Issue 05


The science of specialisation Surgitech is a leading supplier of innovative speciality surgical devices throughout South Africa. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Eddie Clinton Established in 1986, Surgitech is a leading supplier of innovative speciality surgical devices throughout South Africa. It has developed a strong customer base in the private hospital segment and has a reputation within the industry as being market leaders within a number of product offerings. "We are proactive and dynamic and more than just distribution," says Managing Director Paul Landman. "We regularly research the latest international surgical developments, enabling us to offer state-of-the-art products and we provide ongoing professional training, so that doctors and nurses can realise the full advantages of these world-class products and developments." S Surgitech shareholders include private equity giant RMB Corvest and BBBEE investment firm Shalamuka Capital. It is headquartered in Johannesburg and is represented in Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Garden Route and Bloemfontein. "The South African medical industry is quite challenging from the point of view that there are uncontrollable variables that we are faced with on a daily basis," says Landman when asked about how the business is performing. The big challenge is access to healthcare. First-rate medical care is available but for a price. It's estimated that only 7.5 million South Africans can afford private high-quality healthcare. The rest, nearly 42 million people or 84 percent of the population, depend on the South African public healthcare system. "Our business has two challenges: first, we are dependent on the private medical insurance companies that determine

Drake & Scull

Best in FM Facilities management is the cornerstone of operations of Drake & Scull, a Tsebo Outsourcing Group company with aspirations to conquer Africa. CEO John Wentzel tells us more about the challenges facing the FM industry. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Stuart Shirra Drake & Scull is one of the leading facilities management providers in Southern Africa and there are few that know more about the industry than its CEO Dr John Wentzel. He believes that the challenges facing the industry are huge and has identified areas such as energy management, environment sustainability, technology and complexity as amongst those that FM providers must tackle. "You have to ensure you are equipped for the future; make the most of the opportunities," he says. The first challenge? "I think in South Africa the challenges are not dissimilar to what we have seen internationally: globally clients are under financial pressure and companies in the FM industry are being asked to do more for less," Wentzel says. That is a constant. It will always be a challenge. "Cost pressures and the ability to do more for less. That is a big challenge," he stresses. The ramifications are huge. "It does have a knockon effect," Wentzel says. "If you think cost, one way of making big savings is energy management, which is one of the big challenges. There is heightened interest in energy savings and for any company it is a major value-add if you know what you are doing when it comes to energy management. You have to understand

Dip Civils

Driving operational excellence DipCivils (Pty) Ltd is a Civil Engineering contractor that specialises in the construction of roads and other services throughout South Africa. Procurement Manager Raymond Carter-Johnson tells us more. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Stuart Shirra DipCivils (Pty) Ltd is a Civil Engineering contractor that specialises in the construction of roads and other services throughout South Africa. It is in the unique position of being able to fulfil clients' needs on "comprehensive basis" by offering composite solutions involving not only the construction of services exclusively, but all the road and concrete works infrastructure as well. The company was formed in 1993 and to date has successfully completed over 1000 separate projects. Procurement Manager Raymond Carter-Johnson says that it is "constantly in the pursuit of excellence" in the production of high quality civil engineering works. "We aim to provide superior returns to all relevant stakeholders whilst providing an employment environment conducive to transformation and the development of talent and skills," he says. "Our core values of commitment, responsibility, respect and communication influence how we act day to day, and is not what we merely aspire to. Translating this into reality means that we are keenly focused on providing a quality product to our customers, and strive to exceed their expectations." DipCivils is registered with the CIDB as a 9CE Contractor and is a member of the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors. Its key strengths? "Definitely the commitment, loyalty, responsibility and respect of our employees and the fact that we are all focused on

Kuku Foods Kenya

Gavin J Bell, GM of Kuku Foods Kenya Limited, the KFC franchisee in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, tells us more about exciting expansion plans and how Kenyans have embraced the brand.


