Samantha Enslin-Payne

MTN is the most valuable local brand and the leading African brand, according to a report released yesterday.

The Brand Finance Top 50 South African Brands report ranked MTN top of the list with a global value of R43.3 billion, and the cellular operator is the only South African brand in the Brand Finance Global 500.

In descending order the other companies in the South African top 10 were Vodacom, Standard Bank, Absa, Sasol, Nedbank, First National Bank, Shoprite, Investec and Netcare.

Brand Finance is a brand valuation consultancy that advises organisations on maximising brand value.

Ollie Schmitz, the managing director of Brand Finance South Africa, said: “The uniformity of the MTN brand and its ability to transcend all eleven of South Africa’s languages, as well as the multitude of international languages across the African continent, is one reason that it has succeeded so well.”

Thebe Ikalafeng, the founder and executive chairman of Brand Africa, said the results affirmed that South Africa and Africa were at the cutting edge of, and setting global standards in, building telecoms and financial services and brands.

“It is, therefore, not surprising that MTN, with over 100 million customers across Africa, is again the leading African brand.”

South African banks made up half of the top 10 with Standard Bank ranked as the most valuable banking brand.

Brand Finance said as the European financial crisis continued, South Africa had proven itself an example of a stable financial environment. Businesses should turn towards the African markets for examples of how best to thrive in difficult economic conditions.

Brand Finance uses the royalty relief methodology, which determines the value of the brand in relation to the royalty rate that would be payable for its use were it owned by a third party.