BUSINESS FOCUS MAGAZINE - ISSUE NO.82

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Issue No.82

SPECIAL FEATURE: SUSTAINABILITY & PLASTICS

AMBATOVY

DELIVERING SUSTAINABLE VALUE Exclusive interview with President Stuart Macnaughton on ambitious industrial undertakings and developing local communities in Madagascar.

ANDRITZ METALS GERMANY

Their vital role in the new Allegro high-speed rail venture.

MACSWEEN OF EDINBURGH Scotland's most loved haggis.

METRO EXPRESS

Largest infrastructure project in Mauritius.

STOELZLE

Renowned glass factory has turned challenge into opportunity.


T H E

M A G A Z I N E

W I T H

I N S I G H T

FEATURE YOUR BUSINESS CONTACT SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR TREVOR GRETSINGER t.gretsinger@ceomediagroup.com


EDITOR’S NOTE

PROJECT MANAGERS ANDREW BOURKE a.bourke@ceomediagroup.com DEAN BROWN d.brown@ceomediagroup.com DAVID GARNER d.garner@ceomediagroup.com TIMOTHY GARWOOD t.garwood@ceomediagroup.com JOHN HOLLIMAN j.holliman@ceomediagroup.com MAX HUTCHINGS m.hutchings@ceomediagroup.com MALVERN KANDEMWA m.kandemwa@ceomediagroup.com GLEN NEWTON g.newton@ceomediagroup.com GARY SMITH g.smith@ceomediagroup.com NEIL STOWE n.stowe@ceomediagroup.com DAVID TAVERNOR d.tavernor@ceomediagroup.com HAYDEN TURNER h.turner@ceomediagroup.com JAMIE WAITE j.waite@ceomediagroup.com

DESIGN SCOTT ANDREWS design@ceomediagroup.com SARAH GREEN artwork@ceomediagroup.com

ACCOUNTS MIKE ASHER accounts@ceomediagroup.com

PRODUCTION KAMILA KAJTOCH production@ceomediagroup.com

EDITORIAL CHRIS FARNELL cfarnell@ceomediagroup.com JIM HUNTER editor@ceomediagroup.com

SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR TREVOR GRETSINGER t.gretsinger@ceomediagroup.com

SUBSCRIPTIONS, PRESS RELEASES AND GENERAL ENQUIRIES: info@ceomediagroup.com

The content of this magazine is copyright of CEO Media Group. Redistribution or reproduction of any content is prohibited. © Copyright 2021 CEO Media Group.

FOCUS ON

SUSTAINABILITY One thing that the coronavirus pandemic demonstrated was that, when faced with a common threat or a common goal, businesses can adapt quickly, work together, and innovate to find new solutions with remarkable speed.

A

nother challenge that should inspire that level of collaboration and innovation is the climate crisis, and the huge steps required to make our economy safe and sustainable for generations to come. In this issue, we have talked to a number of companies that are doing just that. Our lead article takes a closer look at the materials sector, introducing you to companies we have profiled throughout this issue such as Westlake, Mega Fortris UK, Arjowiggins, Fabbri Group and Tru Earth who are, each in their own way, finding ways to reduce the impact of packaging and plastics on the environment. Of course, materials are but one facet of the fight against climate change, and we have had conversations with a number of companies that are helping to support the environment. Our attitude to transport infrastructure will be crucial, with public transportation being a key part of that, and we have talked with Andritz Maerz GmbH about their work supporting a new high-speed rail operation and profiled the new Metro Express project in Mauritius. It almost goes without saying but how we generate and use our power is going to be central to any environmental strategy,

and so we have been thrilled to speak with Kellogg, Brown and Root about their work consulting with governments and businesses about their role in the energy transition. We have also had a truly fascinating conversation with HS Orka, who is not only generating clean energy but have built up a zero-waste ecosystem of businesses that could prove to be a model for all of us. And that is just the tip of the iceberg (a metaphor we hope to be able to use for decades to come) with the rest of this issue filled with profiles of the energy, mining, construction & communication industries.

ON THE COVER AMBATOVY Go to page 16.

Issue No.82

SPECIAL FEATURE: SUSTAINABILITY & PLASTICS

AMBATOVY

DELIVERING SUSTAINABLE VALUE Exclusive interview with President Stuart Macnaughton on ambitious industrial undertakings and developing local communities in Madagascar.

ANDRITZ METALS GERMANY

Their vital role in the new Allegro high-speed rail venture.

MACSWEEN OF EDINBURGH Scotland's most loved haggis.

METRO EXPRESS

Largest infrastructure project in Mauritius.

STOELZLE

Renowned glass factory has turned challenge into opportunity.

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IN THIS ISSUE

8

13

16

38 44

50

EVENT

POWER WEEK ASIA 15th - 18th March 2021 - Online Event Virtual Conference for the Power Industry in Asia

NEWS

Sustainability & Plastics Material Concerns

8 16

LEADING ARTICLE

Ambatovy Delivering Sustainable Value to Madagascar

AGRICULTURE & FARMING

Bioceres Crop Solutions Corporation Building the Future National Cereals and Produce Board In Charge of National Food Reserves

AVIATION

Sheremetyevo International Airport Aiming High

98

56 60

64

68 72

78 84

4 | BUSINESS FOCUS MAGAZINE

COMMUNICATION & TECHNOLOGY Dark Fibre Africa Bringing Light to Dark Fibre Africa ipNX The Future is Here

CONSTRUCTION

KBR A Win-Win Partnership

ENERGY & UTILITIES

HS Orka Society without Waste Procon Wind Energy Propelled by the Wind

ENGINEERING

Cobod International A Construction Revolution TSP Engineering Power & Precision

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ISSUE NO.82

166

114 90 98 102

108

176

FMCG

Macsween of Edinburgh Scotland’s National Dish Made with Passion

180

Tru Earth A Revolution in Laundry

184

UAC Foods Ltd. Food for Thought

196

MANUFACTURING Alpha Solway Perfect Protection

114

ANDRITZ Metals Germany GmbH Manufacturing to the Highest Standard

122

Arjowiggins Turning Over a New Leaf

128

Enersul Limited Partnership Leaders in Sulphur

132

Kotkamills Changing the Game to Advance Circularity

138

Mega Fortris UK Signed, Sealed & Delivered

146

Westlake Chemical Corporation A Legacy in Plastic Yields Specialty PE Solutions

150

172

200

208

214 222

Western Areas Ltd. More than Nickel & Dime

OIL & GAS

Dr Ahmed Al-Jibouri & Armada Group Leading to Promote Development VWS Westgarth Ltd. Finding Local Talent, Globally

PACKAGING

Fabbri Group Tomorrow’s Packaging Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie SAS The Beauty of Glass

RETAIL

Allegro A Rising New Giant Shoprite A Retailer to Rely on

SHIPPING, PORT & MARINE

SLASPA Redeveloping St. Lucia’s Ports

TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS Metro Express On the Right Track

Moody Logistics Logistics Champions

132

MINING

Horizon Minerals The Local Gold Mine

154

Kudumane Manganese Resources Mining for Local Value

160

Metso Outotec Everything Old Is New Again

BUSINESSFOCUSMAGAZINE.COM

BUSINESS FOCUS MAGAZINE | 5


Find your way out of a complex operating model.

Let’s talk. Operations Strategy | Digital | Cultural Engineering


Global io

- integrated operations experts.

globalio.com


EVENT OF THE MONTH

8 | BUSINESS FOCUS MAGAZINE

BUSINESSFOCUSMAGAZINE.COM


EVENT OF THE MONTH

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THE 6 POWER WEEK ASIA TH

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P

OWER WEEK ASIA is the 6th annual international conference, designed for the power and energy industry. The conference features 20+ engaging sessions covering policy & regulations, global energy market outlook, fuel & electricity market, solar energy, energy storage, grid technologies, digitalisation, energy transition, energy mix optimisation, technology advancement, power generation efficiency, transmission, power plant, power projects, investment & financing, solar & wind tariffs and many more.

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The 3 add-on workshops will provide even more indepth learning opportunity on specific subjects such as Power Purchase Agreement, battery storage, renewable & clean energy etc. Grab this chance to stay one step ahead in the industry – POWER WEEK ASIA is the most anticipated power & electricity show, not to be missed!

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BUSINESS FOCUS MAGAZINE | 9



lead wıth the leader Today, Internet is in our pockets; our virtual and real worlds are coming together. LTE offers you great potential to deliver a superior mobile broadband experience to your customers, but the stakes are high. Success in LTE means getting to market quickly, with services that offer subscribers more than what they have today, as cost efficiently as possible. With 60 live commercial LTE networks on all continents and about 50% of all smartphone traffic on LTE running through our networks, we have what it takes to support you.

ericsson.com/unplug


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SUSTAINABILITY & PLASTICS

AS SUSTAINABILITY IS BECOMING A PRIORITY FOR BUSINESSES AROUND THE WORLD, WE LOOK AT SOME OF THE MORE INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS THAT HAVE BEEN PUT FORWARD.

MATERIAL CONCERNS Sustainability is a huge challenge, and an urgent one, but it is one that has many facets. When somebody talks about sustainability they could be talking about energy, waste, emissions, even transportation and logistics presents a whole range of potential issues around its environmental impact.

B

ut one key area that encompasses all of these subjects is materials. Whether it is in packaging or products, the materials we use, how they are sourced, how far they have to travel, how long they last and what happens to them afterwards are all key questions, each of which can have all kinds of environmental implications. One material that has always been at the centre of sustainability discussions is plastics, but while there are certainly issues with their environmental impact, as we have discovered talking to business leaders it is not a simple black-and-white matter.

THE CASE FOR PLASTIC

Sam Sliman, Marketing Manager for Westlake, explains in this issue, “Misuse of plastic has created a perception that plastic is inherently bad. But the reason plastic has proliferated is its exceptional properties which help to prevent food waste

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and allow more efficient transportation, among many other advantages.” One example Sliman points to is farmers with seasonal crops, who use plastic packaging for storage. “It prevents them from spoiling so they can be sold and consumed even off-season,” he tells us. “The same qualities of plastic that can cause problems when it’s misused are also the qualities that can make it a valuable tool for sustainability.” “There is a lot of discussion around plastics in the context of sustainability at the moment, so the future looks complex and challenging because different products of ours are related to plastic,” agrees Stefano Mele, CEO of Fabbri Group. He continues,

BUSINESS FOCUS MAGAZINE | 13


SUSTAINABILITY & PLASTICS

to the table with Nature Fresh compostable cling-film. “Nature Fresh is suitable for both automatic and manual packaging, giving optimal results under both applications, and is certified for industrial and home compostability,” Mele says. “That means you can throw it either in your home compost heap or in the brown bin with the food waste to be composted in an industrial setting.”

BEYOND PLASTIC

“In many cases, there has been a lot of correct criticism about how plastic is used. We believe that plastic is a wonderful material with a lot of advantages. What we have to improve is how to manage the end of life of plastic products.” As we explore in a profile of the Fabbri Group elsewhere in this magazine, the company has brought its own novel solution

14 | BUSINESS FOCUS MAGAZINE

Other businesses are taking a far harder line on plastic than Fabbri and Westlake, however. Brad Liski, the CEO and co-founder of Tru Earth, tells us, “At its core, Tru Earth is a movement to eradicate plastic from household products. It’s morphed into an eco-friendly household product company, with a suite of products running and being launched over the next 18 months.” The first of these is Tru Earth’s detergent strips, that allow customers to wash their clothes with a detergent that comes on simple disposable strips rather than heavy plastic bottles. Meanwhile, Arjowiggins is looking at a material that it believes can be substituted for plastic in a surprising array of applications- paper. “We’ve developed a paper that can replace plastic as a substrate for printed electronics,” reveals Christophe Jordan, Managing Director of the Translucent Papers division at Arjowiggins. “To take a relatively easy example- hotel key cards are plastic with an embedded chip which you hold up to the door of your room. We’re proposing alternatives to that made purely from paper. That’s quite a breakthrough in a totally different space.”

Arjowiggins has already seen success with its translucent paper, which can be substituted for transparent plastic in food packaging and elsewhere. But even with paper, Jordan believes there is work to do. “We’re looking at more and more materials made from sustainable fibres. All of our papers are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified and we all know papers that are 100% made from recycled fibres, but there is also a push from the market for sustainable alternative fibres, hemp fibres, bamboo fibres, any kind of fibre from sources other than wood and that are fast-growing,” Jordan explains. While the desire to build greener and more sustainable industry is a noble one, there is also no denying there is a strong business case for it. “The initial launch sold over ten-times what we’d expected, and that’s when we realised there was something more to it than a really cool product,” says Liski “As it grew, we saw a requirement for more products.”

THE CONSUMER PERSPECTIVE

Indeed, public awareness of the issue around environmentalism is set to be a powerful market driver. “Everyone’s a lot more conscious about plastic waste and the damage it’s doing globally, and a lot of companies are recognising that and coming under pressure to adopt a more sustainable approach,” says Debbie Hardy, Mega Fortris UK’s National Sales Manager. “As they’re more environmentally conscious of

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SUSTAINABILITY & PLASTICS

the impact single-use plastic has, that comes into our area of responsibility because security seals are single-use plastic seals. So we’ve been finding a way to address that requirement. A lot of research and development has gone into developing an environmentally friendly solution.”

A recurring challenge, across all of these business sectors, is that it is not enough to simply create an environmentally-friendly alternative. That alternative has to be able to compete with its less-green equivalents. “We needed a range that didn’t compromise on shelf-life or quality,” Hard recalls in our

interview this issue. “That took a lot of development and we came up with a range that didn’t compromise on those elements. They’re biologically broken down when in any contact with any naturally occurring microbes and are compatible in recycling as well.” When addressing the market for these solutions, it’s important to realise that the market is far larger than just the dyed-in-thewool hardcore environmentalists and that there is no one catch-all solution. “The problem has been that environmentalists and environmentalism are labelled as a binary, you’re either in or you’re out, and that misses this whole grey area of people who want to do what they can while living their own lives,” Liski says. “Our objective is to allow people the ability to make small changes. Many hinges can swing big doors. If it’s just one change they’re making, then soon they make another change, another change and another change, and very quickly a big impact is being made. Our goal is for people to help save the planetnot save the planet on their own. We all have to work together to make this work, no one person or company can come in and do it all.”

“WE ALL HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE THIS WORK, NO ONE PERSON OR COMPANY CAN COME IN & DO IT ALL.” BUSINESS FOCUS MAGAZINE | 15


AMBATOVY

AMBATOVY IS ONE OF THE MOST AMBITIOUS INDUSTRIAL UNDERTAKINGS IN THE HISTORY OF MADAGASCAR & THE INDIAN OCEAN, AIMING NOT ONLY AT PROFITS BUT ALSO AT DEVELOPING LOCAL COMMUNITIES & CONTRIBUTING TO THE NATIONAL ECONOMY IN A SUSTAINABLE MANNER.

DELIVERING SUSTAINABLE VALUE TO MADAGASCAR PROJECT MANAGED BY: JAMIE WAITE

Set in Madagascar, in an area with a poetic local name ‘Ambatovy’ meaning ‘the place where stones are iron’ in reference to the iron oxide layer that exists above the laterite deposit, is a large-scale nickel and cobalt mining enterprise that is changing lives on the island.

O

ver the remaining project life, Ambatovy expects to produce more than 1.1 million tonnes of refined nickel and more than 100,000 tonnes of refined cobalt. With an estimated remaining project life of 30 years, Ambatovy’s goal is to create lasting prosperity for all its stakeholders and to contribute significantly to sustainable development in Madagascar. “Ambatovy is a joint venture of two shareholder companies: Japanese Sumitomo Corporation and South-Korean Korea

16 | BUSINESS FOCUS MAGAZINE

Resources Corporation (Kores), with Sherritt International being a shareholder up until very recently. However, while we have foreign shareholders, we are a Malagasy company and we are proud to be in Madagascar,” says Stuart Macnaughton, President of the joint venture. After a five-year construction period in 2007-2011, the joint venture started commercial production in 2012. In 2015 financial completion was achieved, and in the same year, Ambatovy’s nickel was listed on the London Metal Exchange (LME).

HIGH-QUALITY PRODUCT

At a total project cost of more than US$8 billion to date, Ambatovy is the largest-ever foreign investment in the country – and one of the biggest in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean region. It ranks among the largest lateritic nickel mining entities in the world. “Our investors chose Madagascar not only because of the proven nickel and cobalt reserves but also because they felt that Madagascar had the right attributes to permit a successful long-term win-win mining and industrial venture. The decision to do in-country refining was made with a view not only to creating a cost advantage but also to bringing important economic and social benefits to Madagascar,” says Stuart Macnaughton.

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AMBATOVY

Stuart Macnaughton, President of Ambatovy.

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BUSINESS FOCUS MAGAZINE | 17


Innovative Valve Management

www.callidusgroup.com.au


Callidus Group of Companies specialise in the repair, maintenance, management, servicing and diagnostics of valves, actuators, instrumentation & associated equipment. Our goal is customer satisfaction achieved through engineering expertise, highly skilled employees and a commitment to service.

