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Air France-KLM Takes 31% Stake in Virgin Atlantic

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  • Air France-KLM Takes 31% Stake in Virgin Atlantic

The French-Dutch airline Air France-KLM announced Thursday it was taking a 31 percent state in Britain’s Virgin Atlantic for 220 million pounds ($287 million, 246 million euros).

“The operation is expected to take place in 2018 after approval by the appropriate regulatory authorities,” Air France-KLM said in a statement.

The airline will become Virgin Atlantic’s second biggest shareholder after the US carrier Delta Airlines, which holds 49 percent.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Appointments

deVere Appoints First Chief Diversity Officer

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deVere Group - Investors King

deVere Group, one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory, asset management and fintech organisations, has appointed Beverley Yeomans as its inaugural Chief Diversity Officer (CDO).

Based in Malta, Ms Yeomans, who is also the Chief Operating Officer for the game-changing group, takes up the additional role with immediate effect and reports directly to the founder and CEO, Nigel Green.

Mr Green comments: “deVere is committed to making our globe-spanning organisation even more inclusive, diverse and equitable. To ensure that this critical commitment is successful, we needed someone who knows our culture inside out to lead the charge.

“Beverley has been at the top of her game in a senior executive role and on the Board, for some 22 years in a highly male-dominated sector.  Due to traditional industry biases, it’s a depressing reality that very few women have ever achieved this level, so young, and for this long in international financial services.

“But Beverley tore-up that ‘rule book’, breaking down barriers and leading by example. She was the ideal person to become our first-ever Chief Diversity Officer.”

For her part, Ms Yeomans says: “I’m thrilled to be taking on this extra role and help our group further incorporate diversity and inclusion in the way we operate day-to-day, as well as attracting and retaining the very best diverse talent.

“I’m excited to get going on building on the strong foundations we have already created at deVere, helping to galvanise the culture of inclusion.”

deVere has the most diverse and inclusive staff in the international financial services sector.  This is in no small part due to the tireless work and expertise of Beverley Yeomans.

“But there’s much, much more to do,” she says. “We will continue to lead the drive. Why? Because it is the right, fair thing to do and it makes for a better and stronger organisation.”

Ms Yeomans goes on to say: “I look forward to launching bold, innovative ideas and being a catalyst for promoting an even more inclusive work environment where all our people belong and thrive.”

Nigel Green concludes: “deVere isn’t an organisation that pays lip service to diversity. We’re taking measurable action.”

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Appointments

MarketForce Appoints FMCG Distribution Veteran Arthur Bourekas as Chief Commercial Officer

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MarketForce, the Kenya and Nigeria-based B2B platform for retail distribution of consumer goods and digital financial services in Africa, is pleased to announce the appointment of Arthur Bourekas as the Chief Commercial Officer, effective 1st October 2021.

Mr. Arthur has over 25 years of experience executing commercial growth, logistics and distribution in some of the most challenging countries in the world. He worked for A.G. Leventis (Nigeria) PLC and PZ cussons in Nigeria, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia. He is a veteran FMCG distribution expert in Africa, where he has spent over 17 years supporting conglomerates listed on the NSE to conquer African markets, including running an affiliate company supporting Coca-Cola Hellenic in Nigeria (one of the largest Coca-Cola bottling companies in the world).

Most recently, Arthur was involved –  at a very senior level – with Alerzo, a Nigerian B2B retail-tech startup that also helps retailers stock inventory directly from manufacturers.

“FMCG distribution in Africa is yet to be done effectively. Even multinationals with years of experience often can optimize their distribution and add real sales growth to their business. Innovation and focus is key! I am confident that with the platform MarketForce has built so far, along with the expertise being built within the organisation, we are destined to revolutionise the sector and become a formidable force.” – Arthur Bourekas, New Chief Commercial Officer of MarketForce.

Running sales operations, logistics and distribution in the most populous countries in both South East Asia and Africa brings to MarketForce a multitude of partnerships, commercial, logistics and distribution skill sets. These countries have thousands of islands, regional geo-political complexities and a combined 500M people – the kind of experience that matches MarketForce’s ambitions to be the largest B2B retail distribution company in sub-saharan Africa.

“Arthur aligns to our ambitious growth plans and brings significant expertise into this new, critical role for MarketForce as we empower informal merchants to maximise their profits and grow in a digital age. His extensive emerging market experience, ability to drive commercial growth, and depth of technical distribution knowledge in Nigeria will be valuable in our efforts to deepen our East Africa market reach while expanding into the West African market.” – Tesh Mbaabu, Co-Founder and CEO of MarketForce.

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Top African Brands Lose US$5.5 Billion in Brand Value in 2021

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The total value of Africa’s top 150 most valuable brands has declined by US$5.5 billion (12%) from US$45.5 billion in 2020 to US$40.0 billion in 2021, according to the latest Brand Finance Africa 150 2021 report

The COVID-19 pandemic has played a key role in the downturn in the brand value of Africa’s top brands. Lockdown measures and travel bans were implemented throughout the year and across the continent, creating uncertainty and impacting brands’ ability to do business as usual.