In it for life Africa Outlook talks to Agnes Chakonta, the Managing Director of Madison Life Insurance Company Zambia. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Eleanor Watson Agnes Chakonta, the Managing Director of Madison Life Insurance Company Zambia (ML ife), has a vision, a clear goal: enhance the penetration of life insurance across the country. She says less than five percent of Zambia's insurable public are insured, and that there is "real potential" for life insurance, which "improves the well being of the society at large." Insurers like MLife are doing all they can to build capacity and tap into this. "Life insurance provides funding for the long term development of our country," Chakonta says. "The market is growing all the time." MLife has a rather interesting history. Today, it is part of the LSA Group and performing well, but it was actually the first private sector composite insurance company to enter the liberalised insurance market in Zambia. Back then it was a subsidiary of the Meridien Group and it enjoyed early successes. That was until 1995, Chakonta says, and the liquidation of Meridien International Bank Ltd (MIBL). At that time management successfully bid to take-over the company. "The Meridien Group collapsed and Madison was acquired in a management buy-out," she says. "A new law proclaiming that no composite companies should operate in Zambia after December 2006 prompted Madison to split the existing company into two separate specialist companies earlier in 2006: Madison Life Insurance Company Zambia Limited and Madison General Insurance Company Zambia Limited. "The main


Continent of dreams Oragroup is expanding as demand for banking services in West and Central Africa grows. Ferdinand Kemoum Ngon, Managing Director of Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) and Deputy CEO of Oragroup, tells us more. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Donovan Smith The allure of Africa's banking market is that it is potentially vast and virtually untapped. Banking penetration among the continent's one billion inhabitants varies significantly from country to country, but swathes of the population in West Africa – Senegal and Tanzania, for instance – have virtually no access to banks. Togo-based regional commercial bank Oragroup, an ECP-backed banking group operating in West and Central Africa, is seizing this opportunity. The Oragroup operates under the brand Orabank and has in excess of US$1.5 billion million in assets under management. Oragroup was granted a license to open the first private-sector led banking unit in Benin in 1988. Since then, the bank has expanded its presence to Gabon, Chad, Mauritania and Guinea and elsewhere. Until June 2011, it was known as the Financial Bank Group. "We plan to make a giant step forward in the Francophone West Africa market," says Ferdinand Kemoum Ngon, Managing Director of ECP and Deputy CEO of Oragroup. "Last year we brought the Togolese Development Bank for 15 million euros and we are close to completing the acquisition of another regional bank, located in the eight member countries of the Economic and Monetary Union West Africa." Orabank has come a long way since ECP became involved, he says. "In 2009, when ECP took

Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa

Setting sights on Africa Globally, the telecoms industry has been facing rough trading conditions, but Africa seems to be growing from strength to strength. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager James Mitchell Ericsson, the world's biggest maker of mobile phone equipment, is playing a key role in Africa's development. The continent's telecommunications market continues to appeal, with coverage and affordable devices becoming less of an issue. The market is full of potential; African operators continue to intensify their efforts to monetise 3G and other data networks and LTE offerings are becoming mainstream, while rural connectivity continues to improve at pace and mobile banking takes off. Communication, remember, is a universal need. This, alongside evolving user demands and rapid developments in technology, is driving continued growth in the global telecommunications industry. Ericsson has struggled in recent years as customers have held back on investing in mobile phone networks. Globally, the telecoms industry has been facing rough trading conditions, but Africa seems to be growing from strength to strength. In a recent interview, Fredrik Jejdling, the new head of Ericsson in Sub-Saharan Africa, acknowledged Africa's allure and said data was going to be a huge part of Africa's mobile story. "I have worked in the Indian market as the regional head for the past three years and I have learnt that mobility is a prerequisite for inclusive growth. Mobile data and broadband will be far reaching voice revolution. The funny thing is that the same pattern in emerging markets as with developed markets with regards to internet usage. "Between

Bannon Limited

Strike it rich Brandon Munro, Managing Director of African Mining Capital, Joint Venture partner of Bannon Limited, tells Africa Outlook more about this emerging mineral resources exploration company with ambitious plans for the future. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Debbie Clark Out in the far north of Namibia near the country's border with Angola is an outcrop of rock that glistens green when the sun catches it. This outcrop contains copper, with the green lustre caused by the mineral malachite embedded in the rock and part of its wonder is that it has never been noticed before. To Brandon Munro, Managing Director of African Mining Capital, Joint Venture partner of Bannon Ltd, an emerging mineral resources exploration company which holds the licence for the area containing the outcrop and its surrounds, this discovery, named Okanihova, underlines just how exciting exploratory work in northern Namibia is. "We are in a genuinely virgin exploration territory and that always excites geologists because if something so big and green can go unnoticed, then really anything could be possible," he says. This is the Kaoko Project in northern Namibia, Bannon's Joint Venture with African Mining Capital, a company founded by Munro and his team. Apart from the Okanihova find, Bannon has also been quietly creating big news in the geological world in Namibia with another target, its "Dolomite Ore Formation" or simply DOF. While Munro knows intensive verification has to take place before the company can 'shout the news from the rooftops', the DOF and its accompanying geological data indicate that

Baobab Resources : High Hopes for Tete

Ben James, Managing Director of Baobab Resources, talks about the development of the Tete pig iron project in Mozambique, one of the most exciting development stories in southern Africa.

