Issue 10

John Holt Nigeria

John Holt bounces back Nigerian conglomerate John Holt has had a difficult few years, falling on hard times. This isn't a company that gives up easily however and through hard work it has returned to profitability. We talk to Executive Deputy Chairman David Parmley. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Tom Cullum John Holt is a key player in various sectors of the Nigerian economy, offering quality products and services through a network of branches nationwide. And it is a company on the rebound, having undergone a major restructuring exercise. Indeed John Holt, a household name, has been through the mire in recent years. Allegations of fraud and a turbulent business environment negatively impacted on the fortunes of the company, with it falling on hard times. "We've just had our year end in September," says Executive Deputy Chairman David Parmley. "I'm happy to say that we've returned to profitability after what has been an extremely difficult period. We've repositioned the company to meet various challenges and obviously had some problematic times in recent years where as a result of various malpractices we made a huge loss. We've managed to isolate and remove problems and we have focused on transforming our business." As part of that John Holt moved into a new head office. "Has it been a good move? Yes," says Mr Parmley. "We had a huge site which was getting on for ten acres and it really was inconsistent with the size of the business. So we moved to a new office and a new operational

New Horizon Printing Press

Prints Charming Africa Outlook talks to Shawky Hemeidan, the Managing Director of Lusaka-based New Horizon Printing Press. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Ben Wigger Shawky Hemeidan is one of the most passionate and interesting Managing Directors/ entrepreneurs I've ever talked to (and over the many years I've talked to a lot). He's a confident, positive thinker who believes heavily in the projects and things he does – and he isn't the sort of man you can keep in a box. These traits have helped to create one of Zambia's leading printers, New Horizon Printing Press (NHPP). "We founded the business in February 2000," says Hemeidan. "I'm the Managing Director and major shareholder of NHPP and we came into the country and started commercial printing such as catalogues, magazines, brochures and books and since then we have been re-investing into this industry in various diversified sectors." A focus on customer requirements and a flexible approach has stood the company in good stead. "We are not afraid to invest - we ventured into new flexi printing machines and we diversified into packaging such as lightweight boxes," Hemeidan continues. "For the past 14 years we have been re-investing and growing in the market whilst trying to satisfy the market needs and minimise the importation of printed materials. We've also invested in digital and large format printing as well as t-shirt screen printing. It's the latest equipment and state-of-the-art technology." Of course, it's no secret that top talent makes businesses go. Whether you are a start-up business or a multinational

Resolution Insurance

Happy Birthday! Resolution Insurance recently celebrated its tenth anniversary and has eyes on expansion. Writer Rebecca Wigmore Project manager Sheridan Halls Last year marked a period of exciting change for Kenya's Resolution Insurance. Formerly known as Resolution Health East Africa, the company changed its name to reflect its change in status: in February 2013, the country's Insurance Regulatory authority (IRA) gave the go-ahead for Resolution to become a general insurance provider. This means that Resolution is now able to underwrite, retain risks, make investments and better safeguard policy obligations. The company's focus remains on health insurance although there are significant plans to diversify the insurance products offered to customers across the region. this isn't the first time that the company has been seen to lead the way with health insurance – it celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2013 and, in 2003, was the first firm to be registered as a medical insurance provider. Serving the working man At present Resolution serves 60,000 active members, most of whom are members of Kenya's burgeoning middle class. The company also works with small- to medium-sized employers in order to provide healthcare packages for individuals, groups and corporate entities. Resolution's approach allows it to reap the benefits of growing businesses. It boasts a strong network of medical service providers including hospitals, clinics and pharmacies who are based across East Africa. Prospective patients can use their Resolution card to receive help with treatment from the list of practitioners published on Resolution's website – as Resolution deals exclusively with these medical professionals,