Callidus Process Solutions Madagascar Sarl Address : Immeuble Wu Chao Ying, Tanandava – RN2, Toamasina 501 - Madagascar Contact Details: Operations Manager : Steve Watt : +261 320703091 (Madagascar) : steven.watt@callidusgroup.com.au Branch Manager : Marc Barthelemy : +261 320703060 (Madagascar) : marc.barthelemy@callidusgroup.com.au General Manager : Paul Clarke: +61 409 799 772 (Australia) : paul.clarke@callidusgroup.com.au


CALLIDUS PROCESS SOLUTIONS MADAGASCAR FACILITIES Callidus Process Solutions Madagascar has been supporting Ambatovy since 2010 during the construction and commissioning of the plant. We have been there every step of the way throughout the production phase sharing both the experiences and the challenges. As part of our long term commitment to supporting Ambatovy we have established a 3000m2 workshop within a 10 minute drive of the Ambatovy Plant to provide 24 hour support, 365 days a year. From this facility, operated by highly skilled competent personnel, we provide comprehensive valve repair services including: • Full evaluation and reporting of valve failures • Repair to OEM – industry specifications • Failure investigation including investigatory testing • Overhaul of valves & associated equipment • Thermal coating application • Engineering consultancy • New valve and spares supply • Valve modifications • In-house welding, machining, non-destructive testing & coating • Design, manufacture & testing of valve control systems • Pressure & functional testing • Development & application of specific test procedures • Full repair certification Having the facility located in Toamasina greatly reduces costs and lead times for Ambatovy on equipment that may otherwise require shipping overseas. CRITICAL VALVES The most critical valves on the plant situated on and around the autoclave are commonly seen on other plants also maintained by Callidus in Australia, the Philippines and New Caledonia. Having Callidus maintain these valves allows Ambatovy to take advantage of any research and development already trialed on other plants where results exceed even original manufacturers specifications. Corrosion and erosion protection of valve internals is the key focus area for research and development, with many advances already implemented using thermal coatings and Titanium nitriding. This greatly increases the lifespan of valve internals and in turn decreases plant downtime and client costs. ON-SITE SUPPORT Over the years Callidus have provided a team of personnel dedicated to Pressure Safety Valve recertifications. Set up on site with a self-sufficient sea container and pressure testing equipment we were able to ensure that Ambatovy met its legal compliance requirements for recertification of all safety relief valves across the plant. EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT VALVE MANAGEMENT Ambatovy has access to our Valve Strategy tool, BluePrint. This has already been implemented across the population of Pressure Safety Valves. Value is delivered by defining the importance of the entire valve population and tailoring the management processes to effectively and efficiently manage all valves. Traditionally asset management underestimates the importance of all but the most critical valves. The remaining valves (up to 90%) are typically not evaluated leading to an increased risk of high consequence failures. The combination of Blueprint software and Callidus experience ensures that each valve is effectively assessed and appropriate maintenance, spares and engineering processes are employed. Advantages of a good valve strategy include; • Reduce unplanned maintenance: by developing a scheduling program for the entire valve population. This structured approach ensures all valves are maintained or inspected according to their application demand. • Reduce high consequence failures: by measuring the consequence of a valve failure and mitigating the risk by applying specific inspection and maintenance techniques which target the valve failure modes. • Increase valve knowledge: by identifying high critical valves and initiating a detailed review of the valve and application. Specific inspection and maintenance procedures are

developed using Callidus engineers and extensive historical industry knowledge. • Increase spares efficiency: by assessing a wide range of valves, applications, repair-ability and cost factors in order to calculate optimal spares recommendations. This includes complete valves and parts down to component level. Spares are scaled to ensure an efficient balance is achieved between investment and coverage. ENGINEERING SUPPORT All of our remote sites are supported by a dedicated team of qualified engineers and draftsmen. Services available include; • Valve + Actuator Sizing & Selection • Datasheet Creation • Design and specification review • Procedures (testing and maintenance) • Work Pack Development • Root cause analysis • Preventative recommendations • Metallurgical and laboratory investigations • Valve Diagnostics and Condition Monitoring • Online acoustic leakage testing • In-situ valve diagnostics and calibration • In-situ safety valve testing • Valve Modification & Upgrades • Performance Optimisation • Increase service life • Detailed manufacture drawing • Full suite of computer aided engineering – CAD / CAM with integrated CMM – Finite element analysis – Process condition calculation • R&D for specific applications • Repair optimisation & cost reduction • Shutdown Management • Mobilisiations / Right of Entry / Visas / Work Permits • Spares / Material selection ordering and expediting PEOPLE Having the right people in the right location at the right time is critical to the success of our operations. At Callidus we have core crew dedicated to the Ambatovy project supported by a global team of technicians that can be mobilized to Madagascar at short notice to meet an increase in client demands. Callidus technicians supporting Ambatovy are trades qualified personnel, with over 10 years’ experience in the mining industry. They are trained and skilled in the specific valve types seen on the plant and are proficient in problem solving to keep operations running. As part of our commitment to the local community Callidus employs a well-educated local employee force of 30 nationals. The team speak Malagasy, French and English which gives us the depth to cover client and vendor communication at all levels. We have had particular success in training nationals in the areas of Welding, Machining and Fitting which greatly reduces overhead costs of flying in skilled labour from another facility, a benefit passed on to Ambatovy. COMMUNITY At Callidus we believe in giving something back to the local community wherever we set up a base. In Toamasina, along with one of our main Vendors, we have helped to develop and improve the facilities at a local school. A new building was established to allow an increase in the number of children attending and a new home for the teachers was built to reduce the need for them travelling by foot over many kilometers every day. On-going support is given in the way of school supplies and building maintenance. Without such support many of these children would receive no formal education at all. www.callidusprocess.com.au


AMBATOVY

The mining enterprise is comprised of a lateritic mine near Moramanga, about 80 km east of the country’s capital, Antananarivo, and a processing and refining plant, occupying an area of 320 ha, located approximately 10 km south of the port of Toamasina, on the east coast of the country. The ore body at the mine consists of two large, weathered lateritic nickel deposits located approximately 3 km apart (the “Ambatovy Deposit” and the “Analamay Deposit”). Combined, the Ambatovy and Analamay deposits cover an area of about 1,600 ha, with depths ranging between 20 and 100 m. Due to the soft nature of the ore, no blasting is necessary. Ore is surface-mined by hydraulic excavators and delivered to the Ore Preparation Plant (OPP) in haulage trucks. There, the ore is processed with water to remove the rocks and become a slurry that is delivered by a 220 km pipeline to the processing plant and refinery. At the Plant site, the ore undergoes multi-stage hydrometallurgical processing which ultimately yields refined nickel and cobalt. “We have a very complex operation that permits the production of high-quality nickel and cobalt, which is 99.9% pure. Only a few nickel and cobalt projects in the developing world produce such highquality nickel and cobalt,” says Stuart Macnaughton, pointing out that the products are ideally suited for use in electric vehicle battery manufacturing, a rapidly growing global market. “As the demand for electric cars increases, buyers will want to make sure that the nickel and cobalt have been responsibly sourced and sustainably produced. The Ambatovy joint venture is in a very good position to demonstrate that. Following

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The Ambatovy Plant site.

a detailed review by one of the electric vehicle battery manufacturers last year, we have been endorsed as a responsibly sourced supplier. This is an exciting achievement that will create a market advantage for us, and proof that sustainability is one of our top priorities.”

PROMOTING LOCAL DEVELOPMENT

He affirms that being a producer of high-quality nickel and cobalt that creates lasting value for all stakeholders and contributes to sustainable development in Madagascar

has been one of the company’s key goals. “We have developed strong relationships with all our stakeholders, in particular with our host communities. These relationships are critical for our social licence to operate and for our continued presence in Madagascar. We work closely with them on fulfilling our national and international obligations, as well as our voluntary commitments, to ensure we that we are in a winwin partnership for everyone’s mutual benefit and to leave a positive legacy well beyond the life of our operations.”

“AS THE DEMAND FOR ELECTRIC CARS INCREASES, BUYERS WILL WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THE NICKEL AND COBALT HAVE BEEN RESPONSIBLY SOURCED AND SUSTAINABLY PRODUCED. THE AMBATOVY JOINT VENTURE IS IN A VERY GOOD POSITION TO DEMONSTRATE THAT.” BUSINESS FOCUS MAGAZINE | 21



HENRI FRAISE FILS & CIE Henri Fraise Fils & Cie 100 years of experience in Madagascar, Created in 1921 and since then has been supplying mining equipment to Madagascar and the Indian ocean. They have been Caterpillar dealer for nearly 80 years. All types of minerals are mined in Madagascar: Chromium, Nickel, Ilmenite, Zircon, Cobalt, Rare earth, etc. Henri Fraise Fils & Cie covers all mining applications: • Feasibility studies • Personalized monitoring throughout the project, from the first ideas of operations to the delivery of materials • Design of integrated and technically advanced mining solutions, guaranteeing the lowest costs per tonne • Maintenance and follow-up of equipment’s Besides the supply of mining equipment, Henri Fraise Fils & Cie offers complementary solutions for rental, cranage, power and is a real service provider. Henri Fraise Fils & Cie represents more than twenty international brands to ensure quality and reliability. With several generations of technicians able to ensure safe, fast interventions in accordance with the recommendations of manufacturers through a network of agencies in Madagascar (Taolagnaro, Toamasina, Moramanga, Ambatovy, Antsiranana, Majunga) but also in Mayotte, Seychelles and Comoros. They do not just sell you a machine, they sell you services that will allow you to maximize your operation over time. These agencies include several support workshops for components and equipment, welding equipment, painting room, these are the only professional workshop fully equipped in the region. The central workshop in Antananarivo is 4 stars certified « CAT CONTAMINATION CONTROL » since 2010 and has all tooling and technicians for repairs of engines, hydraulics, electrical components. The experienced technicians are highly mobile and technical staff uses the most modern tools. Human and material resources respect the standards required by the manufacturers. The rental fleet has 200 equipment ready to serve with full assistance on the operation, maintenance and parts. The rental allows you to instantly have the necessary equipment at your sites. By choosing the rental, you can: • Respect your delivery times • Limit your equipment on site • Being more available to develop your business • keep your creditworthiness for the real needs of your business.

MADAGASCAR

Leader

since 1999 in

Quarrying and stone crushing

Quarry blasting services

Concrete precasted products

UBP Madagascar has been providing blasting services to Ambatovy minerals since 2009: - At the mine site at Ambatovy - Along the pipeline during its construction phase between 2009 and 2011

M E M B E R O F UBP GROUP

UBP Madagascar Lot IQ UBP Ambatofotsy Ambohimalaza Miray, TANA 103, BP 7143 T + 261 20 22 000 16 / +261 20 22 010 15 C +261 340510014 / +261 0320563327 www.ubp.mu

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AMBATOVY

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AMBATOVY

An Ambatovy representative discusses with a farmer in her rice field.

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With approximately 9,000 employees and contractors working on-site the company is easily one of the largest employers in Madagascar. Mr Macnaughton points out that the company is very proud that 93% of its direct employees are Malagasy, in a country with a relatively young mining sector. “To preparing the local workforce for the industrial skills required at Ambatovy, many of which could not be found in the country prior to our arrival, the company has made significant investments in training, skills development and leadership so that the company’s Malagasy employees can take on more and more responsibility,” he says. “To this end, in 2010 we established the Ambatovy Training Center. This training is contributing to a local labour pool for future mining and industrial projects that could come to Madagascar. So far, more than 8,000 people have been trained at the training centre.” Local focus is also reflected in the ‘Buy locally hire locally’ philosophy that is behind the Ambatovy Local Business Initiative (ALBI), as Mr Macnaughton explains. “ALBI is leading our efforts to make sure that we maximize our economic impact and that we prioritise local purchasing and local employment, to the greatest extent possible.” “In 2018, for example, this led to more than $250 million in local spending, with approximately 450 local companies from more than 40 business sectors providing goods and services. Through

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AMBATOVY

MOGAS “PARTNERSHIP EXCELLENCE” – THE FOUNDATION FOR SUSTAINED FUTURE VALUE GENERATION The autoclave industry has evolved rapidly over the last three decades. As operating experience, application knowledge and technology boundaries are being pushed continuously, it is very clear that “customer-supplier” partnerships would play a critical part in mastering pressure leach applications and building this niche industry. This partnership excellence would ultimately lead not only to improving equipment performance, but also improving the plant safety, availability, equipment reliability with obvious implications on production. Through the very early stages of engagement with Ambatovy’s commissioning team - and continuing to grow these relationships throughout the operational maturity phase, three critical components have contributed to cementing “partnership excellence”: A.) On-island site service and support – The Ambatovy - MOGAS partnership has been beneficial in reviewing and evaluating several options to balance the challenges of achieving the highest quality service support, while continuously reducing maintenance costs. The current model allows for a highly skilled site-based MOGAS technician, providing 24-hour support to Ambatovy throughout the year. In addition, MOGAS supplies and manages a wide selection of dedicated parts inventory for the isolation valves on site, which ensures the highest valve availability at any given time, safeguarding the customer against unforeseen operational events, as well as climatic and/ or geopolitical impacts. B.) Technology advancement & site trials – MOGAS’ technology-driven focus and significant investment in Research & Development not only adds value to its products, but this value is ultimately being passed down to Ambatovy’s operation, in the form of extended valve life & reduced valve repair costs. This was illustrated recently when Ambatovy trialed MOGAS’ ML-381 metallurgically bonded coating on a 14” valve in two autoclave slurry discharge locations – which is considered the most severe service applications. The valve not only surpassed the installed life of the previous coating, but the condition of the valve internals, even after being in service for over 300 days, were good enough to undergo minor clean up and re-use. The success of this trial has led to subsequent additional installations in other locations. C.) Sharing operational experience & OEM product knowledge – The “partnership excellence”- foundation that developed over the years, allowed for information sharing on both operational sequencing as well as product perspectives. This has allowed MOGAS to monitor valve exposure in service while the valves are installed and has formed a basis for pro-actively highlighting and communicating abnormal conditions which can potentially have a detrimental impact on the valve. This approach not only allows for verifying optimal valve and coating selection based on operational philosophy, but also contributes to driving the valve repair costs down as there is an active approach to “manage” valve exposure, rather than waiting for when there is a valve-related issue. MOGAS strives to continuously improve on valve designs and coatings, thereby setting the benchmark for performance on quality products, and capitalizing on its vast experience of installed base worldwide. MOGAS has also diversified its Autoclave services significantly over the last decade by strategic acquisition of two technology-focused companies, including Brenco, A Division of MOGAS, which enables them to expand into solution offerings in the adjacent equipment market. MOGAS is excited to engage with Ambatovy on these new opportunities, adding further value to the operation and in the process, build upon the current foundation of partnership excellence. www.mogas.com

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the ALBI programme, we also train and provide mentoring support to Small-and-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for them to be able to meet high-quality standards and international norms, including in health and safety, human rights, and environmental stewardship.”

“IN 2010 WE ESTABLISHED THE AMBATOVY TRAINING CENTER. THIS TRAINING IS CONTRIBUTING TO A LOCAL LABOUR POOL FOR FUTURE MINING AND INDUSTRIAL PROJECTS THAT COULD COME TO MADAGASCAR.”

A national technician in the process plant.

POSITIVE IMPACT

Ambatovy’s engagement in Madagascar has a societywide impact. The company has introduced a significant Corporate Social Responsibility programme at the community level that ensures that its social and economic investments contribute to the development of nearby communities. It includes

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An operator stands in front of one of the Mine site excavators.

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active community engagement; promotion of livelihoods and income-generating activities for farmers’ associations and local cooperatives; support for education, community health and safety activities in its zones of intervention; compensation for any losses or damages that may have been incurred; and preservation of cultural heritage. “In addition, with the Government, we established the Social Investment Fund (SIF), in which Ambatovy invested US$25 million. The SIF has supported a range of social and infrastructure projects, developed and implemented in collaboration with the local and national authorities.” In 2018, Ambatovy paid a total of US$43.4 million in various taxes to the Malagasy Government (including royalties). “To ensure that our royalty payments have significant, lasting and positive impacts in Madagascar, we are working with a local NGO and with local authorities and communities to promote good governance and to provide communities with capacity building and project management support. This will ensure that our royalties contribute to real sustainable development,” Mr Macnaughton points out. “We also collaborate with local and regional officials as well as communities on emergency preparedness and response planning for industrial risks and natural disasters, including support for relief efforts during the current Covid-19 pandemic,” he further affirms. Ambatovy also participates in a number of voluntary initiatives, such as Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM), an initiative of the Mining Association of Canada to help companies improve their sustainability

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AMBATOVY

performance; Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI); and Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR). The company was a pilot project of the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program that ran from 2004 to 2018 - a

collaboration of approximately 50 companies, financial institutions, governments and civil society organizations, aimed to develop and test best practices for conservation and biodiversity offsets by following the mitigation hierarchy.

“IN COLLABORATION WITH THE GOVERNMENT, WE ESTABLISHED THE SOCIAL INVESTMENT FUND (SIF), IN WHICH AMBATOVY INVESTED US$25 MILLION. THE SIF HAS SUPPORTED A RANGE OF SOCIAL AND INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS, DEVELOPED AND IMPLEMENTED IN COLLABORATION WITH THE LOCAL AND NATIONAL AUTHORITIES.”

SUSTAINING BIO-DIVERSITY

As a responsible mining enterprise, Ambatovy is committed to upholding stringent environmental standards including the Equator Principles and the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation Performance Standards. To meet and surpass these requirements and commitments, Ambatovy has developed a comprehensive approach to environmental management, which will ensure compliance, reduce residual impacts, and mitigate risks. Ambatovy is set to restore a multifunctional forest on the Mine’s footprint through progressive revegetation with the original species, with an industrial-scale production

Supporting education is one of the main areas of Ambatovy CSR interventions.

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Smart Engineers, Smart Data

Brown is the New Green TM

Looking into the future’s new reality, it is clear that mining and metallurgical facilities will increasingly focus on asset reliability and durability, with the strengthening of environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements being an integral part of sound asset management. With decades of experience in brownfield engineering in partnership with many different client sites, the Norda Stelo team offers recognized know-how and unique experience in the field of existing asset management, thus increasing the service life of assets, while evaluating their condition and promoting proactive risk management. At Norda Stelo, we believe that “Brown IS the New Green” and that by restoring, enhancing equipment performance and extending the life of existing facilities, a positive impact on the environment and climate change is achieved, and significant value is added to clients’ assets. Asset Durability is an innovative indicator that takes into account physical asset management, biodiversity and climate change, all of which are managed through the delicate balance of Costs, Risks, Performance and Governance.

New digital tool for managing assets As we move into the Digital transformation era, Norda Stelo is aware of the importance of big or smart data to help with diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive analysis, combining human knowledge, thought process and experience to its collaborative asset management platform developed for all types of assets. This platform provides a clear image of the actual condition of assets in addition to generating maximum data and information as part of the platform’s analytical tools and the engineers’ cutting-edge expertise. This tool delivers dynamic monitoring of the assets’ condition over time. Risk levels, residual service life and CAPEX predictions are continually updated as operating parameters change or new inspection data become available. The impact of improved maintenance practices on the residual service life may also be integrated into the system. With access to continually updated, in-depth information, managers and engineers have the tools they need to make the right decisions and ultimately enhance the service life of their assets.