Namibia Diamond Trading Company

Beneficiation success: The pride of Namibia Africa Outlook profiles Namibian diamond beneficiation company NDTC and talks to Head of Sales and Marketing Brent Eiseb. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Debbie Clark While most State-owned enterprises can only dream of profitability, the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) has contributed more than N$450 million in dividends alone to the national coffers in the past five years. The diamond beneficiation company is a partnership between renowned world diamond producers De Beers and the Namibian Government and the medium to long term future of the industry is "positive" despite the challenges of the past year. "All in all, the 2012 calendar year was a cautionary, volatile and challenging year for the industry and NDTC mainly due to uncertainty caused by exchange rate volatility, the problems in the eurozone, slowing demand in China and India, and a general lack of liquidity in international markets. There was also a reduced demand for new rough from NDTC Sightholders because of the amount of midstream rough and polished stocks in the pipeline. Despite this we have performed well against the beneficiation objectives and returned significant shareholder value. Considering the long-term fundamentals, we remain positive about the Namibian diamond industry," says NDTC Head of Sales and Marketing Brent Eiseb. The firm has achieved several noteworthy milestones including the fact that all of its 95 staff are now Namibian, and the signing and commencement of three-year supply agreements with 12 Namibian cutting and polishing factories in early 2012. NDTC's primary objective is to facilitate the creation


Driving operational excellence Africa Outlook profiles South African phosphates firm Foskor, one of the world's largest producers of phosphate and phosphoric acid. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Debbie Clark Phosphates firm Foskor needs little introduction. The South African phosphate mining and processing group, whose majority shareholder is the Industrial Development Corporation, famously gave its name to foskorite and it is the only vertically integrated phosphate producer in the country. The Midrand-headquartered company also participates in the beneficiation of phosphate rock into phosphoric acid and phosphate based granular fertilisers, which are sold around the world. It was set up by the IDC in a bid to make South Africa independent from phosphate imports and operates from two main locations, the Mining Division in Phalaborwa in the Northern Province (Limpopo), and the Acid Division in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal. "Foskor is a proudly South African producer of phosphates and phosphoric acid with international exposure," the company's website says. "Foskor unlocks shareholder value through the profitable, responsible and sustainable beneficiation of phosphate rock into either phosphoric acid or phosphate based granular fertilisers sold globally. "Foskor is the only vertically integrated phosphate producer in South Africa," it adds. "From phosphate-bearing ores, the operations in Phalaborwa mine and process phosphate rock concentrate, which is crucial for stimulating and raising crop yields. The Richards Bay plant manufactures sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid and phosphate based granular fertilisers (MAP and DAP) by using phosphate rock as a raw material. About 84 percent of Phalaborwa's phosphate rock concentrate is railed to Richards Bay and the rest

Kudumane Manganese Resources : A New Breed of Mine

Africa Outlook takes a look at the opening up of South Africa’s Kalahari manganese fields and Kudumane Manganese Resources’ R1.5 billion manganese mine.

Exxaro Resources

More than black gold Exxaro is one of South Africa's largest diversified resources groups with interests in coal, mineral sands, ferrous and energy markets: Africa Outlook talks to Ernst Venter, Executive Head - Growth, Technology & Services, who says optimisation measures are paying off and that we should expect a bright future for the firm. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Debbie Clark PwC's latest report on mining trends – the 10th review of global trends in the mining industry by the multinational professional services firm – has revealed that the industry has entered a period where there is a "crisis in confidence" about cost controls, delivery and resource nationalisation. In a survey of the world's top 40 mining companies, PwC said the net profits fell 49 percent last year, while market capitalisation had been severely battered in the first four months of this year. "2013 will be all about asset rationalisation and deal activity will be driven mainly by senior miners looking to divest non-core assets and looking to de-risk projects through joint ventures," Tim Goldsmith, PwC's global mining leader, said, adding, "Given how far the mining industry has fallen in the first four months of this year, it will be challenging for the industry to fully rebound in the remainder of 2013." PwC also warned that companies with financial constraints have been "forced to get creative" when it comes to raising money to fund acquisitions or advance projects. "We're very aware of what we need to do as a business to remain sustainable into the

Lucara Diamond Corporation : A Diamond in the Rough

Southern Africa-focused gem producer Lucara Diamond Corporation has enjoyed a spectacularly good start to the year, its first special tender of large and exceptional diamonds sold for revenues totalling $24 million.