On October 1 this year, Verbatim – a wholly-owned company of Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation – transferred its South African entity to CrossAfrica Holdings as a going concern. According to Manny Cross, Group MD of CrossAfrica Holdings and former general manager of Middle East, Turkey and Africa for Verbatim, the restructure offers numerous benefits including greater flexibility, improved customer service and the opportunity for B-BBEE compliance.
The company will operate from South Africa where it has an established logistical hub with warehouse facilities, a distribution chain and an experienced local team, which has been key to its success.
Under CrossAfrica Holdings, the three Verbatim entities will operate independently as CrossAfrica Technologies; CrossAfrica Water Solutions; and CrossAfrica Lighting and Lifestyle. Cross says the new structure will allow each entity to adapt more quickly to changing markets across Africa.
“In Africa, with its diverse demographics, business and product requirements, there is great energy and opportunity. We need to understand local perceptions of value and be in a position to adapt to changing economic and financial conditions” says Cross.
As compared with the previous Verbatim/Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation multinational structure, the new entity provides for greater flexibility and will thus also be able to employ expertise more geared towards the different market sectors.
In addition, it will be able to collaborate with existing customer structures so as not to reinvent the wheel. As Cross explains, “We will offer value to an existing solid infrastructure with top end technologies”.
As an independent entity, CrossAfrica Lighting is in a position to customise its solutions to maximise opportunities with new partners. “For example,” says Cross, “Although we have an effective LED offering through Verbatim, should we find there is a demand for solar LED, which Verbatim does not offer, we can broaden our portfolio or work with a local partner to become solutions driven and target a broader market sector. It is a win for all parties”.
By the middle of next year CrossAfrica Holdings hopes to establish a centre in Dubai as a gateway into North and East Africa.