Latest 70 Corporate Stories

Oserian Development Co. Ltd

Kenya in Bloom Through an ambitious and transformative diversification drive, Oserian is opening up new opportunities for both its own and other local businesses around Lake Naivasha Writer: Tom Wadlow Project Manager: Lewis Bush  Adaptation, innovation and diversification – three simple terms at face value, but traits that many businesses are having to exercise in order to address challenges and ensure a sustainable future.   From global financial crashes and fluctuating commodity prices to new legislation and changing consumer behaviour, organisations across all industries around the world are having to adapt, innovate and diversify in order to survive.   Kenya’s Oserian, one of the world’s leading exporters of fresh cut flowers, is no exception.   “We face head winds at home and abroad,” begins Neil Hellings, the company’s Managing Director. “The imposition of VAT on crop protection in 2018 has created additional financial challenges given the duration before such cash outgoings can be recovered.  “The Kenyan Bureau of Standards’ and other related government handling of the importation of fertiliser and how it is established to be compliant has done substantial damage to our sector – easily resolved issues have taken an unfathomable amount of time and starved the sector of crucial inputs.”  Outside of the country, a slowdown in sales for crucial events like Valentine’s Day has also presented a challenge, but one which Hellings believes can be solved by adherence to the three aforementioned traits.     “Sustainable production techniques and gaining market advantage from them will become ever more important,” he adds, “and those farms that ‘get in early’ and embrace it

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AutoZone South Africa

The Automotive A to Z  The largest wholly-owned auto parts retailer in Southern Africa, AutoZone has not settled, set to fundamentally reinvent its operational and productive portfolio to the benefit of all during 2019   Writer: Jonathan DybleProject Manager: Josh Hyland  A strategic and catalytic segment of the South African economy, the automotive sector has become a mainstay of national industry, accounting for just shy of seven percent of GDP. Standing aside from a continent that is home to just 44 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants, four times less than the global average of 180 according to Deloitte, this market has continued to prevail in South Africa, remaining the country’s sole manufacturing sector to have expanded while others have shrunk. “Many have prospered under these circumstances and we are now seeing a lot of market consolidation, with rapid growth taking place in both the retail and supplier spaces,” explains Lesego Moagi, Marketing Executive at AutoZone. “A number of mergers in the industry are underway, and change is something that we see happening at a pace never seen before.” Setting the scene, Moagi goes on to reveal that the situation is no different for AutoZone itself, a company that remains the largest wholly-owned distributor of auto parts, spares and car accessories across Southern Africa. “Let me paint a picture of what our company is looking at right now,” he continues. “We’re arguably the most typical example of an automotive business having been the subject of rapid growth, and now we’re reinforcing our position. “What this has resulted in is the implementation of extensive structural and

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PW Nigeria

Steady Support PW Nigeria has been side by side with the country’s development since the 1970s, providing critical support to mining and infrastructure projects    Writer: Tom WadlowProject Manager: Donovan Smith  When thinking of Nigeria’s economy and industry it is difficult to look beyond oil & gas.  The sector alone accounts for around nine percent of the West African nation’s GDP and more than 80 percent of its export revenue, making it a staple of the country’s economy since oil was first discovered in Oloibiri in 1956.   Nigeria is also abundant in other resources. Minerals such as tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead and zinc are all present in high quantities, while the sheer size of the state translates into a large amount of arable land.   Activities in the mining sector began to nose-dive considerably during the mid-1970s due to a number of political and economic factors, especially the focus on crude oil production as a major source of foreign exchange.   However, the industry is beginning to contribute meaningfully to Nigeria’s income once more. In 2015 it accounted for 0.33 percent of GDP and today is worth around $1.4 billion a year, employing 0.3 percent of the country’s workforce.   Playing its part in this recovering trade is PW Nigeria, an engineering specialist serving both mining and construction sector clients and working for the likes of the World Bank, federal governments, state ministers, local government authorities and multinational corporations.   “We have helped to construct critical infrastructure throughout West Africa, in particular Nigeria, and are at the forefront of the

