Amid high-level calls for the emergence of black industrialists, a new black-owned manufacturing company has been formed through a merger of pipe-bending specialist Delberg Engineering and metals trader Corrotherm Special Metals Africa.
The company began trading under the name Delberg Engineering on September 1 and is headquartered at recently expanded premises in Sunderland Ridge, near Pretoria.
Copper foundry group Thos Begbie, which had a major interest in both companies prior to the consolidation and which has retained a 9% stake in the merged entity, facilitated the transaction and its CEO, Edwin Dreyer, has been appointed chairperson of the new company.
The majority of the shares are held by former Corrotherm Special Metals Africa MD Owen Maroleni, who has also been appointed CEO of the merged entity. Delberg Engineering’s former MD, Louis Delport, has taken up the role of COO and also holds a sizable position in the combined entity.
Maroleni says the company will pursue localisation opportunities arising from South Africa’s multibillion-rand infrastructure investment programme, as well as public and private market prospects arising across the rest of the continent.
Prior to the merger, both companies sup-plied components to Transnet Engineering for the assembly of locomotives and wagons being procured by Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), as well as other railways utilities across the continent.
However, since the merger, a further investment of R20-million has been approved to expand the ISO 9001-certified firm’s facilities and position it to handle the workflow that is set to arise from the upcoming award of a TFR contract for 599 dual-voltage electric locomotives and 465 diesel locomotives.
Delport stresses, however, that the company has aspirations to diversify its customer base well beyond the railways sector, as well as the public infrastructure programme.
The enterprise already supplies Corona rings and aluminium weld assemblies into the power sector, and has a portfolio of heating and cooling coils that are used by various industrial facilities across South Africa. In addition, it recently started exporting Monel short-radius elbows to customers in South America.
Dreyer says research and development activities are also being increased in a bid to raise the overall manufactured portion of its sales mix from around 70% currently to over 90%.
“We have taken a leap of faith in setting up this company, mainly because we believe that the infrastructure programme, together with the associated desire to raise local-content levels, will eventually translate into a manufacturing recovery. And we have posi-tioned ourselves to be at the front end of that revival,” Dreyer outlines.