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" A data lake can be interpreted or used in many ways, but only human know-how and experience can provide true meaning and value to this data. And that’s what Norda Stelo brings to its clients. " Sophie Boisvert, P. Eng. Vice-President Resources and Industry

Who are we? We’re a Canadian employee-owned engineering firm founded in 1963 with operations in North America, Africa, the Middle East and in the South Pacific region. We at Norda Stelo promote the development of high-level expertise while meeting the needs of an evolving industry in an ever-changing world. We are a nonconventional engineering firm looking to create high value for our clients, while combining digital technologies, environment, social and governance (ESG) in the integration process. We are seeking to create long-term partnerships with clients who share our vision, our values and our business model.

" We took the gamble that our future would depend on mobilizing everyone around the Norda Stelo Project, which puts our employees and clients at the heart of our company’s interests. With the support of our employees and clients like Dynatec Madagascar SA, we have become a distinctive firm within the industry. " - Alex Brisson, CEO

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AMBATOVY

nursery operating as part of the plan, as well as working with villages nurseries that were set up for this purpose. The company’s pipeline avoids native forests wherever possible and only passes through near-primary zonal forest within the first two km of the Mine Site. The focus for the Plant Site is the treatment of process wastewater through the neutralization process to meet national and international standards for discharge. Mr Macnaughton insists that environmental protection and sustainability are a core part of the business. The company has a robust Environment Programme in place, with extensive activities in biodiversity, conservation efforts and offsets, and works closely with communities near its sites to ensure they are involved in the protection of the environment and

conservation activities as well as in responsible ecosystems services management. “Our mine is located within the biodiversity “hotspot” of Madagascar. By employing the mitigation hierarchy put forward by the former Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program, we are committed to no net loss, and preferably a net gain, in biodiversity through our extensive offset programme that includes 18,000 ha of conservation areas. These areas have among the lowest rate of deforestation in the country and are being sustainably managed in collaboration with local communities and NGOs,” he explains. “Despite the challenging times that we are currently facing, we remain committed to sustainability,” he further affirms. “Ambatovy is special in this respect. I have been working

Plant Nursery.

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AMBATOVY

An Ambatovy representative disucusses with two local farmers.

“DESPITE THE CHALLENGING TIMES THAT WE ARE CURRENTLY FACING, WE REMAIN COMMITTED TO SUSTAINABILITY. I HAVE BEEN WORKING IN THE MINING SECTOR AROUND THE WORLD FOR 30 YEARS AND I CAN TRULY SAY THAT THIS ORGANISATION HAS INVESTED MORE IN ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, SUSTAINABILITY AND BIODIVERSITY THAN ANY OTHER PROJECT I HAVE WORKED FOR.” BUSINESSFOCUSMAGAZINE.COM

in the mining sector around the world for 30 years and I can truly say that this organisation has invested more in environmental management, sustainability and bio-diversity than any other project I have worked for. This reflects not only the special location in Madagascar but also the philosophy of the shareholders and the Ambatovy management.”

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SUPPORTING GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT IN MADAGASCAR At EnerMech, we invest in the communities we call home. Our global family promotes an inclusive culture that supports the needs of the people and places in which we work. This means supporting causes that are close to the hearts of our colleagues in Madagascar.

71% of our workforce on the Ambatovy project are local technicians

72

LOCAL We purchase all our consumables locally, contributing to regional growth in Tamatave

unskilled local labourers trained as certified scaffolders, UHP blasters and painters

SUPPORT We provide essentials to a local primary school

GLOBALLY DELIVERING: PROCESS, INDUSTRIAL & VALVES | INTEGRITY MANAGEMENT PIPELINES & SUBSEA | MECHANICAL, ELECTRICAL & INSTRUMENTATION | CRANES & LIFTING HYDRAULICS | COMPLETIONS & COMMISSIONING | MAINTENANCE | EQUIPMENT RENTAL | TRAINING enermech.com

The Group operates through its four Aircraft Operating Certificates in Mauritius, Mozambique, Costa Rica, South Africa and its 3 Aircraft Maintenance Organisations in Costa Rica, South Africa and the Czech Republic. Our headquarters are based in Mauritius, with operational and maintenance line bases spread across the globe, including Uganda, Air-Tec Global provides aviation services to the mining, oil CAR, Madagascar, DRC, South Sudan, Laos, Algeria, Nigeria, Djibouti, and gas, humanitarian and conservation sectors. Our core Mozambique, Tunisia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Western Sahara and business is providing focused turnkey solutions to our South Africa. worldwide clients who require our tailor made ACMI aircraft leases. We pride ourselves as being the best niche aviation We invite you to contact us at +230 467 5559 or visit our us at www.air-tecm.com contract Company globally. Our team of approximately 300 staff, representing 19 different nationalities, operate our 36 Beechcraft 200/1900D and versatile LET 410 aircraft in more than 18 countries globally. We are driven to exceed both our client and our regulator expectations through a commitment to our people, to aviation safety and to our quality standards.

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AMBATOVY

ENERMECH At EnerMech, we provide long-term and project-based support across all key stages of an asset’s life; we deliver fully integrated solutions across a range of mechanical, electrical, instrumentation and integrity management services to the global energy and infrastructure markets. Our offering is simple yet powerful - 10 key services, delivered with a holistic view, providing improved safety, reduced costs and complexity. By sharing lessons learned, adopting best practices and engineering innovative solutions, we drive efficiencies and help deliver on the Ambatovy vision, to create lasting prosperity and to contribute significantly to sustainable development in Madagascar. Running a safe and socially responsible business that drives innovation, enhances well-being and contributes positively to the environments in which we operate is non-negotiable. Competence development plays a big part in our culture, we believe that continual upskilling, and training is the result of a strong safety culture, which reflects in our Ambatovy work with no LTIs (Loss time injuries) across 320,000 person-hours to date. We are renowned for our agility, responding to changes in fast-moving environments to help improve safety, increase efficiencies and minimize downtime. Visit enermech.com to find out more. www.enermech.com

Occupational Health & Safety Environmental Protection Process Safety

Specialized in the protection of the environment, health and safety in the work place, and safety risk, Neodyme Australia offers a wide range of services providing technical expertise and quality delivery for all types of activities (large to micro companies, private or public sector). Néodyme Australia: Australia: Sébastien HUGO, Managing Director 48A Shepherd Street, Wynnum, QLD 4178, Australia Tel: +61 450 094 947 Email: s.hugo@neodyme.com.au www.neodyme.com.au

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THE MOST SUCCESSFUL MINING OPERATION

Today, Ambatovy is already a major contributor to Madagascar’s national prosperity and a significant source of revenue for its people and government. During its lifetime, Ambatovy will generate important economic and social benefits through the payment of taxes and royalties, investment in infrastructure, job creation, local business development, and technology transfer as well as training, education, and health-related programmes. Although there are no plans for immediate business expansion, the company invests US$80 million - US$100 million each year into its facilities to keep them in good condition. At the moment, efforts are focused on getting ready for the safe re-start in early 2021 after the operation was temporarily suspended due to Covid-19, says Mr Macnaughton. “Restarting the mine and the plant is our priority right now. Still, time has not been lost. We have taken the opportunity to address a few technical issues in the plant and will be up and running early next year.”

“WE BELIEVE THAT WE CAN PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE FOR MADAGASCAR AS AN AMBASSADOR FOR FUTURE FOREIGN INVESTMENT. THE SUCCESS OF AMBATOVY SHOULD BE A STRONG ENDORSEMENT FOR COMPANIES CONSIDERING AN INVESTMENT IN THE COUNTRY.” BUSINESS FOCUS MAGAZINE | 35


AMBATOVY

Workers in the mine site control room.

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AMBATOVY The Ambatovy Plant site, located in Toamasina, Madagascar.

Moving forward, he insists that it will be important for Ambatovy to maintain its social licence to operate with a robust environmental programme, strong community engagement and effective relations with authorities and stakeholders. “We will also continue to enhance the level of mutual understanding between Madagascar and Ambatovy, and to strengthen collaboration with partners to ensure significant, lasting and positive impacts in the communities where we work.” But the company’s role is set to be more far-reaching, setting an example for other investors, affirms Mr Macnaughton. “We believe that we can play an important role for Madagascar as an ambassador for future foreign investment. The success of Ambatovy should be a strong endorsement for companies considering an investment in the country. For Madagascar, future foreign investment in the resources sector and other industries is one of the keys to sustainable economic development for the country.” In the medium and long term, the company’s vision is for Ambatovy to be recognised as the most successful nickel laterite operation worldwide, in line with its mission ‘Together in Madagascar, we sustainably deliver value, producing highquality nickel and cobalt’.

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BIOCERES CROP SOLUTIONS CORPORATION

WE LEARN HOW THIS AGRI-TECH COMPANY IS LOOKING TO CREATE A CARBON-NEUTRAL FARMING FUTURE.

BUILDING THE FUTURE PROJECT MANAGED BY: TIM GARWOOD

Bioceres Crop Solutions Corporation is an agri-tech company dedicated to developing solutions for preserving the environment. It has been operating for over 40 years and as of last year entered the New York Stock Exchange.

B

ioceres has evolved into a fully-integrated provider of crop productivity technologies, designed with the specific goal of easing the transition to carbon-neutral agriculture. The agri-tech company offers solutions that give farmers and other stakeholders economic incentives to adopt environmentally friendly production practices. Bioceres’ unique biotech platform has high-impact, patented technologies for seeds and microbial ag-inputs, on top of the next generation in crop nutrition and protection solutions. Bioceres also offers its HB4® – drought-tolerant seed technology program and is bringing digital solutions to support growers’ decisions and provide end-to-end traceability for production outputs.

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The ag-input industry, which is worth about $300 billion globally, is broken up into three segments- crop nutrition, crop protection, and seeds, all of which are operated by Bioceres. “We are developing microorganisms to help crops utilize atmospheric nitrogen instead of depending on chemical fertilisers as the predominant nutrient source,” says Federico Trucco, CEO of Bioceres. “That provides an environmental benefit but also a cost-effective solution for farmers in the crop nutrition space. In addition to biological nutrition, we are utilizing microbeading technology to deploy fertilisers more effectively, reducing application rates to

Federico Trucco, CEO of Bioceres.

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BIOCERES CROP SOLUTIONS CORPORATION

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GLOBAL SOLUTIONS FOR THE AGROINDUSTRY

www.agrality.com @

We aim at exceeding expectations in providing solutions for the global agribusiness community, through our operations in both hemispheres. Biotechnology Services

Breeding & Field Testing

Regulatory Affairs

Seed Production

Seed Processing & Conditioning

AGRALITY We are Agrality. We focus on delivering a comprehensive solution for the global agribusiness community tailored to the needs of the industry, by providing excellent services to our clients. Our operations in both hemispheres, encompassing domestic and counter-season projects in Argentina and the United States, allow the arrival of our clients’ products to the market and the acceleration of production cycles. Founded in 2016, we are positioned as the second company in hybrid seed production services in Argentina. Since 2020, we have been part of the Bioceres Tech Services portfolio, the arm of the Bioceres Group dedicated to R&D (research and development) services and high-quality seed production. We perform field, plant, greenhouse and laboratory activities, aiming at satisfying the needs of our clients in the areas of research and product development, which include seeds and biotechnological projects, biological inputs, nutrition solutions and crop protection, as well as in the supply chain, through pre-commercial and commercial seed production solutions. We aim at exceeding expectations by providing a wide range of solutions to enhance our customers‘ results through biotechnology services, regulatory affairs, breeding and field testing, seed production and seed processing and conditioning. We carry out our operations with a team of multidisciplinary professionals with experience linked to each activity and state-of-the-art technology and equipment, which meet the highest industry standards, ensuring that we reach or exceed our clients’ in-house operations. Working with Agrality is like working with an extension of your own company.

www.agrality.com

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BIOCERES CROP SOLUTIONS CORPORATION

OPERATING GLOBALLY

about one-quarter of those used with conventional fertilisers, minimising waste in the nutrition of crops, and avoiding nutrients leaking all the way to water sourcing or contaminating other environments.” These are just some of the solutions Bioceres is offering the market. Within the crop protection segment, Bioceres is developing an alternative to fungicidal chemicals in the form of another fungus that serves as a biological means of controlling destructive fungi. It’s equally effective, doesn’t generate resistance and has less environmental

impact. Meanwhile, in the seed segment, Bioceres is known globally as the first company to achieve technology for drought tolerance in soybeans and wheat. “That is the reason why we’re globally known,” Trucco says. “What we did there was incorporate a genetic system derived from sunflowers into these crops.” Bioceres’ portfolio is highly differentiated with over 200 patents. “It gives us a unique position in the fastest-growing subsegments within each of these areas,” Trucco points out.

“WE ARE DEVELOPING MICROORGANISMS TO HELP CROPS UTILIZE ATMOSPHERIC NITROGEN INSTEAD OF DEPENDING ON CHEMICAL FERTILISERS AS THE PREDOMINANT NUTRIENT SOURCE. THAT PROVIDES AN ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFIT BUT ALSO A COST-EFFECTIVE SOLUTION FOR FARMERS IN THE CROP NUTRITION SPACE.” BUSINESSFOCUSMAGAZINE.COM

Working in the agri-tech sector brings unique challenges with it, particularly if the business is international in nature, with a variety of environmental and regulatory issues to navigate. “We’ve achieved a lot but there’s still a lot we need to achieve,” Trucco explains. “China is the main customer of our soybeans. We also need to be approved in Brazil and other locations. These approvals take time and are often multi-milliondollar investments, but I would argue we are also racing against time. We have a deteriorating planet, and we don’t have much time left to turn that around. So that’s the number one challenge that we face. How do we deploy these solutions as quickly as possible?” The key to delivering these solutions in a time-effective manner is a combination of company culture and nurturing skills and expertise. “To deal with these things you need to create human capital and build an organisation that thrives on challenge,” Trucco points out. “You can become blocked by the immensity of what we’re trying to accomplish. Organizations need to understand that global goals can’t be achieved by any one person or entity, but only by a collaborative approach.” Bioceres does not intend to swoop in and solve these problems all by itself. The word Trucco keeps using is an “ecosystem” of businesses and organisations. “We use the rules of enterprises and capitalism to creative incentives but at the end of the day we need prosperity to build trust,” Trucco says. “We build an ecosystem in which we’re participating by learning and remaining agile without losing the robustness

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BIOCERES CROP SOLUTIONS CORPORATION

that some of these operations require around biosafety and human health.”

A SENSE OF PURPOSE

Of course, building the human capital that makes this ecosystem possible is a challenge in itself, and Trucco insists it takes a special kind of person to join the Bioceres team. “We try to identify people with a high sense of purpose, that don’t want to work just for the economic compensation, even though that is always important,” Trucco says. “We want people interested in building for the greater good. I’m a true believer in that and it’s the first layer we have to go through in recruitment. Finding people who know we serve a greater purpose. At the end of the day, we’re all united by that purpose and need to collaborate in a selfless manner.”

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BIOCERES CROP SOLUTIONS CORPORATION

It’s this instinct that drives the philosophy which permeates everything Bioceres does. “The more you give the more you get,” Trucco says simply. “These aspects are well understood and are part of a consensus approach to recruiting managers and senior-level personnel, but I believe we’ve been built as an organisation that has these values imprinted from day one. The key is to preserve them, not to lose them as we grow. That is a constant challenge that

we have. How do we preserve these values when we interview new talents?” It’s something Trucco has considered at length as the company has grown from 20 people to more than 500. “We don’t want employees,” he says. “We want partners.” Looking forwards, Trucco doesn’t pretend to have a crystal ball, but he has high hopes. “The only way you can be right about predicting the future is to be a participant in the

building of that future,” Trucco insists. “We can use the digital revolution and the revolution in the life sciences to accelerate our development, but the specifics of how they come together is hard to predict. We see ourselves playing an important part in the process. At the end of the day, I believe we can rebuild the bridge between urban society and farmers in the rural world.”

“THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN BE RIGHT ABOUT PREDICTING THE FUTURE IS TO BE A PARTICIPANT IN THE BUILDING OF THAT FUTURE.”

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NATIONAL CEREALS & PRODUCE BOARD

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NATIONAL CEREALS & PRODUCE BOARD

THE NATIONAL CEREALS AND PRODUCE BOARD, A KEY PLAYER IN SECURING KENYA’S NATIONAL FOOD RESERVES, IS BEING REFORMED TO FURTHER ENHANCE ITS SERVICES.

IN CHARGE OF

NATIONAL FOOD RESERVES

PROJECT MANAGED BY: JOHN HOLLIMAN

The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) plays an important role in the country, as an agent of the government in the procurement, management, and distribution and sale of Strategic Food Reserves (SFR) and Famine Relief Stocks. The Board also handles subsidised fertiliser on behalf of the government, and trades commercially in grains, provides grain post-harvest services, deals in farm inputs like seeds, and offers clearing and forwarding services.

T

he history of the NCPB can be traced back to 1939. The colonial government wanted an agency that would be in charge of all foods and marketing of produce and established the Maize and Produce Control. The MPC continued with this mandate but under different names until Kenya’s independence. “The predecessor of today’s Board was established immediately after Kenya received its independence in 1964, with the task of ensuring that the country’s grains are marketed appropriately and the farmers get value for money,” says Managing Director Joseph Kimote.

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He explained that the institution was amalgamated with the Wheat Board and the Maize and Produce Board in 1979 to form the National Cereals and Produce Board. The merger got legal backing through an Act of Parliament (Cap 338) in 1985, making the institution a Statutory Board under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Cooperatives. Since then, the Board has further developed to make sure that it reflects Kenya’s needs in terms of food reserves.

REFORMED TO SERVE

The Board is now undergoing changes to better meet the country’s current requirements.

