Top GDB companies

Top 25 Listed Companies in South Africa by Market Cap in 2018

by Nicolae Buldumac
Top 25 Listed Companies in South Africa by Market Cap in 2018

The 2nd biggest economy in Africa, South Africa, is highly developed and ranked as an upper-middle-income one by the World Bank. There are only 4 countries of this kind on the continent (Mauritius, South Africa, Botswana and Gabon). Currently, the economy in question is the 102nd freest in the world according to the economic freedom index and has a score of 58.3, which is above the regional average. The South African GDP $765.6 billion as of 2019 has grown by 1.3% comparing to 2018 and now is $13,545 per capita.

Despite the 27.3% unemployment rate and 5.3% inflation, the country takes a strong position globally and especially in Africa. It’s even the only African member of the G20. Being among the biggest gold, platinum, and other natural resources producers and exporters in the world, South Africa carries weight in the global community. Other strongly developed sectors, like financial, energy, transport, communications and legal, contribute to economic development and diversity. The state-owned enterprises are keeping the majority in these sectors, but public companies are gaining more and more power in them and becoming increasingly investment attractive.

This is why we at Global Database created a Top 25 companies by market capitalisation, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. It contains insightful details on their activity, current financial state and forecast for the next year. Having all this information collected and systematised, you could evaluate the business development possibilities correctly while planning to enter the South African market. Considering to invest and collaborate with prominent local companies? Check the rating below to do perfect due diligence.  


*All figures are in USD. M: Millions of USD, B: Billions of USD

*ZAR was converted to USD using an average exchange rate of 14.72 ZAR to 1 USD   


1. AB InBev SA ($149.84B)

AB InBev South Africa (further AB InBev SA) is the AB InBev direct subsidiary in South Africa, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Before its acquisition by AB InBev in 2016, the company was known as South African Breweries, founded more than a century ago to serve Johannesburg miners and prospectors. Nowadays it serves the entire region, operating 6 breweries in South Africa, and has a market capitalisation of $149.84B. Some of the best known AB InBev SA products are Budweiser, Corona and Carling Black Label.

2. British American Tobacco ($107.65B)

British American Tobacco South Africa (further BAT SA) is the local subsidiary of British American Tobacco and the biggest tobacco manufacturer in the country. It had a market capitalisation of $107.65B as of 2018 and registered $30.9B in sales in the same year. The net income value was abnormally high in 2017 ($47.4B), but the values from 2016 and 2018 were closer to their average - $5.9B and $7.6B respectively. The company is marketing such brands as Kent, Rothmans, Dunhill and others.

3. Naspers ($99.56B)

Naspers is yet another 100+ years old company from South Africa. It is the biggest internet and media local holding, operating across over 130 countries, including its home country, China and India. The market cap of the company was $99.56B as of 2018. This year was also marked with an impressive net income of $14.4B, while sales were only $8.4B. Naspers owns multiple internet, TV, print media and shopping brands, such as Movile. SuperSport and OLX.

4. Glencore Xstrata ($60.01B)

Glencore Xstrata Plc (further Glencore) is a commodity trading and mining enterprise focused on zinc, copper, oil and grain. It is headquartered in Switzerland and secondary listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The total market capitalisation of Glencore in 2018 was $60.01B. The company generated $219.8B in sales in the same year, while the net income was just $3.4B. Glencore is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of automotive, steel production, power generation and food processing industries.

5. Richemont ($38.59B)

Compagnie Financière Richemont SA (further Richemont) is an enterprise, established by Johann Rupert, a businessman from South Africa, and focused on luxury goods. Vacheron Constantin, Cartier and Dunhill are among the brands it owns. Richemont is headquartered in Switzerland and listed on two stock exchanges - in Zurich and Johannesburg, with a total market cap of $38.59B. 2018 was marked with good financial results for the company: sales of $12.4B and $1.4 net income.

6. BHP Billiton ($33.9B)

BHP Billiton PLC (further BHP Group) is the biggest mining group in the world with a market cap of $33.9B as of 2018, which made it the 6th largest company listed in South Africa in 2018. BHP Group is the South African subsidiary (former Gencor ltd) of the Australian mining corporation. The enterprise operates in silver, zinc, copper, iron ore, coal, oil and gas extraction and distribution across four continents (Europe, Asia, Australia and South America).