A David & Goliath Story Bridge's core business is retail unsecured lending. The company was established in 1994 in order to provide all South Africans with the right of access to credit. Writer Rebecca Wigmore Project manager Sheridan Halls When talking about the future of Bridge, its Chief Growth Officer Neels Grobler is buoyant: "There's only one way and that's upwards." His optimism may prove to be well-founded. The company has a footprint of over 120 Bridge Loans branches in South Africa where its core business is retail unsecured lending to the growing South African middle class. A general overall upturn in the country's economy and an unprecedented investment in current infrastructure have allowed Bridge to provide the South African market with up to R150 million worth of unsecure credit per month. As Grobler explains, "We do not lend to the corporate space currently. We are absolute retail players." Indeed, integral to Bridge's success is its "focus on small, short-term unsecured credit," that runs around six months on average. Bridge is also committed to technological innovation. "We are a technology-driven company. Our whole credit risk scoring mechanism makes sure we give correct credit of the correct amount to the correct people. All these decisions are driven through technology," Grobler says. And the firm is steered by a dynamic executive team consisting of CEO, Emile Aldum, Clifford Coombe (Chief Legal Risk & Compliance Officer), Conrad Erasmus (Chief Operating Officer), Chief Financial Officer Michael de Klerk and of course, Grobler himself. Despite a sense of general optimism, the

B&Q Dredging

Champion of Nigeria Nestoil is one of Nigeria's leading indigenous oil and gas companies Along with its sister companies Hammakopp, Gobowen, Energyworks Technology Limited, B&Q Dredging Limited, Century Power Generation Limited and Time Power Global Dynamics Limited, it is a pioneer of local content in Nigeria's oil and gas sector and an emerging force in the local power industry. Africa Outlook talks to Austine Agomuoh, Nestoil's General Manager, Projects, about the firm's dredging arm B&Q Dredging. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Arron Rampling When B&Q Dredging, a subsidiary of Nigerian oil and gas giant Nestoil, was founded in 1996 it had a rather ambitious goal – to become the first real indigenous Nigerian dredging company. It soon delivered, says Austine Agomuoh, Nestoil's General Manager, Projects. "In 1996 the company was re-organised as a full-fledged oil servicing company providing professional engineering services, dredging, flood and erosion control, shoreline protection and consolidation, canalisation urban renewal and reclamation services to Nigerian energy, oil and gas industries," he says. "B&Q Dredging has a total of seven dredgers. Out of this number, four came from a company that was divesting and the other three were acquired from Manufactures overseas. Among the fleet is the Enesto dredger, one of the biggest dredgers you can get around in Africa. That was acquired in 2007 specifically to address the requirements of one of the projects that Nestoil was doing at the time – the 97 kilometre Nembe Creek Cawthone Trunkline (NCTL) project awarded by Shell." This is a good point at which to take

Foveros Mining & Construction

When The Earth Moves The current agricultural and mining policies that the Zambian Government has in place will see earth moving and plant hire firm Foveros Mining expand says CEO John Samaras. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Arron Rampling This is a unique moment in time for Africa and there are a lot of exciting things happening across the continent. It is becoming less volatile, creating a better environment for business development, and there is far greater stability. What's more, six of the top ten fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa. There is a rapidly growing middle class. And urbanisation is increasing faster than the infrastructure is able to keep up with. These are undeniable facts that bode well for "the right players," says John Samaras, CEO of Zambian earthmoving and plant hire firm Foveros Mining. Naturally, he is looking to tap into the opportunities as he sees them. "Zambia is Africa's top copper producer and has enjoyed a spectacular boom; it has been great for business." He has a point. The main stakeholders in Zambia's mining industry – the likes of First Quantum Minerals, Vedanta Resources, Barrick Gold, and Vale – are either scaling up investment or expanding production capacity and there is a reported $6 billion coming into the country's mining sector. The Government says it plans to increase copper production, which dropped to 824,976 tons last year from 881,108 tons the previous year, to about 1.5 million tons in the next five years. "There are obviously opportunities for us in

Kasese Nail & Wood Industry

Hitting The Nail On The Head Kasese Nail and Wood Industry (KNWI) is graded as a "Grade One" company for infrastructure work and building by the Ugandan government. Africa Outlook talks to Director Mark Nsubuga and learns more about the firm's fascinating story. Writer Chris Farnell Project manager Arron Rampling Infrastructure is a big deal in Uganda and the companies working to improve it have a big task ahead of them. But one such business started out with far more humble beginnings. Mark Nsubuga, Director of Kasese Nail and Wood Industry, explains its story. "We were incorporated in 1982, as manufacturers making wire nails and carpentry and joinery products," he says. However, it wasn't long before they realised that the company would need to set its sights higher. "We had to diversify because that line of business wasn't all that lucrative," Mark admits. "We moved into construction and today we mainly work on civil engineering products such as roads, bridges and buildings." The move turned out to be a wise one, and from there Kasese Nail and Wood Industry, or KNWI as it's often known, has gone from strength to strength. "We've grown from a relatively small company ten years ago to a medium sized construction firm by Ugandan standards," Mark says. "And we're looking to expand over the next few years. We have a plan and are looking forward to seeing it put into action to get our business where we want to be. It's 100 percent Ugandan owned. We're operating exclusively in Uganda at

