London-based advertising group, M&C Saatchi, plans to use South Africa as its launch pad into East and West Africa, says worldwide CEO Moray MacLennan.
He says the group wants a strong presence across the continent. "We are looking to go into Nigeria and Kenya but with South Africa as our African headquarters." That could include acquisitions or startups. "We don't have any debt so we're sitting on some cash. If there is the right acquisition target, we'll look at it. But people often want to sell for the wrong reasons."
MacLennan, who was in South Africa last week to discuss African expansion with the group's local affiliate, M&C Saatchi Abel, hopes the first new ventures will be in place by the end of 2013.
Encouraged by growth
He is encouraged by the growth of the South African affiliate, which, within three years of its launch, is already in the top 10 of the group's 26 agencies, with 150 staff in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
In the past year M&C Saatchi Abel has reportedly doubled in size through the acquisition of accounts such as Edgars, Nedbank and MWeb. With London, it has also launched a mobile agency and another specialising in sponsorship and entertainment.
The South African agency says it will pursue further growth. Chief executive partner Mike Abel says the operation will double in size again over the next two years. Key growth areas are in public relations, customer relationship management and branding.
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