Before I get on with this article I think it is fair to explain that ‘too big to fail’ aspect. Here is the thing; there are businesses that have grown so big to an extent where they have a huge bearing on the whole economy. Implicatively, this means anything that happens to such businesses has ripple effects on the economy as a whole. Some of the undesirable ripple effects of any adverse situations affecting those businesses can be unemployment, decreased revenue collections and disruption of other businesses heavily reliant on those businesses’ sustainable existence. Those are just some of them but overall, the government would do literally anything to keep those businesses operational. In this article, I shall discuss some of the local companies that are too big to fail – all of them are listed on the local stock exchange.
Delta Corporation Limited
This is a huge company with a very broad portfolio. Its market cap stands at about ZWL$5 billion. It focuses on lagers, traditional beers, sparkling beers and non-alcoholic beverages. It is has been around for a very long time considering that it was founded in the year 1946. It is a huge employer and has significant bearings on numerous other businesses’ operations. Many of you might remember that there was a time when government prioritized giving forex allocations to Delta in order to ease its business operations. This was at a time when doctors were striking plus a whole lot of other economic challenges. Remember what I mentioned at the beginning – the government would do literally anything to keep those businesses operational.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited
When it comes to local mobile network operators (MNOs) Econet leads the pack in Zimbabwe. It terms of network coverage, Econet covers over 90% of the Zimbabwean population. It has over 11 million subscribers of which about 10.8 million of them are data subscribers. To show you how colossal that is, the Zimbabwean population is almost 15 million people. Econet might not have as many direct jobs as compared to the ones it supports. There are tens of thousands of jobs that are created from the sale and support of its products. Econet Wireless Zimbabwe’s market cap is over ZWL$4 billion.
Cassava SmartTech Zimbabwe
This company, just like Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, are subsidiaries of Econet Global. It is significant in that it is the one that worked on the introduction of the infamous Ecocash platform. The King of mobile money in Zimbabwe and today it wields the lion’s share of the local mobile money market. The local mobile money market has a user base nearing 7 million people now. Ecocash accounts for over 6 million of that figure. Its market share is a staggering approximate of at least 95%. Considering the recent events pertaining to Ecocash I am sure it is abundantly clear how a huge company’s challenges can send shock waves throughout the whole economy. Its market cap stands at just over ZWL$3 billion.
Innscor Africa Limited
Their main focus is the manufacture and marketing of fast-moving consumer goods locally and also exports them internationally. Some of the subsidiaries under it are National Foods, Colcom, Irvine’s Natpak, Profeeds and Probrands. It has been around for about 32 years and has a market cap of just over ZWL$2 billion. It is a major player in the food industry so it is crucial to the overall economic performance of the nation.
OK Zimbabwe Limited
This is the top supermarket retailer in the country operating through 3 brands namely, OK, Bon Marche and OKmart. They specialize in groceries, housewares products and clothing & textiles. OK Zimbabwe has a market cap of roughly ZWL$975 million. They have over 60 supermarkets spread out all over the country. They contribute greatly to employment and the provision of basic commodities.
Simbisa Brands have a market cap of about ZWL$770 million. Simbisa Brands is the biggest business operator in the fast foods domain locally. It might interest you to also know that Simbisa Brands is an appendage of Innscor Africa (that I mentioned earlier). It is an owner and operator plus also runs franchise deals. Simbisa Brands is home to brands like Chicken Inn, Creamy Inn, Pizza Inn, Bakers Inn, Nandos and Steers. The market focus spans all over Zimbabwe and beyond with some examples being Zambia, Kenya, Mauritius, Ghana, and Namibia. All in all, they operate about 459 restaurants across the markets I just mentioned.
These are 6 of some of the biggest local companies that are too big to fail. If these companies encounter challenges the effects can be felt right across the whole nation – the recent Ecocash issue is a testament to that. They employ a sizeable number of people and numerous other businesses depend on their sustainable existence. They are also quite vital in as far as government revenue is concerned. Thus the government will always make it a point to step to their rescue if they meet any obstacles. When such things happen you might not get to hear about them but it definitely happens.