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Big Save Group

Big Save, Big Family Starting out as a soft drink wholesaler in Pretoria in 1989, Big Save Group has adapted and grown as the industry has evolved, today employing more than 1,350 people    Writer: Tom Wadlow   Project Manager: Lewis Bush  The dawn of South Africa’s democratic age in the mid-1990s brought with it tremendous change across almost all areas of social and  economic life.   A newly-elected government, end to apartheid and liberalisation of the economy created fertile ground for business to thrive, an environment which saw new wholesalers and retailers like Big Save Group emerge.   Cornering its own niche in the Pretorian market, the next decade saw the family business thrive thanks to low operating costs, high margins and a lack of serious competition.   However, fast-forward to the present day and Big Save’s more recent story is one of adaption, growth and innovation, sparked by a transformation in South Africa’s wholesale and retail scene.   “From 2005 onwards then all the dynamics started changing within the townships and informal areas,” explains Tony Ferreira, Director of Operations and son of company founder Johnny Jardim Snr.   “Massive infrastructures were built such as shopping malls. Many of the corporates were then chosen as the preferred tenants to fill up these huge developed sites and this type of development impacted the local stores like us and our customers, who were already trading in the area.”  This prompted a shift in strategy, the family deciding to join major buying groups with national footprints in a bid to compete with the larger players. Big Save

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Robert Bosch South Africa

A Hallmark of Trust With a presence dating back more than a century, backed up by a brand reputation for quality products, Bosch is very much in the fast lane of South Africa’s automotive supply chain industry Writer: Tom Wadlow Project Manager: Vivek Valmiki  South Africa’s automotive supply chain industry must be one of the most exciting and at the same time challenging spaces to be involved in,” muses Frank du Plessis, Regional President ED SA for Bosch. “Very few other countries face the challenges and opportunities that we do.” A complex, nuanced sector of the South African economy, the wider automotive sphere is the mainstay of the national industrial base and accounted for 6.9 percent of 2017’s GDP, or $42 billion in monetary terms. “It is not an easy environment, however, and for this reason companies need to be resourceful and innovative with an entrepreneurial spirit, something that Bosch drives very well,” du Plessis adds, further explaining why he decided to join the company back in 2009. “The number one reason was the Bosch values. Businesses nowadays often seem to be run without core values and can only lead to short term gains and a damaged reputation later on. “I was excited about the all-round diversity within the company, especially the technology fields and vast product ranges that Bosch offered. The firm also invests greatly in its employees and it was clear that they had a career plan with each person, something you do not find in all organisations.” This reputation stems from a long and rich history that the German industrial heavyweight has

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Braitex Tensilon

Textiles Reignited  Braitex Tensilon continues to serve South Africa’s textile needs having adapted to changing and challenging industry backdrops ever since it began life in 1948   Writer: Tom WadlowProject Manager: Vivek Valmiki  Very few industries have been left untouched by globalisation over the past few decades. Ease of transport, improving connectivity and the allure of outsourcing to save money has resulted in many local trades being overtaken by manufacturing powerhouses, especially those with immense labour forces in Asia. The textiles trade is a case in point, but with challenge comes opportunity and the chance to innovate. “Working in this industry for the last 36 years has been extremely testing,” comments Jacobus Venter, CEO of narrow fabric manufacturer Braitex Tensilon. “Our customer base, especially in the clothing sector, has shrunk tremendously, meaning we’ve had to diversify our operations into industrial products and today we find ourselves with a new operation in Springs catering for this sector. “This, plus the return of clothing manufacturing to South Africa, have reignited the excitement in the industry.”  Braitex is a South African textile stalwart. Founded in 1948 by the late George Rosochacki, the company grew from small beginnings into one of the most prolific manufacturers of narrow fabrics on the continent. Today Braitex operates production facilities in Cape Town and Gauteng, converting hundreds of tonnes of raw material into high quality products every year for both local and international customers. The power to adapt  Asked what stands Braitex apart from others in the textile trade, Venter points to the company’s immense experience contained within its ranks, experience which has

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Servest Office Services

Servicing a New Chapter The Office Services division of Servest is building a strong foundation  to drive sustainable growth and differentiate in what is a competitive and evolving facilities management industry in South Africa   Writer: Tom Wadlow   Project Manager: Lewis Bush  Facilities management is a complex business. With many companies boasting large portfolios of services and managing multiple sites for numerous different clients, no job is ever the same, and consistent standards are a must in order to succeed. Add in the relative maturity of the market in South Africa, and the challenge for FM providers to thrive becomes even clearer to see. “This density of competition, the regulatory environment, as well as the fact that it is a labour-intensive industry, makes it an extremely challenging environment to operate in,” remarks Xolile Sizani, Group CEO at Servest. “Furthermore, barriers to entry are low and clients are price sensitive. However, with intensification of the fourth industrial revolution, as well as the increasing pressures on businesses to contain and drive down costs, the industry is actually poised for growth through innovation. “Additionally, recent research conducted in the sector indicates that companies are planning to outsource more of their facility needs in the upcoming year.”  New beginnings  Ross Anderson, Managing Director for the Office Services Division of Servest, became part of Servest in 2007 when his previous employer was acquired by the company, working up through the ranks into the Managing Director’s chair. An important part of his upcoming remit will be to implement a joined-up strategy based on the vision of the wider Servest Group, which

