Markets battle amid coronavirus

The pandemic dominates the local and international ICT markets, and is likely to do so for the foreseeable future.

The coronavirus pandemic dominated the international and local ICT markets last week and is likely to continue to do so in the short term.

Key local news of the past week

  • Excellent interim numbers from Alaris Holdings, with revenue up 60.4% and profit up 260.9%.
  • A full-year loss from Cell C, with revenue down 3%.
  • The Competition Tribunal has issued an order prohibiting the proposed transaction involving Naspers’s OLX and WeBuyCars.
  • The appointment of Saki Macozoma as chairman of Vodacom Group.
  • The departure of Jabu Moleketi, chairman of Vodacom Group.

Key international news

  • Alibaba Pictures acquired a majority stake in Yinhekuyu Media, a producer of video content in China.
  • Everbridge bought one2many, a global provider of cell broadcast solutions for safety applications.
  • Microsoft purchased Affirmed Networks, a 5G specialist company, to deliver next-generation 5G networks that would create new capabilities, new markets and help advance local economies. The deal values the latter at $1.35 billion.
  • Catalyst Networks acquired a digital consultancy with a strong Sitecore platform focus.
  • A joint venture between Bouygues Telecom and Phoenix Tower International will see the latter build and operate 4 000 new tower sites in France.
  • BT will offload its French holdings.
  • Cognizant has entered into an agreement to acquire Lev, a privately held digital marketing consultancy in the US.
  • HOOQ Digital, a video streaming service majority owned by Singapore Telecommunications, is filing for liquidation.
  • Microsoft will sell its stake in AnyVision, an Israeli facial recognition start-up, and said it would no longer make minority investments in companies that sell the controversial technology.
  • OneWeb, the satellite operator backed by Japan's SoftBank Group, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to pursue the sale of its business.
  • SS&C Technologies Holdings has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Captricity, the maker of Vidado, a data transformation platform.

The Competition Tribunal has issued an order prohibiting the proposed transaction involving Naspers’s OLX and WeBuyCars.

  • Insight Partners led investments in Dremio, which offers a platform to help store and manage data, and Espressive, a pioneer in artificial intelligence for enterprise service management.
  • Excellent quarterly results from Viomi Technology.
  • Very good quarterly figures from One Stop Systems (back in the black) and SAIC (back in the black).
  • Good quarterly numbers from Elbit Systems (back in the black) and Progress Software.
  • Good year-end numbers from Elite Materials.
  • Satisfactory quarterly results from FactSet Research, IHS Markit, Partner Communications, Paychex and Synnex.
  • Satisfactory year-end figures from China Unicom.
  • Mediocre quarterly results from Micron Technology.
  • Mediocre year-end numbers from Flytech Technology and Posiflex.
  • Mixed quarterly figures from GameStop (back in the black), with revenue down but net income up.
  • Mixed year-end figures from Teco, with revenue down but net income up.
  • Quarterly losses from AudioEye, AutoWeb, B Communications, Cellcom Israel, Cheetah Mobile, Inuvo, Jianpu Technology, SecureWorks, SilverSun Technologies, UTStarcom, WidePoint and Yunji.
  • A full-year loss from ECSC Group.
  • The appointments of Doron Cohen as chairman of Cellcom Israel; Aaron Cooper as interim CEO of Groupon; and Jeff Gardner as interim CEO of CalAmp.
  • The resignation of Rich Williams, CEO of Groupon.
  • The retirement of Michael Burdiek, CEO of CalAmp.
  • The death of JR Shaw, founder, executive chairman and former CEO of Shaw Communications.
  • An IPO filing for Nasdaq from GAN, an Internet gambling software provider in the UK.

Research results and predictions


  • Global smartphone sales tumbled 14% in February as the coronavirus spread in China and overseas, according to Counterpoint Research.
  • End-user spending on IT infrastructure will decline in 2020 as a result of the widespread coronavirus pandemic, according to IDC. The probable scenario is that server market revenue will decline 3.4% year-over-year to $88.6 billion, and external enterprise storage systems revenue will decline 5.5% to $28.7 billion in 2020. The server market is expected to decline 11% in Q1 and 8.9% in Q2 and then return to growth in the second half of the year. The external ESS market is forecast to decline 7.3% in Q1 and 12.4% in Q2, before returning to slight growth by the end of 2020, with further recovery expected in 2021.

Stock market changes

  • JSE All share index: Up 6.6%
  • FTSE100: Up 6.2%
  • DAX: Up 7.9%
  • NYSE (Dow): Up 12.8%
  • S&P 500: Up 10.3%
  • Nasdaq: Up 9.1%
  • Nikkei225: Up 17.1%
  • Hang Seng: Up 3%
  • Shanghai: Up 1%

Look out for


  • Facebook buying a multibillion-dollar stake in Reliance Industries’ telecoms unit.

South Africa:

  • More Cell C developments.

Final word

The UK’s FT has published its 2020 annual list of Europe’s fastest growing companies (The FT1000). Included are:

  • 2: Wolf Enterprises (Finland), a software application company
  • 3: Bolt Technology (Estonia), a transportation platform company
  • 6: Gismart (UK), a developer and publisher of entertainment-focused apps and games
  • 10: In Touch Networks (UK), a LinkedIn-type company
  • 12: Holidu (Germany), a travel technology company
  • 15: MessengerPeople (Germany), a messaging platform provider
  • 23: Futureplay (Finland), a mobile games developer
  • 30: Uplink Network (Germany), a network for IT freelancers
  • 33: SoftwareHut (Poland), a bespoke software development company
  • 39: ITP Nord (Germany), a business-to-business services company
  • 44: Darktrace (UK), a cyber security company
  • 45: Sorted Group (UK), a global SaaS company
  • 47: Stillfront Group (Sweden), a gaming company 
See also