The massive, modern headquarters of Malawi’s biggest private sector company, the Press Corporation Limited (Press) sits at Top Mandala area of Blantyre, the former commercial hub of the colonial era African Lakes Corporation.
Press is a legacy of businessman Kamuzu Banda, and in equal measure, an embodiment of the trajectory of Malawi’s political economy since independence.
It was founded and owned by Kamuzu Banda in 1969 , after the consolidation of General Farming and Press Farming – companies belonging to Banda and the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) respectively.
Press ventured into profitable tobacco farming, later diversifying into the retail sector by establishing People’s trading supermarket chain stores across the country and then going into joint venture partnerships with international companies such as Coca Cola and Danish Carlsberg for soft drink and beer production. It later moved into insurance, pensions and banking.
After Banda and the MCP lost power in 1994, the new government moved to establish control over Press Trust. In a highly tempestuous legal and political battle, the government finally established control in February 1997.
To create the current Press, political control was eliminated through breaking control of Press Trust over the corporation, floating Press shares on the stock market and diluting Malawian ownership.
It is difficult to speak of contemporary Malawi without Press. For example, Press controls or has big stakes in Malawi’s National Bank, telecom titan-Malawi Telecommunications Limited and beverages giant Castel.
 This profile drew from van Donge (2002) The fate of an African ‘chaebol’: Malawi’s Press Corporation after democratisation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press