Flash Briefing: Money managers ranked; Krisp receives funding; Mediclinic struggles with Covid-19 patient load

By Melani Nathan 

  • This year has seen economic devastation as Covid-19 caused lockdowns around the world. The pressures of a pandemic have given emerging markets an opportunity to shine. Investors have been looking to emerging markets in search of value and money managers and financial advisors haven’t missed the trend. A series of high value deals has pushed Citigroup to the front of the pack this year, dethroning JPMorgan Chase & Co. as lead deal maker in the emerging markets, according to Bloomberg data. Citigroup leads the regional league table for initial public offerings, buoyed by its re-entry to Saudi Arabia in 2017 after a 13-year absence. The company had “a very strong 2020” after renewed investments in people and capital in the region over the past few years, Miguel Azevedo, head of investment banking in the Middle East and Africa, said in an interview. “We expect further IPO activity in 2021, both in the Middle East and Africa,” he said. In sub-Saharan Africa, Johannesburg-based Standard Bank Group toppled Standard Chartered as the No. 1 arranger of debt.
  • South Africa’s Mediclinic International said it’s struggling with capacity constraints as the country experiences a second wave of coronavirus infections. Patients seeking care within Mediclinic hospitals are exceeding previous numbers during the first peak, Gerrit de Villiers, a group general manager said in a statement. Demand in many intensive care and high care units have reached capacity. Mediclinic said coronavirus patients had climbed from less than 100 admissions to more than 500 in a month in its facilities across the Western Cape. “This dramatic increase in numbers within the Western Cape has placed very heavy strain on available healthcare resources including staff, equipment and available beds to provide intensive treatment for seriously ill patients,” it said. Elective or non-emergency surgery has been cancelled.
  • Meanwhile Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande has announced that the organisation at the centre of the study of the new Covid-19 strain identified in South Africa, will receive a financial boost from the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). The KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform will use the funds to sequence the genomes of the of the new strain of SARS-CoV-2 which was recently identified by scientists at Krisp. Evidence suggest that the new strain is more aggressive, causing severe illness in young people and spreading more easily. As a second wave of infections sweeps the country, it’s highly likely that this new variant of Covid-19 is the driver of the worrying surge of the disease.

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