Issue 09


A winning taste for life Symrise is a global supplier of fragrances, flavorings, cosmetic active ingredients, raw materials and functional ingredients and its clients include manufacturers of perfumes, cosmetics, food and beverages, the pharmaceutical industry and producers of nutritional supplements. Africa Outlook speaks to Ibrahim Wagdy about how Symrise has taken a hold in Egypt and beyond and its plans for the African continent. Writer Hannah Eiseman-Reynard Project manager James Mitchell Symrise creates flavourings and fragrances for cosmetics, toiletries, sweets, savoury foods and beverages. Its clients include manufacturers of perfumes, cosmetics, food and beverages, the pharmaceutical industry and producers of nutritional supplements and it is among the top four companies in the global flavors and fragrances market. Of course, the firm is headquartered in Holzminden, Germany, but the group is represented in over 35 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the U.S. and Latin America. "It takes on average 45 aroma chemicals to make a flavour so it takes a long time to train those people to develop a solid knowledge of hundreds of raw materials to be able to create different flavours," says Symrise Egypt's Managing Director Ibrahim Wagdy, talking about how Symrise trains technologists to work in flavours and fragrances. It sounds like a lot of fun – how do we get in? "We prefer to bring fresh people in than to headhunt," he replies. "We operate in quite a niche area and we select young, fresh graduates who show scientific curiosity and have a can-do attitude. We need them to be

Crystal Paper Group

Full flush Crystal Paper is recognised as being the leading independent tissue paper manufacturer in Africa. Writer Chris Farnell Project manager Tom Cullum Tissue paper is big business. That box of tissues that you keep on standby for break-ups, weepy movies and nasty colds might look pretty unassuming, but there is a huge industry in place to make sure that your nose never goes un-blown. It's where the Crystal Paper Group comes comes in. However, it's a company with relatively humble beginnings as managing director Rafik Dosani explains. "Crystal Paper started in 1986 as one of the smallest tissue manufacturers in South Africa. However, by 2006 we had become the largest independent tissue manufacturer in the country." Since its birth, the company that started out as Crystal Paper Mills Pty Ltd has seen growth upon growth. It is now a nationally respected manufacturer of tissue, as well as having an extensive recycling programme, with a huge proportion of its new products being made from recycled paper. As the company has gone on to receive widespread recognition in South Africa and beyond, it has achieved a growing footprint in the national and international market, thanks party to a carefully laid out and well established manufacturing and sales infrastructure. Indeed, at the time of writing, the Crystal Paper Group is not only the largest privately owned tissue manufacturer in South Africa but the third largest such company across the entire continent of Africa. But this growth didn't happen overnight. The Crystal Paper Group is the living embodiment of

Unilever Food Solutions : Growth is on the Menu

Unilever Food Solutions helps chefs all over the world “serve tasty, wholesome meals that keep guests coming back for more.”

Pep Clothing : The Fabric of a Community

For more than 40 years, Pep Clothing, the manufacturing division of Pepkor, has been clothing South Africa. the company has been dedicated to providing every variety of high quality apparel.

Kansai Plascon : African Ambitions

Kansai Plascon is a company with expansion on its mind. Already the premier paint company in South Africa, Plascon was purchased by Japanese company Kansai in 2012.

Saab Grintek Defence

Excelling on a global stage Saab Grintek Defence is a South African company with a global reputation. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Tom Cullum The common assumption, particularly in the defence and security industry, is that Africa is not strong when it comes to technology and innovation. Saab Grintek Defence has turned this claim on its head. According to CEO Magnus Lewis-Olsson, South African-made electronic warfare technology has and continues to make its mark in the international military arena, with home-grown self-protection systems being used by numerous defence forces around the world. An impressive range of defence forces, he says, use electronic warfare technology made and invented in South Africa. Amazingly, more than 90 percent of the systems that are being designed and produced by Saab Grintek Defence are being sold on export outside the continent. Unsurprisingly this has been celebrated by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) who named Saab Grintek Defence Best South African Export Company at the inaugural South African Premier Business Awards earlier this year. Hosted by the dti, Proudly South African and Brand South Africa, the award aims to recognise all export industry sectors from services to manufacturing and encourage other South African companies to participate in international business development and markets. It also recognises South African businesses which invest in both human and technical resources in various projects or activities, produce quality products and services, and remain domestically and internationally competitive. "We are a proudly South African company," Lewis-Olsson says. "And the fact our products are globally exported represents

