New York-listed pumps manufacturer and distributor Gorman-Rupp on Thursday launched its African branch in Johannesburg and announced the acquisition of a 74% stake in local distributor Pumptron.
Known as Gorman-Rupp Africa, the new division would primarily focus on the planned expansion of international sales throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the extension of the company’s existing sales operations based in South Africa.
CEO Jerry Gorman said the acquisition of a majority stake in Pumptron would further advance its operations in South Africa. “Pumptron has been our distributor for over 25 years. It is only natural that we shake hands,” Gorman said.
The new African branch would complement the company’s existing international operations centers in Europe and Asia.
“This expansion in Africa demonstrates another step in our long-standing focus on international growth. Africa is an increasingly rapid-developing continent that continues to benefit from positive internal governmental reforms that are starting to strengthen its various economies. As a result, the urbanisation rate is increasing in many areas of the continent but it still, generally, remains highly underdeveloped and lacks needed water, wastewater, agriculture and construction infrastructure, all of which are proven core markets,” Gorman added.
In addition to increasing the stockholding of complete pumps and repair parts, Gorman-Rupp aimed to expand into light manufacturing, which could lead to a full pump manufacturing facility in the future.
Meanwhile, the company announced that it would grant a scholarship to a mechanical engineering student from the University of Johannesburg, with effect from 2013. “The shortage of suitably qualified hydraulic engineers in our industry is critical worldwide. Engaging the scholarship student to complete the practical programme of the course at Pumptron would better equip these students to enter the industry suitably qualified,” Gorman said.
Speaking to Engineering News Online, Pumptron’s Malcolm Fick explained that the company selected a student that had completed at least one semester at university. “We choose students who have a good academic record and who have the potential to possibly join Pumptron after completion,” he noted.