Harlequin International Ghana

Engineering Solutions Harlequin International Ghana Limited is the market leader of general mechanical and hydraulic engineering services in Ghana. Writer Chris Farnell Project manager Arron Rampling Since its formation in 1998 Harlequin International Ghana Ltd (HIT) has become the leading general, mechanic and hydraulic engineering company for the mining, oil and gas, agriculture and ports and harbours markets in Ghana. But to understand how the company did it, you'll need to take a closer look. It provides a range of services and products ranging from fabrication to hydraulics, engineering to brush plating, and sand blasting to the sales and maintenance of Linde's leading material handling equipment, high pressure hydraulic systems and even hand tools. Name's you'll find in its stock include Krost Shelving, Hyva, Linde, Toolquip, Enerpac, Gedore, Rigid and Parker Hydraulics. Harlequin itself has become the go-to name for a host of industries, and it has achieved this with an unprecedented range of capabilities within the engineering market, a committed, experienced and reliable workforce, and a history of adding value to its hydraulic, electrical and mechanical services and products. However, for HIT, it is not just about having the right talent and resource. It is also about knowing how to apply them and the company will never take a job on unless it can guarantee it will complete the project to complete customer satisfaction. The company's experience completing quality turn-key projects means that it knows exactly where and when it can provide the best products at the height of value for money. Today, the business

G Ampofo & Partners

Contributions To The Ghanaian Construction Industry Ghanaian construction consultancy firm G. Ampofo & Partners was established in 1978 and it is well versed in managing countrywide projects. Africa Outlook talks to Managing Director Sam Asare. Writer Rebecca Wigmore Project manager Arron Rampling For almost 40 years, G. Ampofo & Partners has been building a distinguished reputation as one of the most trusted construction management firms in Africa. Based in Ghana, the company offers a wide variety of services including quantity surveying, management and construction cost consultancy, and project management. GA&P, as it is often abbreviated, has worked on a number of countrywide projects including the design and supervision of classroom pavilions and technical auditing of the community secondary school project for the Ministry of Education and it has provided project management services to International companies such as AP Moeller Maersk Group. These include the Maersk Office Project, which is now the head office of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, and the recently commissioned 36,000square metre Inland Container Terminal in Tema for APM Terminals. "We raise our construction standards to match international practice and work to maintain high ethical standards," Sam Asare, the company's Managing Director explains. In addition to efforts to keep improving services, GA&P has worked hard to diversify and provide every service a client might need under one roof so that the complex process of construction management is kept as simple and streamlined as possible. "The founder of the firm and I set up a consortium that would provide that one-stop shop. We

Unichem Ghana

Health for All Unichem Ghana is a subsidiary of Unichem Group which markets and distributes pharmaceutical products worldwide. Writer Chris Farnell Project manager Eddie Clinton Unichem Ghana is a company with a vision and that vision is to provide healthcare for everyone. As a leading pharmaceutical firm with a globally recognised presence, Unichem is dedicated to serving Sub-Saharan Africa with the highest quality products to improve wellbeing, life expectantly and quality of life at prices that are widely affordable. It is a goal that Unichem Ghana is meeting not by remaining static but by growing and changing constantly to maintain its position at the forefront of healthcare innovation and development. It takes into account people's physical, emotional, social, vocational and even spiritual wellbeing to create a new definition of the phrase "healthy lifestyle". At the Ghanaian headquarters of the much larger Unichem Group, the firm has been responsible for the distribution and marketing of the highest quality ethical pharmaceutical specialities, including surgical products, hospital disposables and generics. Through Unichem, Ghanaian healthcare professionals have access to such leading global brands as 3M, LUEX, Pfizer, Sanofi Aventis, Wallace, and Walter Ritter, paving the way for safe and affordable healthcare across West Africa. For over 50 years the firm has led pharmaceutical distribution in Ghana and the region, building capabilities and making efficient use of resources to set up Unichem Industries Ltd., a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant producing tables, capsules and dry powder that has become a benchmark for the rest of the African pharmaceutical market. Even now it is

