Packaging firm unveils BEE deal

13th October 2006 By: thamashni naidoo

A recent announcement stating that a black economic-empowerment (BEE) consortium has secured a 60% shareholding in Wadeville-based packaging company C & E Packaging, has resulted in beneficial growth for both parties.

BEE consortium leader and newly-appointed CEO Shathi Govender says that the company has been actively engaged in the search for an appropriate BEE partner since last year.

“This partner will add value through providing access to key markets and will contribute the necessary business skills, enabling sustainable growth in the company’s chosen markets,” says sales director Gordon Harrison.

Govender adds, “Government’s vigorous approach in driving the pace of BEE in South Africa means that corporate South Africa must familiarise itself with the strategies needed to ensure that broad-based BEE is achieved by 2014.” The BEE consortium is part of a multi- faceted group and, prior to making its final decision to buy shareholdings in C&E, it considered several investment options in this market sector.

“After careful analysis and due diligence audits, the agreement was concluded, with Standard Bank facilitating the funding through the BEE funding programme.” However, C&E is faced with several challenges, which pose threats to the working environment.

In the packaging market, there tends to be a resistance when campaigning for new business.

Govender explains that this is often a result of negative perceptions and reluctance from suppliers and manufacturing companies regarding BEE.

This, however, has not hampered the company’s growth, with C&E showing excellent results.

“We have been aggressive in our pricing strategy, which has resulted in our being competitive and confident with excellent service levels.” Although constituting only a small fraction of the packaging market in South Africa, C&E’s turnover has increased by some 40% since last year.

This can be attributed to better working conditions and growing volumes of production.

“We have introduced a provident fund for the staff and have also relooked at salaries, with a view to ensuring that they are market related,” Govender elaborates. On the subject of empowerment, Govender tells Engineering News that staff member Livingstone Mathebula has been promoted to production manager, preparing him for “bigger and better things at the company”.

Further, C&E is committed to the principles of sustainable development and constantly seeks to balance economic, environ-mental and social responsibilities.

“Our initiatives include sponsorships to organisations that support previously-disadvantaged individuals and worthy causes, such as HIV/Aids programmes, which impacts on the socio- economic growth of our country as well,” Govender states.

To this end, C&E commits to and depends on the accepted and recognised best practices of business sustainability.

It is implementing the recently gazetted best procurement business approach in the acquisition of quality service and intelligent products that deliver low costs, tariffs and processes for key customer growth and benefits.

“Target focus is attained through experience that confirms the strategic alliances founded on the principles of best practice recognition, detecting synergies and synchronisation of business interest.” The company is an employee-orientated organisation and operates with a flexible management style.

“Our philosophy is to be value-based and process-driven, rather than rules-based and we encourage staff to be self-moti-vated and action-orientated.” High emphasis is placed on customer feedback that is regularly communicated to staff in formal sessions.

“We strongly believe in the empowerment of historically-disadvantaged individuals and we encourage personal training and development of out staff,” Govender comments.

C&E key staff have been given shareholding status and the management team has been developed from semiskilled labourers.

Corporate strategy C&E aims to become a leading packaging manufacturing company, using the strong relationships it has established over the years, as well as its position as one of the leading BEE suppliers to deliver unique application products.

“Our strategy includes a strong training programme to assist previously disadvantaged indi-viduals that wish to pursue a career in this field.” With focus placed on both the private and public sector, the company provides tailor-made products to clients.

“Understanding a client’s value proposition through the formation of strategic partnerships will lead to long-term relationships and provide custom-built solutions to each customer in an effective and efficient manner,” Govender says.

The skills base enables C&E to approach the market differently from all other vendors, offering an end-to-end service for the design and supply of the varying packaging needs.

In keeping with its broader goals of improved service, Govender says the company endeavours to have established alliance partnerships to accommodate its customers’ needs.

Demonstrating a strong commitment to high standards of corporate governance, the company has a policy of transparency and accountability.

“Corporate governance is an essential element in our goals of achieving the highest standards and maintaining a degree of responsibility for companies and their directors and employees.” In the meantime, C&E has established strategic alliances with other companies that offer complementary products and services.

Recognising the uniqueness of different clients, the company has aligned itself with strategic partners, harnessing the strengths of players in the respective service- provision industries.

Services C&E supplies its products to the automotive, agricultural, retail, furniture and appliance, food and beverage, construction and shipping industries.

The company is working towards obtaining SABS ISO 900/2 accreditation, and Govender is certain that the company will achieve it soon.

Its product range includes cardboard, corrugated boxes and fittings, plain boxes, printed boxes, die-cut boxes, printed die-cut boxes, single face kraft, stretch wrap, shrink wrap, clear bubble rolls, tape, plastic bags and labels.

Govender says that C&E will develop by focusing on new and existing markets. “The intention is to grow the business significantly over the next couple of years, with one of the initial aims being the establishment of a reliable and trusted black packaging company across South Africa.” Other issues include BEE and skills development, but he adds that C&E has the potential to reach the markets in sub-Saharan Africa.

“This initiative has been built over the last few years with the combined weight of the BEE consortium, which, we believe, will grow C&E into a leading player in the packaging industry,” Govender concludes.