine Estate in , on the outskirts of Stellenbosch. With a five star hotel on the premises, Wiese bought it as a new home for his family but as much as they loved the estate they loved their Clifton beach house even more.
Wiese chose not to walk away from Stellenbosch when his family did, simply because the place gave him too much pleasure. The wine estate was run down and the vineyards had been neglected for 25 years. But he saw something in it. Wiese spent a lot of money refurbishing the hotel, replanting the vineyards, building the cellars and developing the property. The magnificent year-old estate was sold in The billionaire now owns Lourensford Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, bought in None of this compares to his private game reserve in the Kalahari.
Wiese always dreamt of owning a farm close to where he grew up but never spends more than two or three days at a time there. Wiese is no stranger to making headlines. The money was confiscated and the matter went to court. Wiese insists that he acted on the advice that it would not be an issue. The courts ruled in his favor and the money returned.
The media criticized the earnings of Shoprite CEO Whitey Basson, who topped the list of top earning executives in , which was released by the Business Times. Shoprite was bought in for R1 million, with fewer than employees and eight stores. Wiese is the largest shareholder of Shoprite.
But he understands entrepreneurs, which is exactly why he thinks so highly of Basson. He has brought others into businesses who are the opposite of Basson. He has the ability to dissect problems and opportunities without emotions or personal complexities. Another painful media experience for Wiese was about his tax payments. This newsworthy year-old billionaire is not looking to retire anytime soon. He is, however, grooming his eldest son, Jacob 30 , to take over the business.
Wiese also hopes that both his daughters, one a non-practising lawyer, like her father, and the other a recent graduate from the London School of Economics, will join the family business someday. The next 10 years for the Pepkor Group are said to be very much like the last a continued high growth path focused on plugging into technology.
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