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• Dog Patrol • Electric Fencing • Razor Wire Fencing

Cobra Security Company Ltd, Cobra House, Langata Road, No. 531 Karen Tel: +254 358 5025 / 0703 100 99, Email: info@cobrasecurityltd.com

COBRA SECURITY Cobra security Company is an indigenous company registered in Kenya. We offer a complete range of security services delivered by a team of highly motivated, fully licensed and vetted security professionals who provide the foremost in security. We offer both short and long-term security services. We have manned and unmanned guards, canine services, CCTV and access control installations among other services. We help deter security threats and protect your people and assets. Cobra is setting new goals every time to provide our customers with the highest quality security solutions and facility management. We are cost-effective with quality services. Your security and peace of mind is our priority. We are ISO certified and a member of Kenya security industry association (KSIA). We support our clients to evaluate and understand the risks they and their organisations may face, we to mitigate these risks wherever possible, and provide the tools to fully prepare clients on how to react successfully to the crisis should they occur. Our vision is to become a leading security service provider in Kenya. We endeavour in providing efficient, effective, and sustainable services in the security industry. Cobra maintains extremely detailed hiring and training procedure for all security officers. This includes conducting background checks, education, home address, and other credentials. We also take our security officers through a safety and general orders orientation, including fire- fighting techniques and first-aid, as well as personal etiquette and customer care. Call or write to us today to tailor a security service for you. 0703 100 99 or info@cobrasecurityltd.com

www.cobrasecurityltd.com

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NATIONAL CEREALS & PRODUCE BOARD

Under the new reforms, the Strategic Food Reserves (SFR) function will be placed under the NCPB as a new division called National Food Reserves. This division will be in charge of food security and the National Food Balance Sheet Committee (FBS). “Apart from the functional changes, the reforms aim to ensure that the institution is commercially competitive - although we are a state corporation, we operate on commercial terms,” says Joseph Kimote. The NCPB Trading division will run all the Board’s commercial functions such as leasing of storage space and warehousing, buying and selling farm inputs and grain, and operating the NCPB’s stores under the Warehouse Receipt System (WRS). It will also operate a commercial agricultural hub that will be a one-stop-shop to coordinate information and a network of value chains to strengthen input and services delivery and enhance market access. It will achieve this by clustering registered small-medium holder farmers and agrodealers around aggregation centres (cooperatives or warehouses) for storage, bulk inputs sourcing, marketing and extension support. In addition, the NCPB will provide the secretariat to the Food Balance Sheet Committee, a body that will advise the government on food security matters. Mr Kimote affirms that rather than being in competition with the private sector, NCPB is looking at partnerships. “As an institution, we have been around for many decades and we pride ourselves on helping to develop

the country’s infrastructure, including silos, warehouses and grain facilities. As we do not have funding from the Exchequer, we need to operate with a private-sector mentality.” “Therefore, we strive to partner with the private sector to create synergies and pursue win-win strategies. Such scenarios would include publicprivate partnerships (PPP) whereby private entities can lease our spaces and silos at competitive rates to conduct their commercial activities. In some cases, we can also go for a revenue-sharing formula, where we invite the private sector to provide capital to refurbish some of our facilities.”

FACING THE CHALLENGE

Joining forces will be important to deal with the consequences of today’s unprecedented market developments. Mr Kimote explains that in response to the global pandemic, the government has formulated a post-Covid recovery strategy, whereby all sectors will get some level of support to bounce back. That support will be needed, as the agricultural sector faces empty warehouses and silos, previously leased to entities that have gone out of business or lost cash flow, and reduced post-harvest activities as people turned to traditional (and cheaper) methods. The fertilisers uptake was also less aggressive as a result of farmers’ reduced resources, says Mr Kimote.

“WE STRIVE TO PARTNER WITH THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO CREATE SYNERGIES AND PURSUE WIN-WIN STRATEGIES.” BUSINESS FOCUS MAGAZINE | 47


NATIONAL CEREALS & PRODUCE BOARD

“On an internal level, we have made sure that our people stay safe - social distancing, minimised human interactions and periodic communications to keep everyone informed are now the new normal. We have also put together a Covid-19 response committee to make sure we are compliant with governmental Covid protocols throughout our network of 110 sites across the country, and making sure that our customers also comply with those protocols. As a result, our infection rate has remained low.” Still, the pandemic has not eliminated the everyday requirements and the need to continue to operate to the country’s benefit. Important topics such as CSR and sustainability remain high on the NCPB’s agenda, and the Board continues to actively promote financial and environmental sustainability including green energy and re-cultivation. A number of risk management programmes have been introduced to cover areas where the Board feels exposed, to secure continued operation and staff safety and wellbeing.

SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT

Speaking about the future, Mr Kimote affirms that the investment plans remain unaffected. The NCPB plans to invest Kshs.1.9 billion (approx.

US$ 1.9M) over the next three years in modernising its installations across the country and is currently in the process of mobilising the funding. “We will be playing a wider national role in managing the national food reserves and the entire food basket. Innovations will be required in this respect, with a focus on the national food balance sheet and Warehouse Receipt System. This means that as opposed to outright buying from farmers the produce will be stored, with farmers getting receipts that can be traded through the commodity exchange programme (COMEX) which is at an advanced stage of formalization. NCPB also plans to intensify its post-harvesting activities, aiming to bring down post-harvest losses by 10% by improving storage facilities,” he says, summarising the tasks ahead. “With the new reforms, we are changing for the better. We want to add value to the customers. As key participants in the food management and food security value chain of this country, we want to be part of the solution. In a nutshell, we want to ensure that we can sustainably manage the partnerships within the food security value chain to the common good of everyone in this country in line with the ‘Big 4’ commitments and the Vision 2030 aspirations.”

“WE WILL BE PLAYING A WIDER NATIONAL ROLE IN MANAGING THE NATIONAL FOOD RESERVES AND THE ENTIRE FOOD BASKET. INNOVATIONS WILL BE REQUIRED IN THIS RESPECT, WITH A FOCUS ON THE NATIONAL FOOD BALANCE SHEET AND WAREHOUSE RECEIPT SYSTEM.” 48 | BUSINESS FOCUS MAGAZINE

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NATIONAL CEREALS & PRODUCE BOARD

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SHEREMETYEVO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

SINCE 2017, THE AIRPORT HAS BEEN INVESTING IN NEW INFRASTRUCTURE FACILITIES AIMED AT CREATING ATTRACTIVE CONDITIONS FOR AIRLINES AND HIGH-QUALITY PASSENGER SERVICES, TO JOIN THE RANKS OF THE LARGEST AIR HUBS IN THE WORLD.

AIMING HIGH PROJECT MANAGED BY: GARY SMITH

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SHEREMETYEVO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Sheremetyevo International Airport, the largest Russian airport and one of the biggest in the world in terms of traffic, launched an extensive airport development programme a few years ago, which is set to continue, despite the envisaged aviation changes resulting from the recent pandemic.

S

The passenger entrance at Sheremetyevo’s Terminal B

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heremetyevo International Airport, located some 30 km north-west of central Moscow, is now the busiest airport in Russia and ranks second in Europe in terms of the growth of its route network. Originally built as a military airbase, it was converted into a civilian airport in 1959. Over the years the airport has been expanded and modernised, becoming a gateway to international sports, cultural and political events. The airport served more than 460,000 international passengers during the 1980 Olympic Games. In the late 2000s, Sheremetyevo saw rapid expansion and in 2019 its six terminals covering about 570,000 m2 handled almost 50 million passengers. “Sheremetyevo has undergone extensive development in the last few years,” acknowledged Chairman of the Board of Directors Mr Alexander Ponomarenko, a successful Russian businessman and investor. With a background in banking, real estate and seaports, he moved into airport construction when his company TPS Avia won the tender in 2013 to develop the NTC (Northern Terminal Complex) at Sheremetyevo and committed to investing US$1 billion in the airport’s development. This included a new passenger terminal, a new freight terminal, a refuelling area and a tunnel linking the passenger terminal to three other terminals. In February 2016, TPS Avia secured a 66% stake in Sheremetyevo Airport and committed to

further investment in upgrading and expanding the airport’s infrastructure. “We saw this as a very attractive investment opportunity, and it came when the airport was in an unstable situation, heavily burdened with debts, to modernise one of the main terminals. We financially secured not only four projects in the NTC but also future development,” said Mr Ponomarenko. He explained that as Sheremetyevo International Airport was the official airport of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, a lot of work had to be done to make passengers comfortable and welcome. “The construction of Terminal B was a quantum leap in terms of infrastructure and service improvement, implemented on time, and increasing capacity to handle passengers for the tournament.”

INVESTING IN DEVELOPMENT

Between 2017 and 2020, a stateof-the-art cargo complex, third refuelling complex, Terminal B, inter-terminal tunnel, new car parks, large hangar complex for aircraft maintenance for Aeroflot and other facilities were all commissioned. Over that period, investment has amounted to over 1.2 billion dollars, transforming the airport into one of the best and most efficient hubs in the world. In January 2020, the airport achieved yet another milestone, opening its brand-new Terminal C designed for international traffic. The terminal, built as part of a long-term airport development programme and

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BAGGAGE HANDLING SYSTEMS

BEYOND AUTOMATION Alstef Group is a proud partner of Sheremetyevo International Airport having delivered a high-speed baggage handling system and providing ongoing system operation and maintenance services. Alstef Group continuously strive to design agile, innovative new products to integrate with our trusted range of automated turnkey systems. We design and engineer intelligence into our solutions and provide our customers with the long-term benefits of tailor-made automated baggage handling systems that are future proofed for scalability, flexibility and efficiency.


SHEREMETYEVO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

forming part of the Northern Terminal Complex (Terminals B, C) of Sheremetyevo Airport, has the capacity to accommodate 20 million passengers per year. “As you can imagine, commissioning a terminal is a complex thing and we wanted to avoid any mishaps. We did our best to ensure the smooth operation of the new terminal - we ran a range of tests using volunteers to test and fine-tune all the systems and ensure their optimum efficiency,” noted Mr Ponomarenko. This has been fully achieved. The terminal complex comprises the main three-floor passenger terminal building with a total area of 127,375 square meters, and a roofed six-level parking lot for 2,500 vehicles that is connected to the terminal via a pedestrian crossing. Terminal С forms a single space together with Terminal B. Uniting the buildings under

Mr Alexander Ponomarenko, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Sheremetyevo Airports

An aerial view of Sheremetyevo’s Terminal D

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SHEREMETYEVO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

one roof was one of the toughest challenges of the entire construction cycle, said Mr Ponomarenko. This singlespace enables passengers to make use of the services and technical facilities offered by both terminals while allowing transfer passengers to move quickly between terminals through the transit area.

THE WAY FORWARD

While the airport has been forced to put certain investments on hold temporarily as a result

of the Covid-19 pandemic, the key projects planned for this year - the reconstruction of the airport’s first runway and the modernisation of its baggage handling system - will not be affected and both will be commissioned by the end of this year. Mr Ponomarenko affirmed that after the months of lockdown, traffic volume is slowly picking up again, and it is hoped that recovery will be achieved within the next twelve months. As one of the biggest and most

attractive employers in Russia with a staff of nearly 19,000, the airport’s development lies, to a great extent, in the hands of its staff. “The corporate culture, the quality of our personnel is very important to us. Only with the right people, their skills, commitment and dedication, their daily contributions, could we have achieved so much in the last few years.” And the achievements are indeed impressive: since 2017 saw Sheremetyevo top the ASQ ACI programme’s ranking

The Chagall Business Lounge in Sheremetyevo’s new International Terminal C.

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SHEREMETYEVO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

The view from the underground passenger train that connects Sheremetyevo’s southern and northern sectors. Trains depart every 4 minutes.

for customer service among the largest airports in Europe whose passenger traffic exceeded 40 million per year. According to an analytical study conducted by British company Stasher, Sheremetyevo was recognized as the best airport in the world and also earned an award for Number One in-flight punctuality in 2019. Forbes also rated Sheremetyevo as the most comfortable Russian airport in 2019. “We are a very well-run company with a hard-working, hands-on Board of Directors aiming to achieve further improvements and working toward our strategic goal of serving 100 million passengers

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per year by 2030. Today, Sheremetyevo Airport is the largest airport in Russia and a critical part of the global transportation system. Our leading position among Europe’s major airports in terms of flight punctuality and passenger service quality proves that the business strategy we have chosen is a sound one.” “We have worked hard to raise Sheremetyevo’s profile and most of all, to improve the passenger experience. The fact that we have been voted the Number One airport in Europe in terms of quality of service confirms that we have done a good job.”

“WE HAVE WORKED HARD TO RAISE SHEREMETYEVO’S PROFILE AND MOST OF ALL, TO IMPROVE THE PASSENGER EXPERIENCE. THE FACT THAT WE HAVE BEEN VOTED THE NUMBER ONE AIRPORT IN EUROPE IN TERMS OF QUALITY OF SERVICE CONFIRMS THAT WE HAVE DONE A GOOD JOB.” BUSINESS FOCUS MAGAZINE | 55


DARK FIBRE AFRICA

SINCE WE LAST SPOKE WITH DARK FIBRE AFRICA, THE COMPANY HAS BEEN UNDERGOING AN EXCITING EXPANSION.

BRINGING LIGHT TO DARK FIBRE AFRICA PROJECT MANAGED BY: JAMIE WAITE

“Dark Fibre Africa” is a term used in the telecoms industry for unused optical fibre in fibre optic communication. It’s a by-word for the unused potential network capacity of telecommunications infrastructure- and potential is what Dark Fibre Africa has always been about.

D

ark Fibre Africa’s mission is a simple one. Get South Africa connected. As the country’s first open-access wholesale connectivity provider, Dark Fibre Africa are not selling the fibre they lay directly to the consumer, but are instead opening their infrastructure to anyone who is licensed in the telecommunications industry. It’s an approach that means Dark Fibre Africa can lay the groundwork for Africa’s future, today. The company has been running for 12 years, during which it has rolled out more than 14,000 kilometres of telecommunications

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infrastructure in South Africa. With a focus on wholesale, MNOs, operators and service providers, the company has over 200 clients. These clients, including large, medium and small businesses, enjoy the benefits of Dark Fibre Africa’s services and the capacity they need to expand their infrastructure at a minimal cost. Dark Fibre Africa’s infrastructure has been used by conglomerates, big businesses, telecoms operators and internet service providers, and even municipalities and governments. These customers, in turn, can pass access to that infrastructure on to the public at large.

OPENING UP ZIMBABWEAN POTENTIAL

While Dark Fibre Africa has already done a great deal of good work in South Africa, they are already looking to expand their reach. When we spoke to the company’s Chief Operations Officer, Wesley Nash, last year, he explained Dark Fibre Africa’s ambitions. “We’ll expand into South Africa and other countries in the southern region of the continent,” he said. “We’re working in Zimbabwe currently, and that will add value to other countries too, not just South Africa.” Indeed, Zimbabwe’s Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, POTRAZ, has just granted Dark Fibre Africa an operating license, making it the first telecommunications provider in a decade to receive such a license. Dark Fibre

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DARK FIBRE AFRICA

Wesley Nash, Chief Operations Officer, Dark Fibre Africa.

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DARK FIBRE AFRICA

WIRED EARTH

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Africa received Internet Access Provider Class B licensing following the successful launch and proof of concept phase of Dark Fibre Africa’s Zimbabwe operations. The way is now clear for fully-fledged operations across Zimbabwe, as well as a nationwide network for the provision of licensed telecommunications services. The Dark Fibre Africa Group’s CEO, Thinus Mulder, has been pleased with the progress of Dark Fibre Africa Zimbabwe. “From the beginning, we have favoured a measured approach in our expansion to nations

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DARK FIBRE AFRICA

outside of South Africa,” he said. “We believe in the potential of Zimbabwe’s telecommunications industry, and therefore, we have identified it as a good place to invest in. The awarding of the licence further builds our confidence in this particular market.” DFA Zimbabwe’s CEO, Simon Chimutsotso, has also expressed excitement for the premium open-access services DFA Zimbabwe can offer the market.

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“We look forward to partnering with our targeted customer base to enhance their efficiency and competitiveness,” Chimutsotso has said. “By fulfilling their physical fibre-networkinfrastructure requirements and taking on the maintenance responsibilities, we enable them to focus on their core business of providing excellent valueadded telecommunication services to their customers.” He went on to say that DFA Zimbabwe had used the licensing period to deploy more resources towards understanding the market needs, building internal capabilities, and improving its business model to further enhance customers’ experience. “We are ready to fulfil our promise to the ICT sector and help bring about new, innovative offerings to the market,” said Chimutsotso. “We would like to thank our shareholders, POTRAZ, the Ministry of ICT, the Government of Zimbabwe, and all our key stakeholders for the unwavering support as we sought to realise our vision for Zimbabwe. It has been a long journey and we are excited about the new opportunities that lie ahead.”

RAISING COMMUNITIES

One thing that has been abundantly clear looking at Dark Fibre Africa’s work is that it isn’t for its own sake. Dark Fibre Africa deeply believes in using technology to help uplift people and communities. This can be seen clearly in the company’s investment in skills

development. In 2017 Dark Fibre Africa decided to fund the learning of 40 students, 28 of whom were people living with disabilities, and half of whom were unemployed. Every one of these learners received a monthly stipend for the duration of their studies, and upon completion obtained an NQF 4 Project Management, opening the door to employment within the ICT industry. Among the projects Dark Fibre Africa has invested in are Irene Middle School, where the telecommunications company has sponsored, installed, managed, and maintained fibre optic cables. Thanks to Dark Fibre Africa’s efforts, school children have access to the Internet for school projects and can participate in subjects such as Media Studies. Dark Fibre Africa has also helped to support the Vastfonte Community Project. Working with the company’s subsidiaries, Dark Fibre Africa has installed a fibre link to a school in Hammanskraal to ensure that the school pupils from this underprivileged community also have access to the Internet. The company is also looking to create a platform for a top-rated school in Pretoria to connect and interact with neighbouring schools in disadvantaged areas like Mamelodi and Soshanguve through Project Sisonke. Dark Fibre Africa believes it is the responsibility of companies like theirs to collaborate with the government, other businesses and civil society to uplift and improve the quality of life for the communities they are working in. This is especially true of communities in rural areas. Through sustainable development and transformation Dark Fibre Africa seeks to empower black youth in the telecommunications space.