7. Anglo American ($27.32B)

Anglo American plc (further Anglo American) is an international mining enterprise from South Africa, operating across all the continents. Anglo American is secondary listed on the JSE with a market cap of $27.32B. It’s the biggest platinum manufacturer, as well as one of the leading diamonds, nickel, copper, iron ore and coal producers in the world. Namely, diamonds are distributed through the famous De Beers. The company generated $27.6B in sales and $3.5B net income in 2018.

8. FirstRand ($26.61B)

FirstRand Limited (further FirstRand) is the biggest financial services provider by market cap ($26.61B) in South Africa, licenced by the national regulator of the banking sphere. The FirstRand Group operates in 8 key African countries besides South Africa, as well as in the UK and India (through the FirstRand Bank branches). The company generated $27.6B in sales and $3.5B in net income in 2018 and is estimated to grow them with around $1B and $500M respectively in 2019 according to Market Screener.

9. Standard Bank Group ($24.28B)

The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited (further Standard Bank Group) is one of the most prominent financial services providers in its home country with a market capitalisation of $24.28B. The company operates a large branches network across all the Africa and international branches in the UK, Argentina, Turkey, Russia and such regions as Jersey and the Isle of Man. It also partners with big Chinese banks, like Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China CITIC Bank and others.

10. Vodacom Group ($18.32B)

Vodacom Group Limited (further Vodacom) is a mobile communications enterprise with $18.32B market cap as of 2018. It’s a child company of Vodafone in South Africa and the former joint ownership of Vodafone and Telkom. 7,500 employees of the company are serving over 103M customers in Africa, providing them with overall mobile, internet and landline services. Vodacom Group consists of 7 African companies from South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique and DRC.  

11. Sasol ($17.88B)

Sasol Limited (further Sasol) is a hydrocarbons and chemicals producer and marketer from South Africa, operating worldwide. It is publicly listed on JSE and NYSE with a market cap of $17.88B, and the South African Government is one of its major shareholders. Over 30,000 Sasol employees working in multiple company plants and offices are serving clients from 36 countries across the 5 continents. The two strategic business units (energy and chemical ones) of the company managed to generate $12.6B in sales and $605M as a net income in 2018.   

12. MTN Group ($15.85B)

MTN Group Limited (further MTN) is an internationally operating mobile telecommunications entity. It is the biggest mobile network operator in South Africa and the 9th biggest in the world, with over 232M subscribers. MTN operates in 20 countries and has around 20,000 employees. It achieved $9.3B sales (30% of which from Nigeria only), and $305M net income in 2018. MTN is involved in sports sponsorship, like many other big companies. For example, it’s the main sponsor of the national rugby union team in its home country.


13. Old Mutual ($14.06B)

Old Mutual Limited (further Old Mutual) is one of the oldest investment, banking and insurance companies in South Africa, operating across the whole continent. It is primarily listed on the JSE with a market cap of $14.06B as of 2018 and has around $83B assets under management. Old Mutual employs about 31,000 professionals who manage to serve 12M clients across Africa and China. The company also had a business in Latin America, but it was sold in April 2019.    

14. Sanlam ($13.72B)

Sanlam Limited (further Sanlam) is an organisation, providing financial services across Africa, Asia (Malaysia and India) and the UK to over 10M enrolled clients. Its 21,000 employees supply personal and corporate finance services, as well as investment and emerging markets consulting to customers in 16 countries. The $13.72B market capitalisation as of 2018 made it the 14th biggest public company in South Africa by market cap according to Global Database.

15. Absa Group Limited ($11.33B)

Absa Group Limited (further Absa) is one of the most prominent public financial services companies in South Africa with Barclays Plc as the largest shareholder. The company has a market cap of $11.33B, making it the 15th largest company listed on the JSE. Absa operates subsidiaries in 12 African countries, served by over 40,000 employees. Together they managed to achieve $5.2B in sales in 2018 and are estimated to get even more in 2019 - $5.6B.         