Air Uganda

The wings of East Africa Meridiana Africa Airlines Limited, trading as Air Uganda, is a privately owned airline founded in 2007 in Uganda. Writer Hannah Eisman-Reynard Project manager James Mitchell Air Uganda was established in 2007 as a quality regional airline after more than 20 years without a national carrier in Uganda. In the six years since, the airline has grown from serving approximately 80,000 passengers a year to 170,000 passengers per year and runs on the basis of three pillars of high service and operating standards, reliability and punctuality. "How has the past year been for business for Air Uganda?" asks Cornwell Muleya, CEO of Air Uganda. "We have been growing steadily over the past year and have consolidated our routes across East Africa. The Ugandan air transportation market has been growing at approximately 15 percent every year now for six years in a row. Incidentally, we turned six years old today." Air Uganda, otherwise known as "the wings of East Africa", runs a two class product on board: Crane Class, which is its premium products, and an economy class. The airline also runs a frequent flyer programme called the Celestair Club. "We maintain a small, homogenous fleet," continues Mr Muleya. "This allows us to standardise our product on board and minimise operating costs. We were founded in 2007 in response to the need of Uganda to have an airline operating out of Entebbe airport. From here we connect passengers to all major cities in East Africa and in particular to Nairobi, Bujumbura, Mombasa, Juba,

Elite Clearing & Forwarding : A Clear Winner

Elite Clearing & Forwarding (Pty) Ltd is an expert international shipping company offering comprehensive logistics & freight solutions.

Helios Towers Nigeria

Towering above the rest Helios Towers Nigeria provides fully-managed tower sites for the telecoms industry in Nigeria. We spoke to CEO Inder Bajaj about keeping Nigeria connected. Writer Hannah Eiseman-Reynard Project manager Donovan Smith Helios Towers Nigeria puts up and maintains telecoms towers for the telecoms industry, providing an impressive guaranteed 99.99 percent uptime to clients, despite an average of just two hours grid time per day. Founded in 2006, this Nigeria-based company builds, manages and rents tower infrastructure structures to mobile network operators (MNOs) and internet service providers (ISPs) to host their antennas, base stations and transmission equipment. Helios Towers Nigeria's management of towers includes security, the supply of power, batteries, air-conditioned equipment shelters and rectifiers, as well as on-site support in the event of any problems to ensure the guaranteed uptime. Clients – telecoms companies – use the towers on a rental and lease basis and Helios Towers Nigeria has achieved an impressive average 2.8 clients per tower referred to as Colo Ratio. "Essentially we are a telecoms infrastructure company and we invest in and manage our own infrastructure," says CEO Inder Bajaj. Helios Towers Nigeria commenced operations in 2006 and is the oldest and largest independent tower company in the country. Key customers include global system for mobile (GSM) companies MTN, Airtel and EMTS. The sector is growing and moving fast. "Nigeria has around 25,000 towers and the number is growing by three to four thousand every year," Mr Bajaj says. Helios Towers Nigeria owns and runs around 1,300 and is putting up

Castrol South Africa : Running Smoothly

Castrol South Africa has been making oil since men have been making cars, using its experience to create a top of the line product.


South Africa's National oil company PetroSA continues "to perform admirably", achieving a R593 million net profit for the 2012/13 financial year. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Sheridan Halls PetroSA is South Africa's national oil company and it plays what its website describes as an "instrumental role in the country's transformation through a range of activities that span the petroleum chain". It is a giant. The question is where to start. Of course, it heavily involved in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas, selling petrochemical products to South Africa's major oil companies and exporting petrochemical products to the international markets. In 1992 it famously started operating the world's first gas-to-liquid (GTL) refinery at Mossel Bay – and that refinery remains the third largest among the five now operating across the globe. According to its website, PetroSA's core business activities are "the exploration and production of oil and natural gas"; "the participation in, and acquisition of, local as well as international upstream petroleum ventures"; "the production of synthetic fuels from off shore gas at one of the world's largest GTL refineries"; "the development of domestic refining and liquid fuels logistical infrastructure"; and "the marketing and trading of oil and petrochemicals". "PetroSA operates the FA-EM, South Coast gas fields as well as the Oribi and Oryx oil fields. The producing gas fields provide feedstock to the Mossel Bay GTL refinery," the company says. "Outside South Africa, the company has exploration acreage in Equatorial Guinea and Namibia. "PetroSA's GTL refinery produces ultra-clean, low-sulphur, low-aromatic synthetic fuels and


