Balancell named fastest growing manufacturing company in Africa in new list

An image showing Balancell assembling batteries at Ndabeni

Assembling batteries at Ndabeni

5th June 2024

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online


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The Financial Times, in partnership with Statista, has published its list of Africa’s 125 Fastest Growing Companies for the Year.

In the top spot for manufacturing was Balancell Energy, a South African business that designs, engineers and manufactures smart lithium-ion batteries for multiple applications.

Balancell also made the top 20 overall, coming in at number 17.

The homegrown South African company is now poised to take its battery technology to the world.

All countries in Africa are allowed to participate and thousands of companies were identified by Statista as eligible candidates and invited to apply.

Applicants went through a rigorous and complex evaluation process, including vetting of all data submitted.

“Achieving this accolade proves to us that South Africa has a place in the growing energy storage space in Africa and indeed on the globe. It reinforces our belief that the technology we have developed is world class and can be scaled to serve a much larger market. It also serves as recognition for the blood, sweat and tears that have been invested in the business over more than 13 years and validates our belief in its potential,” says Balancell CFO Paul Osborne.

“Africa is not for the faint-hearted, and neither is building a manufacturing business from the ground up. If you can build a successful manufacturing business in Africa, I believe you can make a success of it anywhere in the world – and that’s exactly what we intend to do,” he adds.

Balancell’s “smart” lithium batteries are designed predominantly for industry, powering warehouse forklifts, refrigerated trucks, boats and factories, among other applications.

Balancell batteries are said to be “smart” because they manage and protect themselves, monitor their own performance and send diagnostic reports in real time, aimed at streamlining the tracking of machine or vehicle battery life and prevent unscheduled downtime.

They are also said to be robust, cost-effective and cleaner than most alternatives and they require no maintenance.

Balancell avers that, owing to the lower cost, high power output and reliability, its batteries are already powering some of the world’s biggest automotive brands and logistics businesses.

Moreover, the company highlights that the modular system they employ means they can produce new custom designs quickly when required for different industries.

“We produce a unique battery that incorporates multiple levels of safety, from mechanical design to analogue electronic cut-outs, in addition to digital battery control, and finally software alerts.

“We provide completely transparent and auditable energy in and out warranties, which include the logging of every minute of the battery’s life. And we’re leading the way in the development of a battery passport for our customers’ future requirements,” says Balancell CEO Ian de Vries.

Balancell undertakes all product development and manufacturing locally and assures that it is committed to job creation.

“Balancell currently provides 60 full-time direct jobs while providing more than 1 000 downstream employment opportunities,” says Osborne.

With its rapid expansion, these numbers are expected to continue to grow.

According to World Economic Forum research, the energy, technology and care sectors have the greatest potential to provide high levels of job creation in developing countries, and Balancell says it aims to play its part in South Africa accessing these opportunities.

Balancell has already begun shipping large-scale batteries across the continent and is in the process of entering the European market. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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