16. South32 ($10.83B)

South Africa Energy Coal (SAEC) is a separately-managed, stand-alone business of the Australian company South32 in South Africa, listed on the JSE as S32. SAEC operates 4 coal mining and 3 coal processing facilities that generated $549M in sales in 2018. The market cap of the company was $10.83B as of 2018, which allowed it to enter the 25 biggest South African public companies list, created by Global Database.

17. Shoprite Holdings ($10.4B)

Shoprite Group of Companies (further Shoprite) is the biggest food retailer in Africa, operating almost 3,000 branches across the continent and Indian Ocean Islands. The company employs over 146,000 professionals, serving customers in 15 countries, that achieved $9.9B in sales in 2018 and is estimated to raise to $10.2B in 2019 according to the Market Screener.

18. Nedbank Group ($9.82B)

Nedbank Group is yet another financial services provider from South Africa, operating internationally (in other African countries, the UK and Dubai). It has a market capitalisation of $9.82B. Around 31,600 employees of the Group are serving clients in 2,000 branches across 39 countries. The annual income they generated in 2018 was $3.5B. Based on the Market Screener forecast, this figure is going to grow to almost $4B in 2019.    

19. Remgro ($8.28B)

Remgro Limited (further Remgro) is an investment holding, one of the 20 biggest publicly-traded companies in South Africa with a market cap of $8.28B. The areas Remgro operates in include banking & finance, mining, food & beverage, mining and others. Such brands as Unilever South Africa, FirstRand (№8 from our list) and SEACOM are in its investment portfolio among 17 other companies.

20. Aspen Pharmacare ($8.05B)

Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited (further Aspen Pharmacare) is the biggest pharmaceutical and drug holding company in South Africa. It reached a market capitalisation of $8.05B, that was the reason why Aspen Pharmacare is included in the Global Database’s Top 25 largest public companies in SA. Sales of $2.9B and net income of $567M were generated for the company in 2018 by almost 11,000 employees.

21. Mondi Plc ($7.99B)

Mondi Group (further Mondi) is the biggest packaging and paper company in South Africa ($7.99B market cap), working internationally in North America, Russia, Europe and Africa. 26,000 employees of Mondi, delivering products and services to international clients in 30 countries, generated $8.4B in sales in 2018. Mondi Group operates 200 production plants, providing an overall packaging and paper producing cycle from growing woods to the final product.  

22. Discovery Holdings ($7.91B)

Discovery Limited is a financial services holding from South Africa, listed on the JSE with a market capitalisation of $7.91B. The company offers insurance, investment, savings and asset management and other services in subsidiaries across 6 countries. Discovery Holding includes over 15 companies in the UK, South Africa, Australia, China and other countries. They generated around $34.9B annual revenue and $383M net income in 2018.  

23. RMB Holdings ($7.9B)

RMB Holdings Limited (further RMBH) is the 8th largest financial services public company by market cap ($7.9B) in 2018 in South Africa, according to Global Database. RMBH generated $1.77M in sales and $513M net income in 2018. One of the biggest RMBH’s investments is FirstRand (№8 in our rating) - one of the Big 4 South African banks. The other major investments are RMB Property (100% shares), Propertuity (24% shares) and Atterbury (27.5% shares).

24. Capitec ($7.13B)

Capitec Bank Holdings Ltd (further Capitec or Capitec Bank) is the 2nd biggest retail bank in South Africa by the number of customers. It has a monthly clients influx of 120,000, and the total  current number of clients exceeds 6.2M, 3.5M of them being mobile banking customers. Almost 12,000 employees of Capitec serve all these people in 500 retail branches across South Africa. The $7.13B market capitalisation of Capitec Bank made it the 24th largest public company in South Africa in 2018.

25. Kumba Iron Ore ($6.71B)

Kumba Iron Ore Ltd (further Kumba Iron Ore) is the biggest iron-ore manufacturer in Africa and the 4th biggest in the world. This mining enterprise is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange with a $6.71B market cap as of 2018. Kumba Iron Ore operates 3 mines, one of them with a jig plant, that is the biggest of its kind in the world. Anglo American (ranked 7th in our top 25 Market Cap Companies in South Africa) is its biggest shareholder that owns 63.4% of shares.

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