Johannesburg-based gas cylinder startup Bluedrop Energy has secured a R300-million investment from global investment firm J. Sassoon Group for its liquefied petroleum gas cylinder manufacturing plant.
The project is expected to create 110 direct jobs during construction and 35 direct jobs at full commercial operation. Using the highest standards in manufacturing processes along with the latest technology and raw materials designed to reduce carbon footprint, Bluedrop will be setting a new standard for South Africa’s gas cylinder manufacturing.
Among the many challenges facing the project was that Bluedrop was in a prerevenue stage in a competitive and highly regulated industry. However, J. Sassoon Group uplifted the startup by using its own global network. In addition to assisting with sourcing global engineering firms for the construction, J. Sasoon’s external consultants and accounting service firm PwC are providing consultancy and advisory services to the project.Upon succeeding his grandfather as the chairperson of the board, David E. Sassoon has taken a keen interest in Africa, continuing the family’s historical relationship with Africa, particularly South Africa. “Bluedrop is the optimum start up to reengage the African market.” Sassoon personally mentored and guided Bluedrop through the complexity of the financing phase. The firm financially engineered the mezzanine finance deal to reduce borrowing costs in addition to a twelve-month payment holiday, enabling Bluedrop to accelerate growth and optimise success .
Bluedrop CFO Kenneth Maduna says, as an independent 100% black-owned company, Bluedrop is ecstatic with the investment made by J. Sassoon Group both for showing its confidence in Bluedrop and in South Africa as an investment destination.
J. Sassoon Group CEO Bruce Fein explains that Bluedrop is the first prerevenue startup in Africa that J. Sassoon Group has invested in. “Our focus is on startups, entrepreneurs and midmarket companies. Bluedrop is the type of forward-facing, energetic company we are looking for. We are confident that this is a value accretive investment.”The construction of the manufacturing plant is expected to commence in Q4 of this year and will take 12-14 months to complete.