Digital TV plan ‘will raise costs’

Equipment to receive digital television signals would be more expensive if the government implemented proposals for an encryption system, Naspers said yesterday. Naspers’ MultiChoice unit had had talks with television manufacturers that were confused about the plans, Imtiaz Patel, the division’s chief executive, said yesterday. “They now have to uniquely create something for South Africa, which would otherwise have the economies of scale of the rest of the world,” Patel said. “There isn’t clarity. That’s their biggest thing, confusion.” Migration to digital services would also be slower and more complex as the government’s stance was that “even consumers with digital television sets will be forced to buy a completely unnecessary set-top box, because the free television signal will be encrypted”, MultiChoice said. – Bloomberg


Watchdog lets Aberdare off

Aberdare Cables has received conditional immunity from a competition inquiry into four companies that supply cables to major corporations. The Competition Commission launched the probe into alleged collusion between Aberdare, Alvern Cables, Tulisa Cables and South Ocean Electric Wire nearly four years ago. Yesterday it announced that it had referred its findings to the tribunal and said that between 2001 and 2010 the firms directly or indirectly fixed the selling prices of power cables. The commission has asked for a penalty of 10 percent of annual turnover to be imposed on each of the firms except Aberdare. Aberdare said yesterday it had co-operated fully with the investigation and had submitted a formal leniency application. – Asha Speckman


Hadebe to lead Barclays unit

Barclays Africa has appointed Phakamani Hadebe as chief executive of its South African corporate and investment banking division. Hadebe was previously the chief executive of the Land and Agricultural Bank of South Africa. His contract expired on December 3 last year. Hadebe first joined the Land Bank as an interim chief executive in July 2008. – Reuters