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IPNX

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IPNX

IPNX IS ONE OF NIGERIA’S FASTEST-GROWING INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES PROVIDING INNOVATIVE, WORLD-CLASS SERVICES FOR HOMES AND BUSINESSES.

THE FUTURE IS HERE PROJECT MANAGED BY: JOHN HOLLIMAN

ipNX has two decades of experience in the Nigerian ICT market, with fixed-wired (fibre) and fixed-wireless operations in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Ibadan. The company currently provides a number of solutions to various industries and market segments using industryleading technology, such as its very own Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) cable technology, as its core access network infrastructure and fixed wireless radio services (via licensed frequencies).

O

ur rollout into the fibre optic infrastructure which started in 2012 was a paradigm shift for the business, and our flagship product FOS (Fibre Optic Service), a premium broadband service, was designed to be a major step forward in terms of the high-speed Internet and voice connectivity that we brought to Nigeria,” says Kenechi Eneh, Divisional CEO ipNX Retail, explaining that beyond core connectivity solutions the company also specialises in the delivery of complementary IT solutions to offer added value to industries and market segments. While the company has developed fast, the first years were not easy, she points out. “At the beginning, we were

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faced with what I call a lack of proper consumer education. Having pioneered FTTH in Nigeria at the time when broadband connectivity was not commonplace, we were faced with a wide knowledge gap between the industry and consumers. It was not easy breaking into the market; a lot of education was required to even get access, to get consent from customers for us to be able to run cabling through to their premises, and securing the right-of-way approvals to get the deployment done was not a smooth process.” The other challenge was the lack of standard infrastructure to support the fibre optic network, which has significantly impacted capital expenditure. On the other hand, human resources were a challenge that the company has managed to tackle quickly, said Ms Eneh. “We worked with a lot of organisations that have done this before outside Nigeria and implemented training programmes to secure knowledge transfer. We have always paid a lot of attention to the recruitment process, looking for people not only with the right skills but also the right attitude to uphold the company’s culture and values.”

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IPNX

FLAGSHIP PRODUCT

The hard work has all paid off. Today, the company serves thousands of large and small business customers, operating more than 800km of cutting-edge fibre-optic cable infrastructure. ipNX is also a strategic and dependable service provider to the financial services sector, connecting all banks in Nigeria, the Central Bank, InterSwitch & NIBSS. In line with its corporate vision of being Africa’s preferred communications and IT enabler, ipNX has recently launched a new flagship series, tagged ‘FOS Xtreme’. The FOS Xtreme flagship was introduced into the market with two service plans, Xtreme100 and Xtreme200, offering speeds of 100Mbps and 200Mbps respectively. This offering for homes and SMEs is the first of its

kind in Nigeria, lending credence to ipNX’s reputation for being the industry’s pacesetter for technological innovation. Kenechi Eneh said: “More speed means more power and more productivity for our customers to be able to work, create, learn and play online without any inhibitions. The FOS Xtreme promise is to deliver the fastest internet access speed obtainable at any given time in Nigeria.” “We are at such a crucial time in history when productivity and output should not be affected by the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, thus as an innovative brand, we have invested in developing this novel series that will deliver the highest speed and quality of connection to subscribers.”

Kene Eneh, Divisional CEO ipNX Retail after receiving both awards from NiTA for the the 2020 Internet Service Provider of the Year & Broadband Service Provider of the Year.

As a global leading vendor providing comprehensive access solutions and network devices, Raisecom is proud to assist ipNX delivering ultra-broad band Triple Play services with extensive ISCOM6800 and HT series GPON system.

Email: info-africa@raisecom.com kevin.wang@mails.raisecom.com

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Tel: +86 10 82883305 www.raisecom.com

AWARDED COMPANY

Ms Eneh pointed out that the Covid-19 pandemic has made the case for a vibrant ICT stronger. “Successful businesses can turn a challenge into an opportunity, and this has been our Covid-19 experience. The pandemic has affected our operation but more importantly, it has highlighted the importance of a reliable Internet connection, especially at home. We have been able to maximise that opportunity while being emphatic with our customers. For example, we did waive some of the entry costs, and gave concessions to customers irrespective of their income bracket to make sure they have reliable access to internet services.” In the middle of the pandemic, ipNX entered into a partnership with the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), which is set to fund two projects that will help deliver fast and reliable Internet to thousands of Nigerian households using

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IPNX

U.S. technological solutions. Specifically, USTDA committed funding to a feasibility study to help ipNX Nigeria Limited expand its fibre-optic network to more than 200,000 residences in Lagos and other locations, including Abuja & Port Harcourt. And that was not the last achievement in the difficult year of 2020. Months after a successful launch of its flagship series FOS Xtreme, ipNX has been adjudged Internet Service Provider and Broadband Service Provider of the year respectively by organisers of the 6th edition of the Nigeria Technology Awards. Responding during the presentation of the awards, Kenechi Eneh said: “We dedicate these awards to all customers of ipNX. They are our pride, and they inspire us to be the innovative brand that we are today. We receive these awards with all humility while seeing it as a call to sustain our quality service offering to our customers, particularly at this critical time in history where reliable connectivity is a musthave for all, whether at home or

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the office. This award is indeed a testament to our continuous drive for leadership in the delivery of unrivalled Internet Services in the country.” She affirmed that as one of the fastest-growing ICT companies in Nigeria, ipNX will continue to increase broadband penetration in Nigeria to ensure that within a target period, most Nigerians will have access to its fibre-optic broadband. In the medium term, the company is set to expand its footprint to other countries.

“SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES CAN TURN A CHALLENGE INTO AN OPPORTUNITY, AND THIS HAS BEEN OUR COVID-19 EXPERIENCE.”

Left to right: Chris Oputteh (Head, Engineering), Kene Eneh (Divisional CEO, ipNX Retail), Christiana Okenla (Head, Customer Experience & Advocacy) & Najite Ikutegbe (Head, Product Management) at the presentation of the 2020 Internet Service Provider of the Year and Broadband Service Provider of the Year Awards to ipNX by NiTA Organizers.

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KBR

Doug Kelly, President for Technology, KBR.

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KBR

WE LEARN HOW KBR HAS FORGED AN INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIP THAT IS MORE THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS.

A WIN-WIN PARTNERSHIP PROJECT MANAGED BY: TIM GARWOOD

KBR is a company with a diverse offering in two business segments; Government and Technology Solutions. KBR provides high-end engineering, science and technology solutions and support to governments and companies worldwide.

experience to address the challenges our customers face from environmental regulations or sustainability initiatives.”

he Technology Solutions business at KBR deals in high-end engineering services, technologies and digitalisation solutions supplied to the fertiliser, refining, chemicals and inorganics sectors, as well as to the energy and industrial sectors. We have developed intellectual property and patents, internally and with our partners, to offer more than 70 technologies to the industry. We are leveraging our expertise to help our clients optimize the ongoing operation of their facilities using digital tools such as AI to support reliability-based maintenance.” “Our Government Solutions business provides engineering and mission support for clients such as NASA, the U.S. Department of Defence, and the U.K. Ministry of Defence. This business is growing and we just acquired another company called Centauri that provides high-level, sometimes-classified services and research,” explains

While KBR has a stable of worldleading talent and expertise, it appreciates the ways collaboration can unlock even greater value. This is why the company has recently inked a deal with Johnson Matthey to license a groundbreaking ammonia-methanol coproduction process. “I’ve been with KBR eleven years now and this alliance has brought in more interest than any other alliance in my KBR experience,” Kelly says. The foundation of the cooperation is based on one of KBR’s key competencies, their know-how around ammonia technology. “One of the market-leading technologies that has been with KBR since the beginning is our ammonia technology, which is used predominantly to generate fertilisers. It’s part of the food supply chain,” Kelly explains. “Then you’ve got a company, Johnson Matthey, who similarly is a market leader in methanol technology.”

T

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Doug Kelly, the company’s President for Technology. “We also provide consulting and advisory services to governments and companies for developing their renewable energy transition strategies,” Kelly tells us. “We deal with issues such as how to move from a hydrocarbon intensive industry into sustainable technologies like green ammonia. We’re really on the forefront.” To drive these sectors, KBR depends on having a deep pool of talent to draw from. Fortunately, its team contains some genuine leaders in the field. “Our people and their experience base are truly differentiated,” Kelly says. “We have people recognised as leaders not just within KBR but the industry as a whole. We also differentiate ourselves by using our abilities, experiences and technologies to provide solutions rather than products for our clients. We have technological know-how and

A GROUND-BREAKING PARTNERSHIP

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KBR

These two powerful knowledge-bases have come together to provide flexible solutions in response to a growing industry need. “Flexibility is one of the keywords clients are talking to us about with uncertainty at an all-time high,” Kelly says. “Clients want to adjust their operations efficiently to respond to market dynamics, and an idea our team had was to take this opportunity to put together our best-inclass ammonia technology with Johnson Matthey’s best-in-class methanol technology.” KBR and Johnson Matthey put their experts in a room together, metaphorically, obviously, under current restrictions, to create a flow sheet letting users produce more or less ammonia or methanol depending on the market.

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www.fbmhudson.com

“There are cross-synergies so it’s an integrated flow-sheet that allows us to have a reduced capital cost,” describes Kelly. “Not only is it flexible but it’s cheaper than building a standalone ammonia plant and a stand-alone methanol plant.” The key to the partnership, Kelly tells us, was mutual benefit. “In my experience partnerships work best if you walk before you run, but we’ve worked very synergistically together on early opportunities

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KBR

“WE HAVE PEOPLE RECOGNISED AS LEADERS NOT JUST WITHIN KBR BUT THE INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE.”

and there are other potential projects that have developed since then,” Kelly tells us. “It’s two market-leading technologies brought together in an innovative way. I’ve seen potential alliances that haven’t worked well because one party or the other couldn’t get along, or the business case was stronger for one side or the other. I would say that the challenge was to come up with an agreement with enough business case drivers and skin in the game for both sides so that it was an interesting business for both companies. We feel there’s a lot of enthusiasm and support in management and at the working level across the board.”

GOING WHERE THE TALENT IS

The talent KBR brings to the table is the result of careful recruitment processes. The company tends to recruit candidates with extensive experience through other companies that do similar work or that utilize the solutions KBR deploys. It also means being able to look further afield for the skills and knowledge that they need. “India’s a key part of our strategy. When I first came to KBR, we had a very little footprint in India and now we are doing whole projects there,” Kelly points out. “We’re recruiting on a global basis because we’re a global business.” As Kelly explains, KBR’s policy is to go to the talent, rather than force the talent to come to them. “In India alone, we have three centres. We found there’s a certain type of engineer with a certain skill set for heritage process technology that is easy to find in Delhi, so we have an office there,” Kelly says. “People with skills in digitalisation and digital tool development are mainly found in Mumbai, and

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detailed engineering-type skills are generally found in Chennai. We haven’t forced one location to provide all the skills we need. Instead, we open offices near a critical mass of the skills we need. Our main offices are in Houston and London, and then we have satellite offices to handle local culture and language. We have offices in Korea, China, and Russia that focus on all our technologies, with the skills necessary to support each region. Additionally, we have engineering centers in Singapore, Azerbaijan, and Middle East. We go with the talent.” Looking to the future, Kelly believes KBR will take this concept still further. He says, “We’re reimagining the future workplace. Traditionally we require people to work in one of our centres but if you’ve got the right person with the right skill set we can allow a lot more flexibility to bring that talent in. We’re investing in diversity and the inclusion of people with the right skill sets and abilities to deliver the best solutions possible wherever they are in the world.” The first rule of recruitment remains the same, however. If you want the best talent to work for you, be the company that the best talent wants to work for. “KBR is an exciting place to work. Our CEO, Stuart Bradie, has done a great job of leading us through the challenges of 2020. From a financial standpoint, we’re continuing to grow and the growth potential for KBR is incredible as we look at strategic partnerships and acquisitions,” Kelly says. “I love to learn and the number of people here who are experts in their field at KBR is exceptional. Working at KBR is exciting and rewarding for me personally and I have the pleasure of leading a team of excellent people!”

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HS ORKA

WE LEARN HOW A GEOTHERMAL POWER COMPANY CREATED THE MODEL FOR A WASTE-FREE SOCIETY.

SOCIETY

WITHOUT WASTE PROJECT MANAGED BY: NEIL STOWE

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HS ORKA

HS Orka is the largest and only privately owned geothermal energy company in Iceland. It owns and operates over 174 MW of geothermal power production capacity, in addition to a recently commissioned 10 MW hydro plant.

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0% owned by Jarðvarmi, the Icelandic Pension Fund conglomerate and 50% owned by Ancala Partners, a European infrastructure investment fund, the company has 47 years of operational experience. “We were founded on the utilisation of geothermal energy and we generate both electricity

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and heat to heat houses,” explains Tomas Sigurdsson, CEO of HS Orka. However, as Sigurdsson explains, geothermal energy is not an end for the company, so much as a means to demonstrate a less wasteful, more sustainable model for the industry. “This is the foundation of our Resource Park where we have a special concept designed to utilise everything we get from the geothermal borehole,” Sigurdsson explains. “Brine, CO2, hot water, and any other possible resources originating from the geothermal area.”

HS Orka is a relatively small company with a well-established foundation and excellent technical background, but from the start, their overall mission has been to let no resources go to waste. It is this mission that the Resource Park is borne from. “We have developed this concept through the Resource Park where multiple companies feed off our resources and each other in various industries,” Sigurdsson tells us. “The Blue Lagoon spa was founded there by us and in the Resource Park we also have companies in hydrogen, aquaculture, tourism, all sorts of different angles.”

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HS ORKA

For Sigurdsson, this isn’t just a chance to take advantage of industrial synergies. It’s a potential vision of the future. “The Resource Park represents a society without waste,” he says. “When you drill for heat you get minerals and all kinds of other by-products coming up with it. Once we generate electricity with the steam, we try to utilise the heat, the CO2, the minerals to get other valuables. That’s what we mean by society without wastethere are multiple opportunities here like algae, greenhouses, agriculture, data centres, natural baths and spas. We utilise the resources coming from our operation into various forms of products. To be associated with that is really valuable and attractive to a lot of customers, and their customers.”

Tomas Sigurdsson, CEO of HS Orka.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION Stalsmidjan-Framtak ehf. was founded in 1933. The headquarters of the company are located at Vesturhraun 1, Gardabaer. Other divisions are the Slipway in Reykjavik harbor and a branch located at Reykjanesvirkun, from where the company maintains Reykjanesvirkjun for HS Orka. The companies have cooperated since the installation of the power plant at Reykjanes. Stalsmidjan-Framtak ehf. has participated in several Hydro Power Projects and all the largest Geothermal Power Projects in Iceland. Among those, is the installation of steam turbines at Reykjanesvirkjun and today the company is active in the geothermal power field all over the country. The latest large-scale project in Iceland was the successful installation of steam turbines and erection of generators, condensers, and piping at Theistareykir Geothermal Power Plant in 2017-2018. All divisions within the company are well prepared and equipped for installation and maintenance of steam turbines, engine repairs, latheand machining work and steel construction projects. Stalsmidjan-Framtak ehf. is co-founder of Clara Arctic Energy ehf., a company established to build up Hydrogen infrastructure in Iceland, with focus on transportation, maritime applications and energy trade (www. claraenergy.com). The companies will collaborate in their key sectors to help aid the transition to zero-emission applications in the NorthAtlantic region.

Stalsmidjan-Framtak ehf. Vesturhrauni 1, 220 Gardabae Tel: +354 535 5800 Email: info@framtak.is

www.framtak.is

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FM 592299

In establishing a project like this, it’s important to be well placed, not just for the geothermal drilling, but also for other industries and communities that might benefit from the potential by-products of the Resource Park. When we ask Sigurdsson what HS Orka’s key advantages are, his immediate answer is, “Our location. We are very close to both the city of Reykjavik, major harbours, the international airport, and our Resource Park has let us develop so many opportunities around our operations giving us a unique position in the industry.” So you could be forgiven for being surprised when we ask Sigurdsson what the greatest challenges HS Orka faces are and he answers, “Also our location! We’re in a small, isolated island not connected

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HS ORKA

to a larger European grid. The market doesn’t grow quickly so we have to grow our own market, attracting customers to us.” To do this, HS Orka has found it essential to go out and bring interest to them. “Partly through our shareholders who are aggressively promoting us. Then we have our own organisation working hard to attract new businesses into the business park,” Sigurdsson says. “We also take part in and invest in national initiatives for Iceland. The renewable energy sector, for instance, is an attractive sector for investors at the moment.”

NURTURING GLOBAL TALENT

Indeed, one of the things Iceland has going for it is a mature geothermal sector that its counterparts elsewhere in the world can look to & learn from. “We have good universities and engineering firms have developed people who are serving the industry,” Sigurdsson points out. “But we have to be global in business

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development, so we attract people with global experience.” Indeed, HS Orka invests heavily in growing and developing the knowledgebase of its existing staff. Its people are undergoing a process of continuous learning, and as a technological leader in the sector, they are always drawing in new talent. “We’ve developed a lot of our own concepts and technologies. So we attract talent through growth and targeted development of people through education and broadening their skills across the organisation,” Sigurdsson says. “When you join us you will be exposed to multiple projects and we’ll provide you with the skills needed.” Of course, the other challenge HS Orka has faced this year has been the COVID-19 pandemic, but Sigurdsson is sanguine about the effect it has had on the geothermal company. “From a business standpoint, it hasn’t had too much of an impact. We’ve seen a slight but insignificant drop in revenue,” he tells us.

However, this doesn’t mean the company hasn’t taken the COVID thread seriously. “Because we provide critical services, we have stepped up operations to keep people isolated, working in small teams, reorganising ourselves. We have a lot of people working remotely and so far, that’s been successful,” Sigurdsson explains. “But the whole economy has taken a hit. Even those businesses not taking a nosedive haven’t seen a lot of growth. But considering the challenges others face we’ve come through well.” Indeed, Sigurdsson is optimistic about the future and committed to making the Resource Park an exemplar of what can be achieved when you turn every available waste product into productivity. “We have a focus. We see ourselves growing with our customers in the Resource Park. We also have good development opportunities in our own plants through upgrading our technology and utilising new technologies,” Sigurdsson says.

