The Zest WEG Group’s 2013 acquisition of a transformer manufacturing operation has increased its local manufacturing base and substantially increased its staff complement in South Africa to over 700 people.
Wadeville-based WEG Transformers Africa, formerly Hawker Siddeley Electric Africa, is one of the largest manufacturers of mini substations, unit substations and distribution transformers in the country, with the capability to design and manufacture the complete range presently in use in the country’s industrial sector.
“The acquisition last year of this leading transformer operation is in line with the WEG Group’s 2020 vision to grow the business on this continent both organically and through acquisitions,” says Gary Daines, Zest WEG Group’s group sales and marketing director. “WEG has a strategic plan to increase its sales by at least 17% year on year until 2020, when it aims to arrive at a turnover of US$10-billion. However, WEG is very aware that in order to participate in the African market, it needs to contribute to the local economy. As a growing local employer, the Zest WEG Group is on board to support our government’s localisation drive and we’re achieving this by continuing to expand our production facilities and developing a robust technical skills base.
“From a group perspective, adding the transformer product range to the Zest WEG Group’s offering is very strategic as it complements all our activities and slots in perfectly with our aggressive Africa growth initiative. We have a phenomenally strong national sales team, as well as a network of branches, which are already starting to sell and support the range.
“An important success factor is that the transformer products are ‘Africanised’ and suitable for local conditions. In their manufacture we ensure suitability for operation and for logistical movement in Africa. This has resulted in a very conservative design that will also place us in a strong position when we export these products into first world markets.”
Since last year’s takeover, WEG Transformers Africa has embarked on a significant upgrade initiative to enhance its equipment, processes and design packages. The initiative includes major improvements to its office buildings and staff amenities.
Danford Mugadza, managing director of WEG Transformers Africa, says the upgrades will bring the company in line with WEG’s technology platform and enable it to compete on the world market. At the same time, the cutting edge technologies being introduced will create significant employment opportunities and increase the rate of skills transfer from WEG’s technical teams in Brazil to the local workforce.
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