Swiss luxury brand Rolex is the next company to leave SA

A Rolex Submariner. Rolex is the next foreign business to leave South Africa. Picture: Rolex website

A Rolex Submariner. Rolex is the next foreign business to leave South Africa. Picture: Rolex website

Published May 17, 2024


Luxury watch manufacturer Rolex has confirmed that it is closing its Johannesburg office and leaving South Africa.

The Switzerland based company told News24 that local markets and conjuncture have changed in the country and this means that a official Rolex affiliate is no longer needed in SA.

Rolex said that they will close their Sandton office in June but will remain active in SA through its official retailer network.

The Rolex Watch Company South Africa opened its first store in Johannesburg CBD in 1948 and then relocated to Sandton in 1997.

Not the only company to leave SA

In Early May, Petrochemical heavyweight Shell said that is would be leaving the country after facing a bitter battle with its partner Thebe Investment Corporation.

The Dutch/UK-based company is in the throws of an angry and contentious battle with its BEE partner, according to sources.

Shell has around 700 petrol stations across the country and this news will impact thousands of its employees.

A valuation battle

Thebe Investment Corporation has accused Shell of undervaluing their stake in the multinational holding.

The BEE partner valued its 28% stake in Shell Downstream South Africa (SDSA) at around R3.7 billion ($200 million).

Shell, however, is contending that the stake is worthless and not even worth the R1.3 billion ($73 million) that Thebe paid for the stake 22 years ago.

If Shell is correct, then Thebe would walk away with nothing, after more than two decades worth of investment.

In 2022, Thebe reportedly informed Shell that it was exercising its right to use its opt-out clause so that the BEE company could sell its stake in the petrol company.

Thebe said that it wanted to cash out and reinvest their money elsewhere and had every right to do so, according to their contract with Shell.