Stainless steel fabricator and welding services firm Hlakani Engineering aims to provide end-to-end services for specialist construction and industrial projects after it acquired Middleburg-based structural steel company F&K Engineering, says Hlakani director Gerhard Holtshauzen.
The acquisition affords the combined company an opportunity to serve as a strategic technical implementation partner for large engineering and construction firms.
F&K Engineering has a large machine shop in Middleburg that enables Hlakani to offer turnkey solutions, including fabrication, precision machining, welding and installation. The facility also has a large Mimax milling machine, one of only three in the country.
“F&K Engineering has about 92 red-seal-certified steel artisans and it has been known over the past 29 years for high-quality fabrication. The combination of skilled fabricators and artisans means that we can provide complete technical services for large project management and engineering firms.”
The companies are known among industrial companies in Mpumalanga for high-quality work and project execution, with both companies serving the coal, smelting and electricity industries, he adds.
“The focus on quality by both companies now stands us in good stead because they are recognised by our clients, and we can broaden the scope of services we offer to established clients and pursue new opportunities.”
Hlakani was granted a loan from the Industrial Development Corporation for the takeover of the larger F&K Engineering and, while declining to reveal the size of the loan, Holtshauzen highlights that the main purpose was to facilitate sustainable employment creation in South Africa’s industrial sector.
Started in 2009, Hlakani has achieved its success by focusing on the internal development of expert welders and artisans. Hlakani is ISO 3834-certified and Holtshauzen emphasises that quality is the determining factor for an industrial services firm’s sustainability and growth prospects.
The company will maintain its focus on developing its employees and selecting promising recruits and developing their skills to professional levels.
Hlakani director Quereshini Naidoo emphasises the company’s focus on the quality of its skills development, and in-house training was a key factor in the IDC’s decision to fund the acquisition.
“Sustainable industrial development and job creation are crucial for us, mainly as [they] ensure our continuation and ability to meet the exacting demands of industrial clients.”
The sustainability of jobs was one of the reasons for the acquisition, including the opportunity to create additional sustainable industrial jobs, she notes.
“Our business model is premised on training locally,” confirms Holtshauzen. “We train in-house and invest in those who show initiative, willingness [to learn] and promise. We have had exemplary results from this approach. We firmly believe that South Africa must take time and [make the] effort to invest in its own people to deliver the development we aspire to.”
Hlakani will focus on expanding its client base during the medium term, including aiming to become a steel services provider to petrochemicals giant Sasol, and expand in the industrial sectors in which it is well established. It also aims to repay the loan sooner than contractually stipulated, should it achieve good organic growth, Naidoo says.