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PROCON WIND ENERGY

PROCON WIND ENERGY, A RECOGNISED PROVIDER OF ELECTRICAL SOLUTIONS& TECHNICAL EQUIPMENT TO THE GLOBAL WIND INDUSTRY, IS EXPANDING ITS GLOBAL FOOTPRINT.

PROPELLED BY THE WIND PROJECT MANAGED BY: NEIL STOWE

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PROCON WIND ENERGY

ProCon Wind Energy operates in a sector of the future - the renewables industry capitalising on its years of experience in providing the entire electrical scope for wind turbines in high-quality and ontime competitive solutions, meeting the industry’s increasing requirements.

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roCon Wind Energy provides custom-built electrical solutions and technical equipment to the global renewable industries with a speciality in the offshore and onshore wind industry as well as the solar industry,” says Thomas Padfield, ProCon’s Strategic Business & Brand Developer, summarising the business. Although established as an independent company only in February 2019 as a result of a buy-out from a larger business, ProCon Wind Energy, through its business units Construction, Engineering and Service, draws on extensive experience gained over more than two decades and on an impressive trackrecord in major wind farm projects. “Under a new name, we serve the same clients and are set to expand both the client base and our markets,” affirms Thomas Dybro Larsen, Head of Construction. “With our impressive legacy and in-house competences, it is fair to say that ProCon is a market leader.” The company offers specialist solutions covering design, engineering, pre-assembly, commissioning, installation (LV/MV/HV), inspection, consultancy, tests, service and maintenance within the electrical scope. Over the years the company has delivered solutions to more than 1400 transition pieces and jackets, accounting for around 25% of today’s installed offshore wind turbine foundations. Furthermore, ProCon Wind

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PROCON WIND ENERGY

Energy has also worked on more than 850 wind turbine generators and substations and has worked offshore for over 500,000 hours.

LEADING THE MARKET

“We offer a 360-degree package, but the customer may pick any part from design to installation and maintenance, both onshore and offshore,” Mr Thomas Dybro Larsen points out. “Combined with our quality and on-time delivery, this is one of our competitive advantages. We are flexible, offering tailor-made solutions to meet the individual customer’s requirements.” Thomas Padfield agrees: “The company DNA focuses on being the best on the market, decent in the way of doing business, streamlined to provide more

effective solutions and flexibility so we can go where and provide what the customers require.” Being a market leader in its sector, quality, health, safety and the environment are important aspects of ProCon Wind Energy’s business. Consequently, the company has a zero-incident culture, has obtained the international certifications of ISO9001, ISO14001, ISO45001, and is in the process of being certified for its work with the UN’s sustainable development goals. The number of successfully completed projects that bear ProCon’s hallmark is extensive. Recent achievements in Europe include the contract with Bladt Industries A/S for electrical installation, outfitting and tests on a total of 72 transition pieces for Vattenfall´s Danish Kriegers

Hyndla is an independent 3D and FEM expert for electrical and mechanical offshore wind engineering: • Supplier neutral cable management, engineering & procurement • Open source products that increases local content, reduce cost and carbon footprint • 3D modelling with automation tools tailored for offshore wind (Autodesk & Aveva) • Unique experience and knowledge in Impetus Solver, a non-linear explicit finite element solver with revolutionary element technology. We carry out short circuit analysis, dropped object analysis, impact assessment, and many more complex non-linear problems with high efficiency and trustworthiness.

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We build useful digital twins that influence the real product. Hyndla, Strandgaten 32, 4400 Flekkefjord, Norway Hyndla, Email: contact@hyndla.com | www.hyndla.com

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PROCON WIND ENERGY

The company’s experts are also involved in the revolutionary ‘Get Up Safe’ (GUS) motioncompensated lifting system at Ørsted’s Hornsea 2 offshore wind farm. With the GUS system in place, technicians will be lifted and lowered directly between crew transfer vessel and the platform, meaning that external ladders are no longer necessary, streamlining the foundation and reducing steelwork requirements – boosting both safety and the potential for construction and through-life cost reductions. ProCon was awarded the commissioning of the system by Pict Offshore.

GLOBAL FOOTPRINT

Flak Offshore Wind Farm; or a new joint venture partnership agreement with CPower Energy, to offset any potential drawbacks of Brexit and to continue to provide flexible and high-quality electrical solutions as well as technical equipment to clients in the UK and elsewhere. ProCon Wind Energy is also proud to participate in two prestigious projects that are currently under construction: the electrical construction of 80 transition pieces for SaintNazaire, the first French offshore wind farm; and the Nysater wind

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project in Sweden that is set to become one of the biggest onshore wind farms in Europe.

“THE COMPANY DNA FOCUSES ON BEING THE BEST ON THE MARKET, DECENT IN THE WAY OF DOING BUSINESS, STREAMLINED TO PROVIDE MORE EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS & FLEXIBILITY SO WE CAN GO WHERE & PROVIDE WHAT THE CUSTOMERS REQUIRE.”

Although Europe remains the company’s key base, ProCon Wind Energy’s expertise is in demand further afield. This year, the company opened its office in Taipei, Taiwan, to support its current and future customers in the APAC region. ProCon Wind Energy is currently finalising the design for the Changfang & Xidao project and is preparing for the local production in Taiwan while having already completed the electrical construction of the Taiwanese Project Yunlin for Smulders in Antwerp, including pre-assembly and outfitting work of 80 E-units and 40 transition pieces. “The Taiwanese projects are good examples of our ambition and our willingness to follow our customers,” says Thomas Padfield. On the other side of the globe, in the US, the company has achieved yet another impressive milestone by entering the US offshore wind market with the Coastal Virginia project. “The US offers significant potential,” reflects Thomas Dybro Larsen, explaining that together with the

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PROCON WIND ENERGY

APAC region, the US is a target territory where the company has established subsidiaries. “After completing the electrical construction of the two first TPs for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Project, we have received several different enquiries for

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projects in the United States, so our presence there is of imminent importance. Following our establishment in the US, we look forward to embarking on the journey to help develop and get a stronger footing in this highly promising market.”

“WE TRAIN, EDUCATE AND UPGRADE EMPLOYEES THROUGH PROCON’S APPROVED ACADEMY AND TRUSTED EXTERNAL COURSES.” BUSINESSFOCUSMAGAZINE.COM


PROCON WIND ENERGY

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT

Given its aggressive growth, has the company encountered any challenges at all? “Lack of qualified manpower, which is why we train, educate and upgrade employees through ProCon’s approved academy and trusted external courses,” admits Thomas Padfield. Acquiring & sustaining skilled manpower will be of particular importance given the company’s aggressive growth plans for years to come. ProCon is pushing not only for new offshore wind projects but plans to further expand its onshore solar and wind business. Consequently, the company has created ProConnected, a job and networking platform for technicians and electrical engineers. “We plan to quadruple the size of the company over the next five years or so. Therefore, it is not only a question of hiring

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new people but also of ensuring their continuous development,” adds Thomas Dybro Larsen. “Together with its partners, ProCon is electrifying renewable energy and contributing to sustainable development including reduction of the carbon footprint and the levelized cost of energy. As a market leader, we will continue to do so for many years to come,” says Thomas Padfield, adding that ProCon Wind Energy has just signed contracts for the electrical construction of Kaskasi and Changfang & Xidao

as well as the electrical design of Zong Neng, with many more in the pipeline. With the wind energy sector predicted to grow by around 20% per annum in the next decade, the potential for ProCon’s solutions is considerable. “Our company stands on robust foundations, we are highly adaptable, even to situations like the Covid-19 pandemic. Our growth projections are ambitious but reachable. We are here to stay, and our latest awarded projects support this,” concludes Thomas Padfield.

“TOGETHER WITH ITS PARTNERS, PROCON IS ELECTRIFYING RENEWABLE ENERGY & CONTRIBUTING TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT - INCLUDING REDUCTION OF THE CARBON FOOTPRINT AND THE LEVELIZED COST OF ENERGY.”

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The Bod - Europes first 3d printed house, adherening to Danish building codes. Today COBOD uses it as a show room for the technology.


COBOD INTERNATIONAL

3D-PRINTING IS A TECHNOLOGY THAT LOOKS SET TO REVOLUTIONISE THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY.

A CONSTRUCTION

REVOLUTION PROJECT MANAGED BY: TREVOR GRETSINGER

The achievements made with 3D-printing in construction are already impressive but as COBOD International shows us, there is more to see in the future.

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Henrik Lund-Nielsen, founder of COBOD.

OBOD International is by far the leading provider of 3D production printing technology. Not only is their technology responsible for a series of firsts, like the first 3D printed building in Europe made in Denmark in 2017, the first 3D printed two-and-three story buildings in Europe, made in Belgium in 2019 and Germany in 2020 respectively, and the first 3D printed concrete windmill tower, but they are also selling more construction printers than anyone else across five different continents. The company’s machines have proven beneficial to the construction of everything from concrete structures such as wind turbine towers to commercial apartment blocks. The reason COBOD has such a lead in the marketplace is simple, they are selling a finished product in a field where many are still in development. “We make heavy-duty construction equipment that will last a minimum of five years, with a projected lifespan of ten years,” says Henrik Lund-Nielsen,

founder of COBOD. “You can leave the equipment to stand in the rain and it won’t be harmed. If you compare that to our competitors most of them are still fighting with their first prototypes.” But while COBOD is clearly leading the field, the field itself still has something to prove as far as the wider construction industry is concerned. “The construction industry is a conservative industry because buildings have to last a minimum of 30 years,” Lund-Nielsen points out. “At the same time, permitting is a challenge because this is a new way of building, with new materials. The authorities don’t know how to handle it.” COBOD has had to take a creative approach to satisfy various permitting authorities. Indeed, Lund-Nielsen tells us that across the five publicly completed projects COBOD’s printers have built, no two have followed the same building and permitting process. However, there’s no denying that, initial reservations aside, COBOD makes a convincing case. “We’ve worked with wellknown brands such as General Electric, Emaar, L&T Construction and PERI. We collaborate with companies that have a reputation for reliability to overcome the conservatism,”

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CEMEX GLOBAL R&D

COBOD INTERNATIONAL

A REFRESHING AND GENUINE RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT APPROACH IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY IS NOT ABOUT WHAT WE CAN DO, BUT WHAT YOU WANT TO CREATE At CEMEX, we prioritize collaborative customer engagement to deliver tailormade innovations in a unique and dynamic By DesignTM approach. Our team of R&D experts make it a priority to engage customers in a co-creation process. The result is a growing and evolving portfolio of innovations in which the customer contributes appreciably. Our distinctive approach is fueled by the passion of a multidisciplinary team of professionals from a broad range of backgrounds. In a synergistic manner, the team works to develop innovative technologies, transfers the technologies to the operations, ensures ease of industrialization, and proactively articulates the value proposition and commercialization strategy. An important technological and business ingredient is the fact that we are the only construction materials company that manufactures its own chemical admixtures for cement, ready-mix concrete, and aggregates. Chemical admixtures are added to our different core products to either enhance or develop completely novel material properties. A fundamental element for differentiation. Our R&D model is unique. We inspire to seek inspiration. We engineer through materials design. We re-invent ourselves in order to innovate. We re-design to provoke.

Lund-Nielsen says. “Among our shareholders is PERI, a globally leading supplier of formwork equipment, the alternative method of on-site concrete casting. By holding shares in COBOD they’re saying they can’t beat us, so they join us, giving the technology a lot of credibility with the conventional construction industry. PERI is now our distributor and partner for the German-speaking part of Europe. So that’s one way to overcome that conservatism.” However, aside from partnering with other wellreputed businesses, the fact is that COBOD’s results speak for themselves.

MATERIALITY – THE ESSENCE OF DIGITALIZATION IN CONSTRUCTION Shaping and reinterpreting the materiality of concrete as a construction material is the essence of unlocking solutions for novel manufacturing processes and methods. The advent of additive manufacturing in the construction industry has resulted in a fervent rise of interest in 3D Printing. We have been monitoring and interpreting the trends in this sector, and often what we have observed is the forceful application of automation and robotized manufacturing to traditional construction processes. However, we have been asking the question – “What novel materials should be developed so that construction can exploit to its maximum the key advantages of automation and robotization, and stimulate the rise of novel fabrication techniques?” Consequently, we have harnessed our experience in concrete technology, knowledge in developing chemical admixtures, and unique approach in designing materials to find a solution for 3D Printing of concrete that is technically and economically viable. Defining the materiality required for 3D Printing is key. DISSECTING THE CHALLENGES AND INDUSTRIALIZATION OF 3D PRINTING The constituents of concrete can vary significantly based on location and source. Therefore, the key is to be able to design a printing material that is robust – shows low susceptibility to the origins of the material’s source. Hence, the development of tailored admixtures for the specific 3D Printing system and associated process is fundamental. The admixture solution must render the process easy, continuous, and reliable – industrialized. Additionally, it is important to go beyond the development of industrialized 3D Printing solution, but also understand how such an additive manufacturing construction technique can fulfill and even surpass the current requirements defined by norms and standards. In what types of construction or in what step of the construction can 3D Printing add value and bring construction to the next level. www.cemex.com

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The BOD2 printing walls at the Bautec convention in Berlin, Germany.

LABOUR SAVING

The first and foremost advantage of COBOD’s 3D-print technology is obvious- it is an extremely labour-saving process.

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COBOD INTERNATIONAL

“In my opinion, this is the most important selling point,” Lund-Nielsen says. “What’s driving most of our customers is the labour saving and cost savings on a productivity front.” The capabilities of COBOD’s printers mean construction projects require less in the way of skilled labour, at a time when acquiring skilled labour is becoming a huge problem in many countries. On top of that, COBOD’s model brings with it all the advantages wrapped into automation, as Lund-Nielsen says, “You get precision, and you get rid of mistakes as well as the tedious work that is harmful to employees because it’s all happening automatically.” With COBOD’s printers being such cutting-edge technology, one could be forgiven for worrying it simply replaces one set of hard-to-source skilled labour with another. But the evidence quickly refutes that idea. The first case Lund-Nielsen points to is that of the first 3D-printed two-storey building in Europe, built using COBOD’s technology by Belgian firm Kamp C. “They don’t have any of their own employees working in the execution of construction projects, so the actual work was done by students from a nearby university,” Lund-Nielsen recalls. “We educated a few of the students and they educated their friends.” Even that level of handson training turned out to be unnecessary, however, as a case from the US Army revealed. “The US army engineer corps printed their first building themselves at their headquarters to prove it works. Then they wrapped up the printer, wrote a manual and sent it to some troops out in the field and within a few days,

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The BOD2 being used in Germany where PERI is printing the worlds first 3d printed commercial apartment building.

Testing of a newly constructed printer in COBODS Copenhagen HQ.

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COBOD INTERNATIONAL

SPEED OF EXECUTION

the troops had constructed a building based on a manual and the technology that was sent to them,” Lund-Nielsen explains. “There was no training, the troops just read a manual. It’s no more complex than that. If you have a basically qualified guy in construction or IT, they can figure it out.”

“TO PROVE THE CAPABILITIES OF THE PRINTER WE DIDN’T HAVE A STRAIGHT LINE IN OUR FIRST BUILDING.” BUSINESSFOCUSMAGAZINE.COM

Aside from being easy to use, another major selling point of COBOD’s 3D-printing technology is it’s just straight up fast, which means that construction projects can be executed and completed much faster. As the fastest printer of its type in the world, it can output ten tons of material per hour- the equivalent weight of ten cars. That might seem impressive, but Lund-Nielsen is clear that this is actually an area he expects to see a great deal of improvement in. “When it comes to speed the technology is there, but more advancement will come as we see improvements in terms of the material supply systems, pumps and mixers,” he says. “To a certain extent the printer itself is ahead of the rest of the systems and now they’re going to catch up so we can execute at the printer’s speed.” To offer some perspective, COBOD’s first proof-of-concept building was printed with the first printer, the BOD! And took two months to print in 2017. After having developed the secondgeneration printer, the BOD2, COBOD then went on to repeat the exercise, building an exact replica of that building in 2019 in a warehouse to see how far the technology had developed. It took just 28 hours, the second time documenting a 20-times increase in productivity. “If we did it a third time, we expect we could complete it in eight-to-ten hours,” Lund-Nielsen says. “And achieving five hours in the future isn’t unfeasible. That’s just from the experience we’ve gained and increased capability in the entire process chain.”

DESIGN FREEDOM

While the speed and efficiencies in cost and labour are inarguable, where COBOD’s technology really brings whole new possibilities, is in the design freedom it offers to architects and builders.

“To prove the capabilities of the printer we didn’t have a straight line in our first building,” Lund-Nielsen says. “Because we were 100 metres from the ocean the walls even had waves. You couldn’t do that with conventional technology.” This kind of freedom drew the attention of EMAAR, the company behind such outstanding Dubai projects as the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world and the 7 star Burj Al Arab hotel that looks like a sail. “They are really a star customer to have in the Middle East,” LundNielsen agrees. “When they wanted to verify the usefulness of the technology with their first 3D-printed villa they chose our technology. The finished villa is not been revealed yet but they have done things with form and design details that would never have been possible with traditional technology.” Dubai has decided that by 2030, in less than ten years, 25% of all building work will be 3D-printed. The EMAAR project is a reflection of that goal, which will open up all kinds of opportunities for COBOD.

MORE THAN A PRINTER

COBOD’s technology has gone from printing single-floor buildings to three-floor, multi-apartment buildings, & Lund-Nielsen firmly believes that COBOD’s printers will continue to build bigger in every direction. Five or six-floor buildings are on the horizon within the next couple of years. But building bigger is only part of what he envisages. “Installation, painting, why can’t the printer do these tasks?” LundNielsen asks. “At that point, what you have is less a 3D-printer, and more a multi-functional construction robot. That’s something driving our research and development direction, adding more value for our customers.”

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John Coughlan, TSP Engineering’s CEO. Photo Credit: Newsquest


TSP ENGINEERING

TSP ENGINEERING SHARES WITH US THE VALUES THAT MADE IT A SOURCE FOR LEADING TALENT IN THE MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY.

