Sparks Electrical News

Crabtree South Africa (Pty) Ltd (a Division of Siemens) has concluded the purchase of the Crabtree business and its associated Lesotho operations from Powertech Industries (Proprietary) Limited, a division of Allied Electronics Corporation Limited (Altron).

Acquisition of Crabtree

The Crabtree business, originally established in 1947, named Crabtree South Africa (Pty) Ltd, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Siemens (Pty) Ltd, with the day to day management of the business handled by Electrium Sales Ltd., a Siemens company. Up until 1989, the Crabtree South African business was part of Crabtree Electrical Industries Limited based in the UK, which now trades in the UK as part of Electrium Sales Ltd, in turn owned by Siemens since 2006.

Crabtree is one of South Africa’s chief manufacturers of low voltage wiring accessories, cable systems and power cords and predominantly operates within the South Africa construction market, with some sales to the Sub Saharan Region.

“What we have is a business that is really strong when it comes to its people, and their expertise and knowledge. It needs some key investments in new products and equipment to be able to put itself on the front foot in terms of offering a stronger product offering for the

South African market,” said Steve Richardson, Integration Manager for the Crabtree acquisition.

While business acquisitions often have a negative connotation, this merger is seen in a positive light, with Crabtree South Africa rejoining a larger group, with no plans for absorption into the larger group company. “We have already started to invest in the business, and will continue to do so. The main structure of the company will remain in place,” explained Jim Currie, Head of Operation from Electrium. “We will be relying on the experience of the local staff and management team, so there will not be a ‘revolution’, more of an evolution over a period of time.”

“We plan to make the changeover as seamless as possible, and we will be investing in new equipment and inventory which we hope will lead to an increased level of stability in the market,” confirmed Richardson. “We want to support our current route to market and recognise that it is the lifeblood of the business. We are going to add to the critical mass of local manufacturing. With the reduced levels of past investment in the business, the product range has not been refreshed for some time, something Electrium is keen to address.”

Crabtree serves a broad range of construction customers through an excellent established electrical distributor network. Together with market access to African markets the acquisition provides Siemens with significant manufacturing know-how, with facilities in Wadeville and Lesotho.

“It is really important we maintain the manufacturing capability within South Africa, and achieve critical volumes to warrant having the equipment, machinery and test labs available locally. By bringing in export volumes and the extra demand via the linkup with Electrium, we are securing the future of SADC manufacturing for the Crabtree brand,” said Richardson.

“The acquisition has come at an opportune time, when sentiment in Southern Africa is on the up there is a new optimism in the respective markets,” said Richardson. “The South African market is a mature and competitive market, but with Crabtree’s local expertise and Siemens’ support we anticipate growth. We look forward to the challenge ahead and to a new lease of life for Crabtree, and for a renewed vigour in the housing market.” Jim Currie notes that the company is committed to local manufacturing, an aspect which sets it apart from many of its competitors.

The pair emphasised that the overall aim is to bolster Crabtree’s offering for its three core customers: “The wholesalers are going to see more products and inventory to support their businesses; the specifiers will have new products to meet the high specifications standards required; and for contractors, we aim to continue to be their default brand for quality and reliability.”

Launch event

To celebrate the union and the launch of Crabtree South Africa, the company hosted an event on April 20 at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg. Currie and Richardson addressed attendees, made up of Siemens and Crabtree staff, customers and the media, where the future plans for the business were outlined. Magician, Colin Underwood, acted as master of ceremonies for the event, while the Ubumbano Cultural Group, a non-profit organisation which focuses on developing talent and skill amongst the youth of Katthorus, added a South African flavour to the event with their vibrant and colourful traditional dancing.



Contact Sparks Electrical News

Title: Editor
Name: Gregg Cocking
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

Title: Advertising Manager
Name: Carin Hannay
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108