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If Elon Musk was a South African company…

Elon Musk’s market capitalisation of companies is 90% that of the JSE.

‘F*ck Elon Musk’ was trending last week on Twitter. The anger was prompted by Elon Musk, Tesla CEO,  threatening to move the Tesla production from California to Texas over his view of getting back to work. Having seen the effects of the coronavirus on his Chinese Tesla operations, he has described it as watching the same foreign movie play out, but this time in English.

Elon Musk, who is a South African-born billionaire, is the founder of Tesla, Space X, Starlink, The Boring Company, NeuraLink, Open AI, and one of the founders of PayPal. The companies that Musk has formed have added value to shareholders and investors.

The market capitalisation of PayPal is currently $156 billion, Tesla’s is $148 billion, and Space X raised $250 million in February 2020, bringing its market cap to $36 billion. So the companies that Musk has founded, operates and is directly involved with have a combined market cap of $340 billion.

Source: Koyfin

To put that into perspective, locally the JSE Top 40 has a market cap of $662 billion. The top four companies by market cap are Prosus, BatSA, Naspers and AB InBev – with those four making up $378 billion. Just $38 billion more than Musk’s contribution. (Source: Moneyweb)

The balance of the Top 40 Index is made up of companies like Richemont, Glencore, Vodacom, FirstRand, Standard Bank, Sanlam, Discovery, Absa, Aspen, Shoprite, Sasol, Bidvest (among others) which make up the remaining 36 companies, with a combined market cap of $284 billion. Elon Musk’s influence on the market cap of the companies he is/was involved in would either match the top four companies on the JSE or be worth more than the smaller 36 combined.

Elon Musk has added billions to the US stock market, employed thousands of employees and is on the trajectory to be one of the world’s richest and most innovative people on Earth … and Mars.

Just this one person, who matriculated from Pretoria Boys High, found his place in Silicon Valley, and created value, in fact, more value than any company on the JSE, except maybe for that 100-year-old newspaper that took a bet on a Chinese games company which changed the trajectory of the JSE for the better.

Should we follow the ‘f*ck Elon Musk’ narrative, or should we see how we can nurture businesses to grow into powerhouses, that provide shareholder value, employment while growing the economy?



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