Rain continues exponential growth while TymeBank feels lockdown effects, says ARC

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Patrice Motsepe, executive chair of African Rainbow Minnerals and African Rainbow Capital. Photo: Elvira Wood
Patrice Motsepe, executive chair of African Rainbow Minnerals and African Rainbow Capital. Photo: Elvira Wood
  • African Rainbow Capital Investments has published an update detailing the performance of its major investments up to May 2021.
  • The company says mobile data provider Rain is growing exponentially.
  • TymeBank, on the other hand, has been slowed down by the lockdowns in some areas, and the Kropz Elandsfontein phosphate mine may incur additional transport costs.

Patrice Motsepe's African Rainbow Capital (ARC) Investments says its mobile data operator Rain is working on connectivity issues as its footprint expands exponentially. When ARC presented its 2020 financial results in March, it said that Rain had started generating profit less than three years since it was established.

On Friday, ARC said the surge in demand for Rain's data, which accelerated when the lockdown forced most people to work from home in March 2020, continued in the new year continued and remained ahead of its original business case targets.

It said Rain's expansion of its network footprint in terms of the Vodacom agreement was also progressing well, and the rollout of 5G has expanded almost sixfold since its launch about 18 months ago. ARC said the network now covers approximately three million households in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

But some of its customers have battled with connectivity issues. ARC said Rain, which is also backed by former FNB CEO Michael Jordaan, has launched various initiatives to improve customer service while expanding the network and is counting on the additional spectrum to do even better.

"Rain is expected to participate in the upcoming spectrum auction, which has been initiated by the government," said ARC in the update.

ARC also provided an update on progress on other strategic matters and the performance of its major investments up to the end of May 2021, including TymeBank and the Kropz Plc Elandsfontein phosphate mine.

In the case of TymeBank, the company said the bank is looking for innovative ways to reach customers and beef up its offering, but the lockdown has slowed its growth.

"In some respects, TymeBank is tracking slightly behind its objectives, mainly because of the aftermath of the national lockdown as well as sustained economic pressures on consumers," wrote ARC.

It said the digital bank, which now has more than three million customers - half of whom are active banking customers - continues to roll out its insurance offering and is also preparing to launch its retail credit product, MoreTyme, by early July.

As for Kropz Elandsfontein, ARC said it still expects the mine to be commissioned in the last quarter of 2021, as previously communicated. But the Elandsfontein management was recently informed by Transnet of unexpected bottlenecks about the parastatal's capacity to export the phosphate rock through the Port of Saldanha. But it said Transnet has committed to providing alternative solutions where necessary.

"The impact of a continuing strong rand as well as additional transport costs that may result from the alternative solutions could have a large negative impact on the value of Kropz Elandsfontein despite the current positive trend in the phosphate rock prices," wrote ARC.

ARC said it will report more details on the performance of these and its other investments when it presents its results for the year ending 30 June on or around 14 September.

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