R/€ = 14.21
R/$ = 10.70
Au 1294.30 $/oz
Pt 1429.50 $/oz
Aug 13, 1999
Paradigm shift dictates changeBack
Engineering|New York|Pretoria|Africa|Consulting|Development Bank|Development Bank Of Southern Africa|EVN|Housing|OL&P|PROJECT|Projects|Water|Zader Investment|Africa|South Africa|United States|Black-empowerment Finance|Project Finance|Soft And Hard Engineering Services|Soft And HardnEngineering Services|Consulting Engineers|Andre Greyling|Enos Banda|Infrastructure|Otto Langeneger|OttonLangeneger|Stewart Bailey|Water
© Reuse this Stewart Bailey Engineering News Features Reporter The paradigm shift being dictated by the consulting engineers market in South Africa has been the catalyst for wholesale organisational change by the EVN group, of Meyerspark, Pretoria.
“We are focused completely on the future, and we have decided to move into the project finance and operations and maintenance area, which offers considerably better prospects for us in the long term,” says EVN director Andre Greyling.
In order to facilitate its success in these diversified disciplines, the company has merged with consulting engineer Otto Langeneger & Partners (OL&P),which specialises in water and wastewater process design, as well as the operation and maintenance of water and wastewater plants.
Allied to this merger is the formation of a new electrical division, and a shareholding by black-empowerment finance company, Zader Investment.
These changes to the overall structure of the company are part of EVN’s long-term goal of selling a range of soft and hard engineering services in order for clients to reap ‘one-stop-shop’ benefits.
Once fully operational, the new business units will focus jointly on privatisation opportunities within the country’s water sector, as well as in exploiting private–public partnerships in the burgeoning municipal- service arena.
Selecting Zader as a strategic partner, in particular, is seen as a masterful stroke.
By selling the empowerment group a share in the company, certain equity criteria are fulfilled, and the substantial financial muscle of the new partner can be brought into play.
This will facilitate a much-needed shift of dependency away from public-sector funding – so long the lifeblood of engineering consultancies – which is becoming increasingly thin on the ground.
Greyling is certain that the black-empowerment stake in the company will increase substantially in the medium term as the synergies between the companies are realised.
In order to entrench the relationship, EVN has invited Zader founder and chairperson Enos Banda to sit on the company’s reshuffled board as vice-chairperson.
Far from being a token placement, Banda brings some heavyweight connections to the company, which should help sustain or boost its impressive 20% year-on-year growth.
The erstwhile exile has completed a master’s degree in finance accounting and a doctorate in jurisprudence and corporate law at Georgetown University of the US, enabling him to practise as an attorney in New York and as an advocate in the South African supreme court.
Add to this his record as chairperson for both the National Electricity Regulator and the Development Bank of Southern Africa’s municipal infrastructure investment unit, and the strategic implications of his appointment are evident.
Greyling does not envisage the company’s 70:30 (public:private) workload-split changing, although he does predict an increase in overall activities arising from the revamped structure and the in-house finance connection.
The partnership with OL&P is already paying dividends, with the company’s achieving leading status in the build, operate, train and transfer (Bott) of water projects in Mpumalanga.
It is also a member of Metsico, the consortium responsible for the Bott programme in the Northern Province.
“The challenge in the water sector is no longer in the design phase of the project, but rather to design for the right reasons, to implement at the right time, and to invest at the right tempo.
“Project sustainability is becoming more and more important, and we are equipping ourselves to adapt to this change in mentality,” says Greyling.
Another area which is enjoying attention from the company is Gauteng’s low-cost housing market.
The company is pitching for the design of bulk-infrastructure for a number of new affordable-housing developments, as well as for the anticipated municipal-service delivery.
Although the EVN and OL&P brands are well-established in South Africa, the group management is taking a bold step to entrench the vitality of the company, and also its new range of services.
All of these structural changes will be backed by a name change – as of the beginning of this month, 28-year-old revamped EVN has been renamed Bigen Africa.
The new corporate identity is aimed at unlocking doors in Africa’s growing project market, which is dominated by European and US firms at present.
“We are keen to reinforce the notion that African companies should handle projects in Africa.
“As we compete more and more against international firms for work, we are seeing that big clients are tired of working with foreigners who are not taking a hands-on approach.
“They are doing a lot of remote work, and they are simply not familiar with local conditions,” stresses Greyling, echoing the sentiment of many local consultancies.
Hard currency earned from export work has only just started flowing into the company’s coffers, and contributes only 5% to its bottom line at this point.
Greyling is confident, however, that the best efforts of the export marketing team – as well as the new structure – will fuel export growth across the borders by 500% in the next four years.
Edited by: System Author© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Consulting Engineers News
Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa) has announced the winners of the 2014 Aon Engineering Excellence Awards, which saw Aurecon, Aecom and Jeffares & Green take the top spots in this year’s various project categories. The yearly Aon awards, held in Midrand on...
While a survey of South Africa’s young consulting engineers has revealed a pessimistic perception of the industry, a clear message emerged at the Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa) Young Professionals Imbizo on Tuesday that the young engineers had to be their...
Following the launch of Consulting Engineers South Africa’s (Cesa’s) Sustainability Framework last year, it was likely that member firms would have until the 2015/16 financial year to start incorporating a simple sustainability report into their annual reports...
Updated 1 minute ago Gautrain bus drivers went on strike on Wednesday, forcing certain bus services to be suspended, the Bombela Concession Company said. "Please note that a wildcat strike by Gautrain bus drivers in Johannesburg has resulted in the suspension of bus services from Park,...
Updated 12 minutes ago Electrical and lighting product distributor ARB Holdings on Wednesday reported increases of 27% in its operating profit and headline earnings a share for the year ended June 30, to R203-million and 50.28c respectively. The increase in operating profit resulted in an...
Updated 13 minutes ago The City of Tshwane aims to roll out 171 buses by November as part of the inception phase of its bus rapid transit (BRT) system, with the view to establish additional stages and introduce further buses if there is demand.
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
The Built Environment unit at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has developed a cost-competitive ultrathin concrete pavement surface that, for the upgrading of unpaved roads to paved roads, is more durable than many other pavement alternatives...
The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), based at Sutherland in the Karoo region in the Northern Cape province, is promising to become an important instrument for research into dark matter. "SALT is shaping up to be very important for answering questions about...
The South African tool, die and mouldmaking (TDM) industry is being revitalised to locally produce the tools, dies, moulds and fixtures required by the manufacturing sector. Local TDM capability is key to enable the manufacturing industry to remain competitive, says...
Misfortune often finds its roots in the smallest of things. Such as a centimetre or two. Or is that in inch? Perhaps a foot? Swedish or Dutch? The French had reason to blush in May as it became apparent that national rail operator SNCF had ordered 2 000 trains that...
The repositioning of the Fibre Processing & Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority (FP&M Seta) and its business processes will ensure improved performance in reaching strategic targets and in providing customer service.