POWER & PRECISION PROJECT MANAGED BY: NEIL STOWE

TSP Engineering can trace its roots back to 1945 when it was established to meet demand in the iron and steel industry for mining machinery, mine cars and ingot moulds. Since then, however, the company has grown and developed to be so much more.

W

e are engaged in delivering to the civil nuclear and defence nuclear sectors as well as oil and gas, marine engineering and energy, and the provision and refurbishment of steelmaking equipment,” says John Coughlan, TSP Engineering’s CEO. “We can offer a complete turnkey solution from design through to delivery and installation. We have the capability to produce machinery up to 130 tonnes and the heavy engineered products we manufacture are made to very tight tolerances. We’re not just building big, rugged products, but products manufactured to operate to precise requirements.”

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From their home in Workington, dubbed Britain’s “Energy Coast”, TSP Engineering has devoted itself to solving complex problems while combining precision to the minutest detail with robust heavy engineering. The company works closely with its clients from the earliest design and consultancy stages of a project, through to manufacturing and project management and even refurbishment. TSP Engineering’s facilities, location and wealth of engineering experience allow it to offer design, manufacture, electrical engineering, instrumentation and testing. Staying Ahead of the Curve While it’s clear what TSP Engineering has to offer, Coughlan makes it clear that the company can’t simply stand still. “The biggest challenge we face at the moment is changing technology, particularly in the nuclear and energy sectors,” he explains. “The sector is moving from the traditional projects we saw, large manufactured items for conventional nuclear sites, to the sort of work we’re seeing now which is predominantly small advanced modular

reactors, built completely in the factory and delivered to plug in and produce power immediately, costing from £100,000 to £900,000.” TSP Engineering works in a constantly changing, fast-paced industry where the number one priority must always be safety. What’s more, every product they work on is different, with its own requirements and specifications.

THE “THREE PS”

This is why TSP Engineering provides a bespoke service tailored to the individual needs of its customers. “We invest heavily in developing our people and advancing the skills of the people in the business,” Coughlan says. “While a lot of people talk about people being their most important asset, we invest heavily in keeping our people’s skills up-to-date.” TSP Engineering’s staff come to work with open minds, safe hands and a sprinkle of innovation, and a company culture that has produced leaders in the industry.

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The UK’s largest stainless plate stockholder & processor

We’re proud to use the latest technology for steel processing. Our market leading machinery includes:

Our certified speciality materials held in UK Stock (Circa 1000 Tonnes) include:

• 4 Laser machines including the latest 12 KW Fiber Laser Cutting up to 8m x 2.5m x 30mm • 4 High Speed Waterjet cutting machines inc. twin head cutting up to 6m x 3m x 200mm • Plasma & High Definition Plasma Cutting up to 10m x 3m x 100mm • CNC Machine Shop including Turning & Milling to 4m x 2m x 1m • Multiple Press Brakes • Inspection using the latest FARO laser scan technology • Lifting capacity up to 35 tonne

• • • • • • • • •

Stainless Steel Duplex and Super Duplex Nickel Alloys Carbon Steel Abrasive Resistant Material (ARBO, HARDOX, REAX) Aluminium Copper Brass Bronze

Steel Dynamics UK Unit 10 & 11 Walker Industrial Park Guide, Blackburn BB1 2QE UK

Email: Tel:

sales@steel-dynamics.co.uk +44 (0)1204 368600

www.steel-dynamics.co.uk

When you need it FAST – Right First Time, Every Time – At Competitive Prices YOU NEED BARTLETT ENGINEERING! Bartlett Engineering (South Wales) Ltd maintains its position as a premier provider of machining services with an on going and significant investment programme in new plant and equipment. We offer a wide and ever expanding range of services for our customers, including; CNC & Conventional Turning - CNC & Conventional Milling - Jig Boring – Slotting – Grinding - Plasma Cutting Welding (MIG – TIG) - Shot Blasting - Steam Cleaning

Technology of the FUTURE combined with CRAFTSMANSHIP of the past!

Bartlett Engineering (South Wales) Ltd. Unit 7 Aberavon Road, Baglan Ind Est, Port Talbot, SA12 7DJ Email: mail@bartlettengineering.com Tel: 01639 822180 www: bartlettengineering.com

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STEEL DYNAMICS UK

TSP ENGINEERING

THE ULTIMATE STAINLESS STEEL PLATE PROCESSOR The Ultimate Stainless Steel Plate Processor Steel Dynamics UK is the largest independent stainless-steel stockholder and service centre in the UK. We offer the widest range of qualitycontrolled products all sourced from reputable and accredited western European mill sources. Our quality processes are approved to ISO9001:2015, AS9100D, EN1090-1:2009+A1:2011 and ISO18001:2007. In-house we stock over 1000 tonnes of fully certified material in thicknesses between 0.5mm to 150mm, to ensure faster deliveries and improve time to market for our customers. Our stock range also covers 304L, 316L, 2205, 32750, 32760 and 31254 stainless and duplex products. We have continually invested in the latest processing technology and machinery across all plate processes such as water jet cutting, laser cutting, plasma and high definition cutting as well as CNC press braking and an impressive large machine shop capable of processing pieces up to 35 tonnes. We operate in all major market sectors across the UK and are well known for our ability to meet our customer’s ever demanding and increasing complex material requirements especially within the Nuclear industry. We are always looking to develop a clear understanding of our customer’s needs and challenges and work closely with them to reduce cost at the front end of every project. Our network of long-standing suppliers and attitude towards building a winning network of customers, helps us create lasting value. Hence, we are a proud partner with TSP Engineering and look forward to supplying them with the ultimate stainless steel service long into the future! Contact us today for your steel requirements or expert advice on +44 (0)1204 368600 or email us at sales@steel-dynamics.co.uk. www.steel-dynamics.co.uk

“You can see our track record in the fact that for the last four to five years we have had between one and five people in the national manufacturing top 100,” Coughlan says with obvious pride. “We’ve had young engineers named national technical manager rising stars. The people here are being recognised nationally, internationally and locally as being the best in their field.” Those rising stars have access to one of the largest workshops in the UK, with 20,000 square metres of floor capacity, two five-meter deep manufacturing pits and a lifting capacity of 130 tonnes. This gives TSP Engineering the ability to take on some of the biggest engineering and steel fabrication projects in the UK and around the world. “It all comes down to the ‘Three Ps’,” Coughlan points out. “People, product, profit. If you have the right people, they will deliver the right product, and you’ll make a profit.” By having the right people equipped with the right tools, TSP Engineering has received the certifications BS EN ISO 9001, BS EN ISO 3834 Part 2, BS EN ISO 1090 at execution level 4, ISO 14001, SABRe Edition 2, GS3001, CQR (SLM 4.06.02 Issue 3), ISO 45001 and ISO 19443, which TSP Engineering was the first in the world to achieve.

BEYOND EXPECTATIONS

As well as leading the industry in many respects, TSP Engineering’s culture is helping to change some preconceptions about it. “The nuclear industry has a bit of a reputation for projects arriving late and over budget,” Coughlan admits. “But TSP Engineering has a record of delivering products in the nuclear sector within the programmed time and budget.

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TSP ENGINEERING

Our last project was £2.5 million under budget. These things can be achieved if you use the right professional companies.” £2.5 million is an outstanding saving, but Coughlan is surprisingly matter-of-fact about how that margin was achieved. “We have professional management within the business and put investment into our people,” he tells us. “Our team understand what to do and how to do it and the timing required. They understand the entire business, not just the part of the project they’re manufacturing.” It’s a culture that time and again leads TSP Engineering to

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deliver on time and to budget at the required standard, and on a first-time basis. “Our people understand that by achieving that, they secure the future of the business,” Coughlan says. It’s a culture that, most recently, has been recognised by MAKE UK, who recently named TSP Engineering the SME of the Year in the North West of the UK. “MAKE UK looks across all sectors of manufacturing, so we were seen as being the leading SME manufacturer across every sector,” Coughlan says proudly. “It’s a big achievement and we’re very proud of it.”

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TSP ENGINEERING

While it’s a landmark achievement, for Coughlan it is also a driver to try harder and achieve more. “It’s a really good benchmark, a reminder to continually look at how we need to improve and how we can learn,” he says. Looking forward, TSP Engineering is very much growing in the nuclear energy sector, but it’s also gearing up to offer support to the wind energy and hydropower sectors.

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“We’re supporting companies manufacturing for building an ocean or large river power generation unit to provide tidal power which will be used in the islands of Scotland in the next 24 months,” Coughlan says. As TSP Engineering enters these new areas of the power industry, you can be sure they will bring with them the reliability and precision they have built their name on.

“IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT PEOPLE, THEY WILL DELIVER THE RIGHT PRODUCT, AND YOU’LL MAKE A PROFIT.”

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MACSWEEN OF EDINBURGH

MACSWEEN OF EDINBURGH, A THIRD-GENERATION FAMILY COMPANY, HAS BEEN AT THE FOREFRONT OF HAGGIS & BLACK PUDDING MAKING FOR NEARLY 70 YEARS.

SCOTLAND’S NATIONAL DISH MADE WITH PASSION PROJECT MANAGED BY: MAX HUTCHINGS

Macsween’s haggis, voted the best haggis by consumer panels and a consistent winner of numerous quality awards, has been made the same way ever since its beginnings in the 1950s, when the founder, originally a bookkeeper, opened the first Macsween’s butcher shop in Bruntsfield. He was soon joined by his son, John Macsween, father the current Managing Director James Macsween.

“M

y father joined the business when he was just 17 years old and he really was the spearhead for taking the business from a small butcher’s shop to a larger business. He was also instrumental in the creation of the first vegetarian haggis as early as the 1980s,” says James Macsween. He explained that in line with his parents’ ambitions, the company moved to the next level, focusing on a small portfolio of products only, and transforming from a ‘High Street butcher’s shop’ to a ‘haggis specialist’.

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In addition to seeing the potential for vegetarian products ahead of his time, John Macsween also embraced the latest technology along the way, first installing vacuum packing which gave the product a longer shelf life, introducing bar codes in the early 1980s and moving fast into automation, all investments that allowed the brand to evolve and led to the opening of the world’s first dedicated haggis factory in 1996. Macsweens, today employing some 50 people, can now justifiably claim to be Scotland’s most prominent manufacturer of

haggis, with their product widely available throughout the UK and as well as in international markets. James Macsween says: “Over the years, the family has invested a huge amount not just of money but also of emotion. The business became part of the family, our way of life - it is now nearly 70 years old and I’m set to make that at least 100 years.”

HANDICRAFT TO FAMILY RECIPES

Macsween’s authentic and award-winning haggis is handcrafted to unique family recipes, using the finest ingredients. Reaching into the convenience market, both meat and vegetarian haggis, with no change to the original recipes, are also available in microwaveable packs. “Traditional haggis represents a large part of the business these days but we have developed several new

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MACSWEEN OF EDINBURGH

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D2 Corporate are extremely proud to have worked with Macsween’s for over 15 years in all aspects of their commercial insurance arrangements

COMMERCIAL INSURANCE SPECIALISTS

0141 560 8022 enquiries@d2cs.com

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WWW.D2CS.COM

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MACSWEEN OF EDINBURGH

variations, such as the Delicious Every Day range, which is the same recipe but in a more costeffective casing. This enabled us to be more price competitive in supermarkets, today our most important sales channel,” says James Macsween. The portfolio also includes black pudding, vegetarian haggis and Scottish veggie crumbles, a product developed for the US market. The vegetarian haggis, currently accounting for about 20% of total sales, has been a hit from the start. It is approved by the Vegetarian Society and is also suitable for vegans, thanks to John Macsween’s foresight to use palm oil. So what is so unique about Macsween’s haggis? According to the company, it is ‘simply lamb, beef, oats, onions and spices,

MANUFACTURING THE FINEST OATMEAL & PEARL BARLEY FOR OVER 100 YEARS Proud to be associated with Macsween of Edinburgh. The Scottish Borders climate and soil type is ideal for growing the crops we require. Approved growers receive advice on inputs and the quality standards we require to supply assured oats and barley to our mills. Intake loads are subject to a rigorous testing and inspection procedure so that only the best quality, fully traceable grain is used. We operate our own fleet of articulated bulk and curtain side vehicles to ensure regular and controlled supplies of grain to the mill and finished products to our customers. We are easily accessible for all the major network routes North and South. John Hogarth Ltd Kelso Mills, Mill Wynd, Kelso, Roxburghshire, TD5 7HP, UK Email: enquiries@johnhogarth.co.uk Tel: +44 (0)1573 224 224 www.johnhogarth.co.uk

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James Macsween, MD & Owner of Macsween.

nothing more, nothing less’. But James Macsween explains that what makes the product special is also the fact that their haggis is more like from a traditional butcher’s shop. “We don’t use liver and our special mix of seasonings gives the final product a distinct, fine flavour. Our manufacturing process is also slightly different.”

GREEN MANUFACTURER

As pioneers of Scotland’s national dish, Macsween’s are passionate not only about the product but also about the way it is made - in an environmentally and ethically sustainable manner. “I have put a lot of effort into making the business as green as possible, generating the smallest environmental footprint. To this end we have

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MACSWEEN OF EDINBURGH

become landfill-free as one of the first in Scotland, we source ingredients as locally as possible and have always tried to have a product with the minimum of packaging,” affirms James Macsween, pointing out that Macsween’s haggis has just a single label on it, and products that are sliced are packed in clear films that are 100% recyclable.

The focus on sustainability has intensified during the pandemic. “Over the last few months, we have introduced an innovative package redesign that improves our sustainability. We’ve reduced the size of both our original and vegan-approved vegetarian, 454g & 227g packs to 400g & 200g which has, in turn, allowed us to make the pricing more competitive for our customers,” he says.

“WE USE 75 PER CENT LESS PACKAGING ON AVERAGE COMPARED TO OTHER HAGGIS BRANDS WHILE OUR BUSINESS IS 67 PER CENT LOCALLY SOURCED.”

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“Not only does this change mean that people are purchasing a more sustainable product, it potentially also reduces food waste with a lower chance of people cooking more than they need. We use 75 per cent less packaging on average compared to other haggis brands while our business is 67 per cent locally sourced. In addition to this, we were also the first haggis brand to use RSPO-certified palm oil in our products, which ensures it has been sustainably sourced.”

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MACSWEEN OF EDINBURGH

AN ICONIC PIECE OF SCOTLAND

Macsween has truly internationalised the Scottish national dish. In addition to England, its products are available in Europe, with Germany being the biggest market, Canada, USA, UAE as well as in Singapore. “We are always looking at growing the business and can see demand increasing. We are achieving good results in Canada and the US, where we started to export our veggie crumble earlier this year and have high expectations of both markets.” With its diverse portfolio, the company has not been severely hit by Covid-19 but some impact will be felt. “We have spent a considerable amount of money on adapting our site and making sure the workforce stays safe. Our workers are of paramount importance to us; no machine automation can replace the skills of the haggis maker and of

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those who manually complete the product.” James Macsween expresses the same recognition and gratitude to the company’s suppliers, who are an integral part of the company’s success. “We have strong relationships with our suppliers. They are our trusted partners, and without them, we would not be where we are today.” Given its position and reputation, Macsween of Edinburg is set to continue the family tradition. “After all these years we are still privately owned, continuing to grow by making the best haggis in the market. There are not that many people in the world who can say that they have based their success on making their country’s national dish. With Scotland being such an iconic country, being part of making one of its iconic products gives me tremendous pleasure,” James Macsween affirms.

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MACSWEEN OF EDINBURGH

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TRU EARTH

Tru Earth eco-strips’ compact nature makes the detergent portable and easy to use on an adventure in the woods.

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TRU EARTH

TRU EARTH IS A RAPIDLY GROWING COMPANY, BUT IT’S ALSO THE VANGUARD OF A MOVEMENT.

A REVOLUTION IN

LAUNDRY PROJECT MANAGED BY: DEAN BROWN

Tru Earth is a company with a mission, and Brad Liski, the company’s CEO and co-founder wastes no time telling us what it is.

A

Tru Earth Co-Founders Kevin Hinton, Brad Liski, & Ryan Mckenzie (L to R).

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t its core, Tru Earth is a movement to eradicate plastic from household products,” he tells us. “It’s morphed into an eco-friendly household product company, with a suite of products running and being launched over the next 18 months.” Tru Earth’s lead product is their laundry eco-strip. It’s a simple concept, a patented dissolving sheet detergent that removes the need for bulky plastic bottles and cleans clothes as well as any other detergent. But it’s disrupting a multi-billion-dollar industry. “Without question, our unique value proposition is that we are producing zero-waste products, but more important than that is the movement that has been created around them,” Liski says. “The ChangeMakers which are our customers are

really driving this growth. We’re the second-fastest start-up in Canada and the fastest retail start-up in 15 years. We’re already in 55countries.” The Tru Earth movement is built around three core values. “Simplicity”, “Empowerment”, and “Integrity”, and they can be found in everything Tru Earth does. “We will never compromise our values to cut costs,” Liski insists. “We produce in Canada rather than bringing it in from offshore. It makes it more expensive, but I won’t shortchange the environment to make a profit.”

RAPID GROWTH

Tru Earth has grown with astonishing rapidity, even during the coronavirus pandemic. But while Tru Earth has taken all precautions to combat COVID-19, it’s the growth itself that has proven the biggest challenge. “Our first sale was in April 2019 and last month we did $4 million for a $16 product,” Liski points out. “The sheer volume of sales has allowed us to add 100 new employees during a time when we can’t have more than ten people in a building at any one time.”

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TRU EARTH

While COVID-19 brought challenges with it, Liski at least had the benefit of having navigated a business through two previous global crises. “I was unfortunate enough to be running businesses impacted by both 9/11 in 2001 and the housing crisis in 2008, so I had that previous experience to draw on,” Liski says. “We de-risked the organisation, made sure the supply chain had continuity plans in place and assessed the sales pipeline. We implemented a chain of command and went very vertical so every individual knew exactly what to do every day. We went transparent, having weekly town hall meetings so everyone could tell us a win they had achieved. We created a mindset of positivity, building on the processes we already had built, instead of trying to reinvent them.”