Maintaining a niche focus Altrisk is a specialist long term risk product provider whose reputation has been built around superior underwriting expertise. Writer Chris Farnell Project manager Sheridan Halls In life the unexpected happens and while you can't protect yourself against every potential hazard, you can take sensible measures to minimise the financial impact of the unexpected. This is why long term risk cover is important to help safeguard you and your family's financial security. But what happens if you struggle to get insurance because you have a chronic health condition or dangerous hobby? That's how Altrisk, an operating division of the Hollard Life Assurance company came about. Altrisk was the brainchild of two individuals, an underwriter, Dalene Allen, and Nick Stern, an actuary. They started out with the knowledge that there was a large amount of life insurance business being turned away as uninsurable and they believed that with the right approach anything is insurable at the right price, terms and conditions. With the backing of Hollard and Hannover Re they created the business that became Altrisk. In just 14 years the company has grown to hold a seven percent market share in a tough industry with many competitors. Altrisk has over 177,000 policies in force, with R226 billion sum insured. They started out as a niche underwriter and quickly gained a reputation for insuring impaired lives – the ones the industry traditionally had no appetite for. They created a framework where they were able to apply specialist underwriting and policy structuring to people who

GA Insurance

Poised for growth GAInsurance is a company poised for growth says CEO Vijay Srivastava. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Sheridan Halls The Kenyan insurance industry recorded 15 percent growth in the fi rst half of this year, with premiums growing to $744.7 million from $647 million in the same period last year. But, despite the growth, with an increasing number of people buying insurance, penetration is low and the result is that competition in the industry is fierce as licensed companies compete for a limited market. Kenyans' uptake of insurance cover, both at corporate and personal level, remains predominantly in the motor, fire industrial and personal accident (mainly group medical cover) classes. "The main issue affecting us and the industry in general is the unhealthy competition and lack of self-discipline among players," says Vijay Srivastava, CEO & Principal Officer, at GA Insurance. "The companies are too many for a relatively smaller market. The penetration and awareness of insurance is poor. The imbalance between a regulated and free market is a challenge. The crime related claims are always on rise besides the motor and Employers Liability legal claims and the industry is struggling to reduce the fraudulent claims especially in the motor classes." GA Insurance is one of the oldest insurance companies operating in Kenya, underwriting all classes of general insurance, including medical and travel. Formerly known as General accident Insurance Company of Kenya Limited, having its parentage from General Accident Insurance UK, it was incorporated as a Kenyan insurance company in 1979. In 2006, the company

Moi Teaching & Referral Hospital

Caring for Kenya Africa Outlook speaks to Dr John Kibosia of Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital about what it's like operating Kenya's second largest referral hospital. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Eddie Clinton The Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital located in Eldoret, Kenya - home to Kenya's fourth international airport - has nearly 100 years of history having been founded in 1917 as the Native Cottage hospital with a bed capacity of 60. Today, it has a bed capacity of 550 serving the larger Western and Nyanza provinces in Kenya and its surrounding areas of Kapenguria, Kapsowar, Kitale, Nandi, Kapsabet and Tambach, as well as offering medical education through its association with Moi University, a major development. The hospital has certainly moved with the times – and we're happy to bring you its story because, as it has evolved, it has helped to transform healthcare in Kenya. Let's go back to 1990 when its association with Moi University began. "Moi has been at the forefront of training. The facility was upgraded to a hospital to be a training facility for the medical students," explains Dr John Kibosia of Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. "The link has been good because so far whenever Moi Hospital University is mentioned – it is an honour. It is the university which has made the hospital." The upgrade did not come without its own challenges and, as the centre upgraded and grew, the patient numbers grew even more rapidly. "Previously referral cases had to be taken to Kenyatta national Hospital but