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Cash Converters

The Supersonic Age of Second Hand Retail  Cash Converters Southern Africa is not only expanding its family of franchisees, but also equipping them with the digital tools required to run successful, modern businesses    Writer: Tom WadlowProject Manager: Josh Hyland  The trading of used goods has been a cornerstone of commercial activity throughout human history.   An economical way of acquiring essential items, be it clothing, tools, gadgets and almost anything in between, the second-hand retail industry has become a mainstream alternative to buying new.   However, while the rise of established second-hand trading has enabled consumers to live more economically, it has also carried with it some unwelcome reputational stereotypes.   Issues of trust, wheeler-dealing and sleazy salesmanship are all tags that are commonly associated with this realm of retail, but organisations like Cash Converters have built themselves up by offering a fresh way of doing business.   “Our group founder Brian Cumins describes it as taking the sector out of the steam-driven era and propelling it into the supersonic age,” explains Richard Mukheibir, CEO of Cash Converters Southern Africa.      “It was about mainstreaming the industry and making the average consumer in the street comfortable with the brand and its professional approach to second-hand retail.”  Mukheibir established the South African wing of the business in 1994 after flying over to Perth to meet with Cumins.    It was a time of tremendous change in the country. Nelson Mandela, having been released from prison in 1990, won the landmark democratic election of May 1994 and swore in a new post-apartheid era.   For

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Zesco Limited

Keeping Zambia Switched On State-owned ZESCO Limited is charged with powering the nation, operating with a vision to become a regional hub for electricity trading by 2025  Writer: Tom Wadlow  Project Manager: Callam Waller  Water – lifeblood to almost all living things that inhabit earth.   From hydrating humans to powering plant photosynthesis, it is rightly labelled the world’s most precious resource, with rivers, coasts and lakes the focal point of civilizations throughout the whole of human history.     Through time water has taken on a tremendous range of other use cases, not least in the industrialisation of society. Its ability to generate power, be it steam when heated or through sheer force of movement, has catalysed socioeconomic advancement all over the world.   And it is the latter, hydrokinetic energy which is proving key to the powering of Zambia’s development.   Landlocked in the heart of Southern Africa, the nation has turned to its rivers as the means to generate the required power to industrialise.   Indeed, of Zambia’s 2,800 MW of installed electricity generation capacity, 85 percent is hydro based, and ZESCO Limited is the state-owned body responsible for the vast majority of power generation, transmission, and distribution.   The company was formed in 1970 after the Zambia Electricity Supply Act was passed in parliament.   “This Act brought together the electricity undertakings that were previously managed by the local authorities,” the firm states. “The corporation traces its origins to 1906 when a small thermal station was established in Livingstone to serve a small section of the town.”  Today ZESCO is wholly

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Century Real Estate Rwanda – 2019

Custodian of Kigali property A year on since we last spoke with Managing Director Charles Haba, Century Real Estate has continued to make service-driven strides across Rwanda’s real estate market and beyond   Writer: Jonathan DybleProject Manager: Eddie Clinton  Rwanda. A small Central African nation spanning just 26,338 square kilometres, the country arguably struggles to compare to the continental powerhouses of Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt. This said, however, it would be wrong to underestimate a nation brimming with confidence and a GDP growth rate of 7.2 percent. Take Kigali’s real estate industry, for instance. A sector bolstered by government incentives, political stability, positive demographics and infrastructural modernisation, Cytonn Investments has revealed that Rwanda’s capital city recorded an annual urbanisation rate of 4.9 percent in the 12 months of 2018. An industry on the rise, such positivity is no better reflected than by the growing ambitions of Century Real Estate Rwanda, a leading Kigali-based company. “It’s been an amazing 10 years since this company was born,” explains Charles Haba, the company’s Managing Director. “We started out as a typical estate agency, formed off the back of a merger between two such businesses, but have since diversified to become a one-stop property shop, offering a broad range of professional services.” One year on from our last conversation with Haba, the company has remained progressive as ever, providing not only property selling, purchasing and rental solutions across both the residential and commercial markets, but equally service excellence in property development, management and consultancy. “Resultantly, we now stand as the leaders in the Rwandan market in terms of

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