Jeremy Sampson, Managing Director, Brand Finance Africa, commented:

“In a year that saw most African countries go into lockdown and significant unrest across the continent, a decline in total brand value for the top African brands is unsurprising. Following the pandemic, African brands will need to search for opportunities to make up lost ground. By embracing new technologies and collaboration, the continent can propel its recovery and bounce back from the extraordinary situation the world has found itself in.”

Babatunde Odumeru, Managing Director, Brand Finance Nigeria, commented:

“Just 17 Nigerian brands feature in the Brand Finance Africa 150 2021 ranking and contribute 6% of the total brand value. As is the case with many brands across the continent, Nigeria’s top brands are not yet truly Pan-African, so although their performance may be solid on home soil, they are failing to translate this internationally. We are witnessing some brands make strides towards expanding their footprints, should they do so successfully we could see a greater uplift in brand value, as well as more Nigerian brands featuring in the ranking.”

17 Nigerian brands feature in ranking

Behind South Africa, Nigeria is the second most represented nation in the Brand Finance Africa 150 2021 ranking with 17 brands featuring and accounting for 6% of the total brand value. 33 Export (down 8% to US$292 million) is Nigeria’s most valuable brand, sitting in 43rd in the overall ranking. This brand value decrease is in line with the trend seen for alcohol brands across the continent and the rest of the world with people going out and drinking less because of the pandemic.

South African brands dominate once again, with the entire top ten hailing from the nation. In total, 81 South African brands feature with a cumulative brand value of US$29.0 billion, equating to 73% of the total brand value in the ranking – a 15% decrease from last year.

MTN and Vodacom lead the way, with First National Bank (brand value US$1.3 billion), Old Mutual (brand value US$1.3 billion) and Standard Bank (US$1.3 billion) completing the top five. In total, there are only 19 of the continent’s 54 countries with brand representation in the ranking.

Morocco is the third most represented nation in the ranking, with 10 brands featuring, which account for 6% of the total brand value. Claiming 13th spot is Maroc Telecom – the highest ranked brand from outside South Africa – jumping five spots following a modest 1% rise in brand value to US$761 million. The telecoms brand was able to capitalize on the increased reliability on its services over the previous year and a half, with both work and social lives forced to turn online, managing to increase its customer base, seeing an uptick of 10% in broadband users.

Access Bank is nation’s fastest growing

Access Bank is Nigeria’s fastest growing brand, following an 8% increase in brand value to US$262 million – growth that has bucked the global trend for the banking sector this year.

Access Bank has celebrated strong revenue growth over the previous year and has made some strides towards its expansion plans, through completing acquisitions across Zambia and Kenya. The bank shows no signs of slowing down with plans underway to enter the South African market through its investment in Grobank – a key part of the bank’s wider mission to become ‘Africa’s Gateway to the World’.

MTN peaks again

South Africa’s MTN has retained the title of Africa’s most valuable brand, despite recording a 19% drop in brand value to US$2.7 billion. The telecoms giant dominates on home soil too, this year holding onto its decade-long reign as South Africa’s most valuable brand, according to the Brand Finance South Africa 50 2021 report.

It has been a turbulent year for MTN, however, with the brand facing several scandals from its money mobile services been hacked in Uganda, to being accused of price discrimination practices alongside telecoms rival and second-ranked Vodacom (brand value down 16% to US$1.7 billion). MTN has also begun to scale down its operations, announcing its exit from the Middle East, in order to focus and build further across Africa.

Despite this, according to the Brand Finance Global Brand Equity Monitor, MTN is ranked 3rd among consumers for “Popularity with friends and family”, 4th for “Cool” and 4th for “Accessible anywhere and anytime”.

With the recent appointment of Ralph Mupita to the helm as CEO, as well as the successful launch of its 5G network across major South African cities, MTN will hope to use these developments as a springboard to capture some of its lost brand value moving forward.

Capitec Bank crowned Africa’s strongest brand

In addition to measuring brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. According to these criteria, Capitec Bank has overtaken Vodacom to be crowned Africa’s strongest brand, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 89.2 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand strength rating.

According to the Brand Finance Global Brand Equity Monitor, Capitec is one of the five most reputable banking brands in the world. Reputation (and the main drivers of reputation) is highly correlated with brand consideration. Banks that outperform in reputation – by excelling in meeting customer needs – also outperform in brand consideration. Capitec scores extremely highly for both.

Surpassing the 15 million client mark in December 2020, Capitec has more customers than any other South African bank, all of whom benefit from its excellent customer service and personalised banking experience. The pandemic increased the number of online shoppers to more than ever before – the banking brand responded by launching a virtual banking card, making online transactions easier and safer for its customers.

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