African Fusion talks to Kim Brightwell of ESAB Middle East and Africa, about the ESAB Southern Africa’s the new route to market.
Both ESAB and Howden are part of the global Colfax Corporation, the US-based industrial giant, which acquired the companies in January 2012 after completing a US$2.4-billion takeover of their parent company, Charter International.
“In South Africa, because Howden and ESAB are co-owned by Colfax, we are sister companies within the umbrella corporation. So when the need arose to look for an alternative way to service ESAB’s needs in South Africa and in the Southern African region, Howden set up a division called ESAB South Africa, a Division of Howden Donkin within the local Howden Africa company,” this division will from now on import, sell and distribute all ESAB’s products in South Africa “says Brightwell.
Howden Africa produces a diverse range of large-scale engineered plant and products. The Howden Africa business units include: Howden Power; Howden Fan Equipment; Howden Projects; and Donkin Fans. Howden Donkin has a manufacturing facility in Port Elizabeth, which designs and manufactures pre-engineered fans and accessories.
“ESAB South Africa’s head office and central warehouse now sits at Howden Africa’s Booysens premises, in Johannesburg south, just two minutes off the M1 motorway,” Brightwell says.
“Howden Donkin is an ideal partner for ESAB as it has a well-developed import and logistics capabilities that are ideally suited to ESAB South Africa’s needs. With infrastructure in PE, Cape Town and Johannesburg on the warehousing and distribution side, we have been able to dovetail our ESAB operations very quickly and effectively,” he adds.
In addition, ESAB South Africa is working with Imperial in Durban for warehousing distribution and office and workshop space. “Imperial are taking care of the logistics area and we operate a sales office from its premises,” he continues.
The existing ESAB Middle East & Africa Team, which is also now based in Booysens and consists of sales and technical support personnel, will continue to assist both ESAB South Africa and their customer to gain the most out of ESAB’s extensive range of quality products.
“Within a few months, we have re-established ESAB’s formal presence and trading capacity in South Africa. We are now leaner, more experienced and more determined to provide a complete range of ESAB products and services to the South African market,” Brightwell concludes.