Mantrac Nigeria

Powering up Mantrac Nigeria distributes and supports the full range of Caterpillar construction machines, power systems and material handling equipment. We talk to strategic planning and marketing manager James Agama. Writer Chris Farnell Project manager James Mitchell The Mantrac Group is the sole dealer of Caterpillar products across the African continent and Mantrac Nigeria is their Nigerian division. This unique market position has meant that for over 60 years the company has been closely involved with the vast majority of major construction jobs across Nigeria. Providing sales and rentals of Caterpillar products, as well as maintenance, servicing and onsite training for the same, Mantrac Nigeria has fortified a dominant position in the construction and earthmoving markets, and it is proving increasingly essential for the power generation needs of the oil and gas sector. It's hardly a surprise that the last decade has seen a 300 percent rate of growth as the company has expanded to ten separate branches around the country. And Mantrac Nigeria is needed now more than ever, as Nigeria is in need of a huge overall to its infrastructure. "There is a heavy, heavy infrastructure deficit in our country with regards to power and construction," says Mantrac Nigeria's strategic planning and marketing manager James Agama. Poor infrastructure naturally makes business more difficult. "Like most multinationals in our country, we find the infrastructure can be very challenging," Agama admits. "The operating cost is high. Also there are limits on the resources which are available." Mantrac Nigeria has placed itself as a crucial resource in

Concord Cranes

Reaching new heights In 2012 Investec facilitated a transaction whereby Concord Cranes Ltd became the holding company of Anglo-V3 Crane Hire and Elcon Crane Hire. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Stuart Shirra Successful couples don't just make promises to each other; they commit. And commit to each other is exactly what Elcon Crane Hire and Anglo-V3 have done. In 2012 Investec facilitated a transaction whereby Concord Cranes Ltd became the holding company of both entities. It was a watershed moment. "That's right it was a big development," says David Wilkinson, Elcon's founder. "It all started really back in 2011 when we released an equity stake in the Elcon Group to Investec and this was followed in December 2012 with a merger between Elcon Crane Hire and Anglo-V3. We weren't looking for a partner but negotiations took place whereby Investec, who had already decided to invest in Anglo-V3, wanted us to join and become part of a much larger network and of course we've always looked for new avenues to develop our business interest over a larger African footprint. We soon realised the future of the crane industry might be to have a bigger footprint in South Africa. It is still our intention today." Both Elcon and Anglo-V3 are longstanding participants in the South African crane hire industry and both have strong family histories. They continue to trade under their individual branding and livery and are managed by the same management teams – Herman van Staden leading Anglo-V3 and David heading up operations at Elcon. "Concord Cranes

Greenbelt Fertilisers

GBF eyes African expansion Greenbelt Fertilisers, a 100 percent subsidiary of CHC Commodities, plays a major role in Africa's farming community. We talk to managing director Robert Coventry. Writer Hannah Eiseman-Reynard Project manager James Mitchell Greenbelt Fertilisers (GBF) was incorporated in 2004 and founded in Zambia but over the years has expanded into Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. The firm has what managing director Robert Coventry describes as "a proud record" in giving farmers "a higher yield with minimal costs" and he says that while it has traditionally focused on the commercial sector, "we are now also targeting smaller farms". With a small scale farmer, they'll typically use one fertiliser for any crop and in any soil. The potential in this sector is high. "We identified a need for more competition and better quality fertilisers," says Coventry. GBF's formula seems to work and in just nine years it has become the biggest supplier to the commercial sector in Zambia. To grow that fast it helps to have strong commercial links. Greenbelt Fertilisers are a 100 percent owned subsidiary of CHC Commodities Ltd., a firm which specialises in agricultural products such as maize, wheat, sorghum, malting barley and soya beans. It has links to major farming enterprises, as well as strong relationships in the logistics side of the business – handling and shipping large quantities of food products on behalf of traders and relief agencies. The positioning is strong, good commercial ties and the product is of a high quality – a strong start for any business, says