Automotive Investment Holdings (AIH) is spreading its wings, with the firm officially venturing into the international market.
AIH, a level two empowered company, is a well-known consulting and manufacturing entity within the South African and African automotive landscape.
The 12-year-old Pretoria-based firm has been involved in a number of automotive-related projects, ranging from supply concept planning for vehicles manufacturers based in South Africa, to the establishment of automotive supplier parks.
“It’s a natural progression of AIH’s vision since inception that we want to be a significant automotive company, sharing our considerable human talent and experience on the global stage,” says AIH chairperson Dempsey Naidoo.
“We have established our South African roots in the consulting sector and have achieved solid success in the original equipment manufacturer (OEM, or vehicle manufacturer) and government policy sectors alike,” he adds.
“However, our management is blessed with significant manufacturing skills. We have, for example, seamlessly progressed into this sector through our Mahindra semi-knockdown project during the past five years.”
AIH, through AIH Logistics, does contract assembly from bakkie kits, imported from India, for Mahindra South Africa at a facility in Durban.
The company has also just set up a disassembled knockdown facility in Coega, in the Eastern Cape, which will disassemble vehicles from South African plants for export into the rest of Africa.
“We have worked closely with globally respected partners here and abroad,” notes Naidoo.
“With opportunities now regularly presenting themselves in both these sectors for international collaboration, we decided that geographic diversification is the best strategy – partnering with strong global companies where appropriate.
“We are, however, watchful of pace of growth and work mix as we progress.”
Naidoo says AIH should this year generate around 15% of its rand revenue from abroad.
“We would like to achieve 50% of our revenue and profit from abroad in the next decade – if not sooner.”
AIH opened its doors with four shareholders, one permanent manager and two support staff.
Today the company employs some 70 experts locally and abroad, as well as 50 people involved in manufacturing, notes Naidoo.
“I think we are in a business sweet spot, where we have the correct staff to match the five-year vision,” he adds.
“We want to be a preeminent consulting and manufacturing go-to brand in South Africa for the automotive sector, while also reaching every transformational objective we can achieve.
“We are also already making strides in Europe, America and Asia with our collaboration partners, and this will improve our delivery and project skills.
“The ability to deliver on mega industrial projects for global OEMs is now within our capability.”
AIH’s group structure is delineated into a consulting and manufacturing arm, explains CEO Corrie Kotzé.
AIH Logistics falls under the manufacturing business.
A new company, Automotive Logistic Solutions, partners with a German firm to produce subassemblies for OEM plants.
The company is already active in Slovakia.
On the consulting side, the established AIH businesses remain – AIH Consulting South Africa (auto and logistics consulting services), ebp Management (supply chain and logistics consulting, in partnership with a German firm), Shared Services Investment (human capital solutions) and AIH International Europe (auto and logistics consulting services).
Newcomers are the PAC Group South Africa, which is a consulting engineering firm specialising in the building of paint and body shops at vehicle plants.
AIH owns 51% in this four-month-old venture.
Econogistic specialises in economic development projects, such as the establishment of special economic zones (SEZs).
AIH has been responsible for the feasibility studies of seven of the last 12 SEZs, says Kotzé.
AIH International Middle East and AIH International China are in the process of opening their doors.
“We have developed a pool of capability that can work anywhere in the world and officially expanding AIH abroad should create many new international opportunities for the company,” says Kotzé.
AIH’s founding members and main shareholders are Kotzé, Johan Cloete (vice chairperson), Paulo Fernandes (director) and Naidoo.