Paccon Logistics

Proudly South African Paccon Logistics is a multi-disciplinary freight management company operating from Durban in South Africa. Writer Rebecca Wigmore Project manager Stuart Shirra It's an exciting time to work at Paccon Logistics. In 2013 the founding directors of this South African freight company - Andrew Wallace and Steve Gillespie - successfully purchased the minority interest that was formerly held by Paccon Logistics Australia. This means that the company is now, in its founders' own words, "100 percent proudly South African". It is by no means the new kid on the block, however. Paccon Logistics, which prides itself on its local knowledge and on-the-ground experience, was established in the early 2000s and next year will celebrate ten years in business. This near-decade of experience means that Paccon has built a rock-solid reputation, with a noted specialty in heavy industrial and project logistics. To this end, the firm doesn't own its own fleet but instead manage and outsource to much-trusted third party sub contractors from cargo surveyors to abnormal transport operators and border agents. Paccon's core activities centre on heavy industry sectors in South Africa and its neighbouring countries Botswana, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Going it alone It seems appropriate that 2014 will herald a new era of independence for Paccon, as the company was built in the spirit of entrepreneurship and regional know-how. However it wasn't always so easy as Andrew Wallace explains: "After around 20 years of working for corporates I became disenchanted with office politics and decided to open my

Imperial Logistics

Imperial Targets African Growth Imperial Logistics has been reinvented and is targeting African growth. Chief Integration Office Cobus Rossouw talks to Ian Armitage Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Stuart Shirra Supply chain and logistics group Imperial Logistics has reinvented itself and, says chief integration officer Cobus Rossouw, is now better able to offer clients "customised solutions that boost their competitiveness". "We decided we wanted to take a step forward and that is by focusing on what we can do for our clients," he explains. "Imperial Logistics offers more than just logistics and our capabilities extend into things procurement and brand activation." Rossouw sees Imperial as a growth enabler. "We are an extension of our own customers' business, building their brands alongside our own business. Our own differentiators lie in a combination of an extensive resource base and world class integrative processes and technology. We apply our supply chain management skills to manage operational processes across end-to-end value chains on behalf of our clients." To make sure it delivers on this promise Imperial has been streamlining and simplifying its business, honing in on its capabilities. One such consolidation merged group companies BROCO and Cargo Africa into Imperial Managed Logistics. "We also created Imperial Retail Logistics, previously known as TFD Network Africa, by incorporating contracts from other Imperial businesses," Rossouw adds. These businesses specialise in enhancing customers' logistics and supply chain network capabilities. "We can take your product from manufacturing to the point of purchase – that is what we can do," says Rossouw. "We are the only

Berry & Donaldson

Half A Century Of Logistics Berry & Donaldson is one of South Africa's largest private forwarding and clearing agents. Writer Chris Farnell Project manager Stuart Shirra This is a year of 50th anniversaries. It's the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, of the assassination of JFK, the Beatles debut album and, according to the poet Philip Larkin, sex. One of the auspicious 50th anniversaries being celebrated in 2013 is that of global supply chain and logistics company Berry & Donaldson. Berry & Donaldson is one of the largest forwarding and clearing firms in the whole of South Africa and it's not surprising the company is using this as an excuse for both celebration and reflection. "We've had a bit of a media splash," explains Stuart Friedmann, Berry & Donaldson's Managing Director. "We had an internal party and a conference for some of our clients. The industry has changed dramatically over the last 50 years, becoming more technologically integrated. We've acquired a new software system called CargoWise and we have a huge forwarding network we've forged over the last 50 years. Our overseas agents are owner managed, picked for their size and ability to work within their own regions. We have our own fleet of vehicles and air freight warehouses, and with our office in Hong Kong our international presence is opening up." While Friedmann is firmly focused on the future of the company he's also extremely proud of how well established the company is already. "We're a family company that started off as a clearing house and

Airtel Sierra Leone : Connecting Sierra Leone

We talk to the Managing Director of Airtel Sierra Leone, who tells us more about the telecoms giant and meeting demand for data services.