FURTHERING THE CAUSE

But even this task is dwarfed next to the challenges of bringing a new and disruptive product into the well-entrenched consumerpackaged-goods market. “We realised we had to continue to push innovation. The initial launch sold over ten-times what we’d expected, and that’s when we realised there was something more to it than a really cool product,” says Liski “As it grew, we saw a requirement for more products. Our critical cause is eliminating plastic so we were looking for ways to do that.” It’s a cause that has become increasingly urgent, as the trend towards declining plastic levels has been reversed by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. A detergent that can arrive in a biodegradable paper envelope rather than in a plastic bottle is a valuable proposal. But as valuable a contribution as that is, it’s useless if it’s not

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accessible to as many people as possible, as Liski points out, “Environmental products often get labelled as only for the rich. What we’ve done is launch a match programme where for every first order that’s made, we will send laundry detergent to shelters, food banks, and charities, as far away as Ghana. The product is perfect for putting in a tub and washing clothes or putting in a backpack rather than hauling around a big plastic bottle.”

PEOPLE ON A MISSION

Tru Earth’s work has always been a people-powered movement, but from the beginning, it was a challenge to draw in people with the right skills. “When we began, we had to fight to find new talent. Nobody knew of the product or our objective, so it was a lot of work and a lot of interviewing,” Liski remembers. “But as the movement took off, the talent started tapping on the door.” Tru Earth’s higher calling has drawn in some key talent from across the industry. “Recently we hired a COO from Keurig, as well as Gillette. She brings 30 years of experience in CPG but she wanted to wake up in the morning feeling like she’s making a difference,” Liski says. “A recently hired director of sales has 18 years of experience with Johnson & Johnson, and he has the exact same mindset.” It’s a mindset that permeates the entire company. “We’re ChangeMakers, making sure every individual in the company knows they can create true change,” Liski insists. “It doesn’t matter whether they’re packing an order, cleaning a warehouse floor, or leading the sales team. They’re all treated as ChangeMakers equally.”

This is why when Tru Earth’s staff meet up to talk the discussion isn’t about productivity orders or efficiency targets. “We meet to talk about the critical cause, how many jugs we’ve saved from landfills. We find people would rather rally around saving the planet than making a business run a bit faster and a bit better,” Liski tells us. “Ironically, that will often drive them to do things faster and better! Because they understand they have to make an impact now.”

A MOVEMENT FOR THE FUTURE

Tru Earth has had a launch that most start-ups can only dream of. “We’re an 18-month-old company at a $45 million run rate. The future involves continued hypergrowth but in the next six months we’ll also be launching in-country distribution in our top ten international markets,” Liski says. “We’re servicing 55 countries right now, but what we’re most excited about is our first in-country distribution in the UK this January. Then within 30 days of that, we’ll have Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Southern Europe, all slated to launch. From a product perspective, each quarter there will be a new product launched in the zero-waste space.” All of these operations are geared towards inspiring a genuine, significant change in the laundry room, the kitchen and the bathroom. But as hard as Tru Earth and its people are working to achieve this, Liski is keen to point out that their customers are a central part of the equation. “We’re a movement, and what that means is that the customers are the biggest

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TRU EARTH

ChangeMakers, and are now dictating what the future will be,” Liski says. “They’re going beyond just wanting to know how well it cleans.” At the same time, Tru Earth’s movement is an inclusive one, and Liski rejects the preconception that all green activists have made a full-time job out of it. “The problem has been that environmentalists and environmentalism are labelled as a binary, you’re either in or you’re out, and that misses this whole grey area of people

who want to do what they can while living their own lives,” Liski says. “Our objective is to allow people the ability to make small changes. Many hinges can swing big doors. If it’s just one change they’re making, then soon they make another change, another change and another change, and very quickly a big impact is being made. Our goal is for people to help save the planetnot save the planet on their own. We all have to work together to make this work, no one person or company can come in and do it all.”

“WE’RE CHANGEMAKERS, MAKING SURE EVERY INDIVIDUAL IN THE COMPANY KNOWS THEY CAN CREATE TRUE & LASTING CHANGE.”

Tru Earth’s product line is ever evolving, giving customers more sustainable options for household necessities.

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UAC FOODS LTD

UAC FOODS’ BRANDS ARE RECOGNISED THROUGHOUT NIGERIA, BUT ONLY TWO YEARS AGO THE COMPANY WAS IN DECLINE. WE HEAR HOW THEY ARE TURNING THINGS AROUND.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT PROJECT MANAGED BY: TREVOR GRETSINGER If you’re Nigerian and you need some fuel to keep you moving through the day, the odds are you’ll choose a Gala Sausage Roll. The popular savoury snack has been a staple in Nigeria for nearly 60 years, and UAC Foods is the company that brings them to the market. But this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to an impressive portfolio of food products, from bottled spring water to sweet treats such as ice cream, lollies, cupcakes and coconut chips. But while there is an astounding variety to be found among UAC Foods’ products, each of them was crafted with the same concern in mind.

W

hat we have tried to do with each of our brands is identify Nigerian consumer needs and ensure we have the right brand and products to satisfy that,” says Oladele Ajayi, CEO of UAC Foods. “With the Gala Sausage Roll, it was about food on the go- for customers stuck in traffic who need something to keep them going until they

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get home and have a proper meal. Sometimes it’s about indulgent snacks. Peanuts are a very popular snack which we’ve made in a chip shape. Ice cream is one of the few indulgences people with low per capita income have access to so we make sure we give them the best prices we can afford.”

HOLISTIC INNOVATION

While UAC Foods clearly has a treasured place in larders, fridges and cupboards across Nigeria, the company has had its challenges. Between 2013 and 2018 the company experienced a period of difficulty, with declining revenues and staff. This changed in 2018 when the company came under the oversight of a new group of investor shareholders who were determined to reverse the company’s fortunes. The first step in this journey was a new programme entitled “Reconstruction and Growth”. “The reconstruction part means solving problems with our existing brands, processes and plant, while the growth part

involved growing the company’s offering through innovation, and the building of a new factory,” Ajayi recalls. Innovation, Ajayi is very clear to point out, doesn’t just mean flooding the market with wave after wave of “new, improved” products. “We think of innovation as simply doing something in a different way or a new way that has an obvious benefit for the company, the consumer or both,” Ajayi explains. “We are talking about new ways of using the same equipment to get more out of it, managing processes in a different way, and of course we still think about innovation with regards to our products. How we can give consumers what they love while ensuring we’re able to be more efficient or more cost-effective. I think of innovation in a much more holistic manner.”

VALUING PEOPLE

This innovation is possible thanks to the dedicated and passionate people that make up UAC Foods.

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Oladele Ajayi, CEO of UAC Foods.


Givanas Nigeria Limited is a trading company for Business to Business,

mainly Food & Confectionery Manufacturers. Our product line includes Milk powder, Vegetable Fat, Margarine, Instant Dry Yeast and Liquid Glucose.

Givanas Nigeria Limited, 18/20 Burma Road, Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria Tel: +234 (0)803 300 2055. | Email: info@givanas.com | www.givanasgroup.com

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GIVANAS NIGERIA LIMITED – QUALITY FIRST Givanas Nigeria Limited is a trading company for Business to Business (B2B), launched in 1993 as part of the prominent manufacturing and distribution company, GIVANAS GROUP. In 2020, Givanas has continued to accomplish its goals of providing the best quality product, prices & services. Over the years of trading, Givanas has built reputable business practices across its operations and implemented a code of good corporate governance, committed to continuously improving its operations; which is supplying of raw materials to manufacturing companies. We have demonstrated our business strength and corporate values in our business partnership with UAC (United African Company of Nigeria), as a key supplier of their manufacturing raw materials – We play our role legally and with honestly. We have respect for everyone who works with us, for our customers, for all of our stakeholders.

“Packaging beyond your expectations.’’ HART INDUSTRIES

STANDING STRONG SINCE DECADES

Hart Industries manufacture Plastic Water Storage Tanks, Household Products & Industrial Packaging Products. Hart’s highly sophisticated machinery and state of the art control systems (IML Robots) offer customers nothing but the best. The company constantly manufactures new attractive products with the highest quality and durability. With a dedicated and professional team, it continues to develop immeasurably and succeed in meeting the demands while maintaining the highest standards of hygiene.

Givanas product line includes: Foremost Fat Milk Powder, Skimmed Milk Powder, Instant Whole Milk Powder Vitamin Fortified 28%, Dementalized Whey Powder, H. Vegetable Fat 20kg, Evita/ Monita Margarine, Instant Dry Yeast, and Liquid Glucose; which are used in the manufacturing of confectionery products such as dairy drinks: yogurts, coffee, tea whiteners, baby food, biscuit, ice cream, fermented pastry products; breads, buns and many more. We are the quality product; best price company and we believe in the power of food to enhance lives.

“Strongest in Africa’’

Our office is located at: 18 /20 BURMA Road APAPA, Lagos, Nigeria. Tel: +234(0)8033002055.

Tel: +234-803-7752888 Email: kano@hart-industries.com

www.hart-industries.net

www.givanasgroup.com

UDO UDOMA & BELO-OSAGIE Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie (UUBO) is a full service, multi-disciplinary law firm facilitating corporate and commercial business across Africa. Founded in 1983, UUBO has evolved into a 15-partner concern with 137 professional employees, including more than 70 lawyers working out of offices in Nigeria’s key commercial centres. UUBO enjoys an extensive network of long-term regional and international relationships with reputable international law firms, including an Alliance with leading South African firm Bowmans. Our 23 practice areas, covering both well-established and emerging sectors, allow us to deliver multi-jurisdictional assignments to the diverse local, African and international clients with whom we are privileged to work. UUBO’s culture of excellence and long-term commitment to quality service delivery are foundational to the firm’s solid reputation. Our philosophy from inception has been that legal advice should be of the highest possible standards, accessible, commercially oriented, and consistently sound on principle. As a firm, we have developed a reputation for facilitating complex, unusual transactions; resolving a broad range of disputes, and generating timely legal solutions. The diverse backgrounds, skills and insights of our lawyers and our collaborative, ‘hands-on’ approach contribute to the recurrently high independent peer and positive client reviews of our work.

NIGERIA LIMITED + a contemporary hotel, catering & food services solutions provider LIMITED NIGERIA + a contemporary hotel, catering & food services

FOLD NIGERIA LIMITED is a contemporary Hotel, Catering and solutions provider Food Management solutions provider with core competency in the provision of Catering, Bakery, and Food equipment services. We have also developed competency and generated a degree of FOLD NIGERIA LIMITED is a of contemporary Hotel, Enzymes Catering and and pedigree in the provision Food Additives, Food Management solutions provider with core competency in Flavours. the provision of Catering, Bakery, and Food equipment services. We have also developed competency and generated a degree of pedigree in the provision of Food Additives, Enzymes and TECHNICAL COMPETENCIES Flavours.

FOLD NIGERIA LIMITED is a consultancy and food services company. FOLD NIGERIA LIMITED is a consultancy and They deal in design, planning and supply of food serviceskitchen company. commercial & catering equipments. LAYOUT DESIGN OF KITCHENS, & LAUNDRY TheyBARS deal in design, planning and supply of EQUIPMENT FORcommercial KITCHENS, SANITARY TECHNICALSUPPLY COMPETENCIES kitchen & catering equipments. ROOMS, BARS & LAUNDRY LAYOUT DESIGN OF KITCHENS, BARS & LAUNDRY INSTALLATION EQUIPMENT SUPPLY FOR KITCHENS, SANITARY ROOMS, BARS & LAUNDRY COMMISSIONING INSTALLATION TECHNICAL SUPPORT & AFTER SERVICE COMMISSIONING SPARE PARTS TECHNICAL SUPPORT & AFTER SERVICE SPARE PARTS

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RONDO AG ESCHER MIXERS ALI GROUP PARRY UK MONO UK EUROPA OZTIRYAKILER

PARTNERS

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This has resulted in top tier rankings in leading global directories including Chambers Global Directory, Chambers FinTech Guide, the Legal 500, Who’s Who Legal and the IFLR 1000, which summarised research findings to report that UUBO is “…widely accept-ed as the corporate firm of choice in Nigeria and the go-to firm for a wide percentage of international outfits looking for local counsel in Nigeria.’’

www.uubo.org

Add: 7 AKINHANMI STREET, OFF WESTERN AVENUE BY EMPIRE BUS STOP, SURULERE, LAGOS Tel: 0802 314 8538 0806 681 2671 0802 345 6380 0803 400 4571

FOLD NIGERIA LIMITED is a consultancy and food services company. Add: 7 AKINHANMI STREET, OFF WESTERN AVENUE BY EMPIRE BUS STOP, They deal in design, planning and supply of Tel: 0802 314 8538 0806 681 2671 0802 345 6380 0803 400 4571 commercial kitchen & catering equipments.

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FOLD NIGERIA LIMITED is a consultancy and food services company. They deal in design, planning and supply of commercial kitchen & catering equipments.

SURULERE, LAGOS

Website: www.foldng.com Email: info@foldnigeria.com.ng

Website: www.foldng.com Email: info@foldnigeria.com.ng

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UAC FOODS LTD

“Since I’ve been working at the company, over these last two years, we’ve tried to live by the simple philosophy that a company is only as good as the people that run it,” Ajayi says. “In that sense, we’ve been brave and slightly aggressive in looking for the best people to do each job. That search has brought results, usually from people who have demonstrated experience in their field.” Recruiting Grade A talent is one side of the equation. Growing and developing the talent already within the company, particularly with regards to nurturing the next generation of leaders, is the other. “There are two parts to that. The first is to be brave enough to give them the responsibility that they are probably not used to, which comes with its own risks because they will make mistakes, but they will learn from them,” Ajayi insists. “The second part is to pay time, attention and money to formal training and

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development. This can be done in-house, which we encourage a lot from senior managers coaching and teaching, but we also use outside training. In 2019 we spent five times more on training than we did in 2018.” Ajayi also argues that it is essential to not only communicate but live by a unified set of values that define the company’s culture. UAC Foods’ values are “Customer Focus; Our consumers are our business”, “Integrity”, “Team spirit”, “Innovation”, “Openness and Communication” and to “Value our people and treat them with dignity”. These are all nicesounding words, but for Ajayi, it is important that they translate into actions. “If you’re going to change the culture of an organisation you need to tell people what your values are, but you make the biggest impact by living those values yourself,” he says. UAC Foods shows how much it values its people through its

competitive remuneration and attractive bonus scheme called “pay for performance”, and its efforts to improve the company culture are already bearing fruit. In 2016, two years before Ajayi joined the company, a survey of the staff found 45% thought UAC Foods was “a great place to work”. Last year UAC Foods did the same survey and this time 71% believed UAC Foods was a great place to work. It’s a stark improvement, but Ajayi believes there is still more work to do.

“WE THINK OF INNOVATION AS SIMPLY DOING SOMETHING IN A DIFFERENT WAY OR A NEW WAY THAT HAS AN OBVIOUS BENEFIT FOR THE COMPANY, THE CONSUMER OR BOTH.” BUSINESSFOCUSMAGAZINE.COM


UAC FOODS LTD

“We’re not satisfied with 71% and we will continue to do things to make our company a great place to work,” he says. “It’s important to me that people grow, develop and enjoy their work life.” Going forward, UAC Foods is dedicated to continuing to selfimprove. Currently, the company is recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that isn’t going to stop them. “The challenges are always there, and our job is to find the path out towards sustainable development,” Ajayi reflects. “We’re finding

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a lot of efficiencies in power consumption, utilisation and capacity. We’re able to improve our capacity by reviving redundant lines and we’ve done efficiency work with our vendors to get value and extend our margins. With Supreme Ice Cream we’re still working on sourcing raw materials in a way that will enable us to meet the challenges we currently face.” In the end, whatever the challenges, Ajayi knows that UAC Foods’ job remains the same. He says, “We must give the consumer exactly the product they look for.”

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ALPHA SOLWAY

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ALPHA SOLWAY

ALPHA SOLWAY, A SPECIALIST IN THE DESIGN AND MANUFACTURE OF PERSONAL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT (PPE), IS EXPANDING THE BUSINESS IN LINE WITH NEW MARKET NEEDS.

PERFECT PROTECTION PROJECT MANAGED BY: DAVID GARNER

Alpha Solway is part of Globus Group, a market leading, global organisation, with over 25 years of heritage in manufacturing personal protective equipment (PPE) for industry and healthcare. Globus Group products keep wearers safe in many situations, across a spectrum of industries as well as at home. They meet and exceed a diverse range of personal protective equipment requirements from the rigours of heavy construction to the complexities of clean room and aerospace manufacturing.

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he range of innovative products that the company has launched over the last few years is extensive and includes, for example, the new Alpha Flow™ Series protective mask range, which includes the UK’s first P3 charcoal filter to provide enhanced breathing protection, and the award-winning ENHA Ranger safety helmet that has revolutionised head protection across mainland Europe thanks to its innovative design features.

ACCELERATED GROWTH

The company’s products reflect decades of experience and development. Alpha Solway has been manufacturing PPE since the 1990s as a family-owned business, initially focusing on respirators and gradually expanding the portfolio to include industrial gloves, protective clothing and other items of personal protection for the healthcare sector and industrial segments. “The production of respirators moved offshore 15 years ago to maintain cost-effectiveness and competitiveness with Asian

importers, while the protective clothing business remained in Annan,” says Managing Director Steven Binnie, adding that the products from the Annan facility are supplied all over the UK but also to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, typically to the petrochemical, offshore and marine industries. In 2016 Alpha Solway reached an important turning point when the business was sold to Globus Group, a multimillion-pound international business consistently achieving double-digit turnover growth that acquired Alpha Solway to further extend its role in the personal protective equipment industry. A move that boosted the company’s position and secured investment in its further development. “The last four years, even when we exclude the Covid-19 months, have been a period of continuous growth. We have doubled the size of the business primarily by focusing on developing new products and also by actively engaging with the end-users,” affirms Mr Binnie.

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www.stretchlineeurope.com

Medical, Healthcare & PPE

Proud to Supply narrow elastics, narrow fabrics and covered elastomeric yarn to Medical & Healthcare institutions around the World. Stretchline UK Ltd Sherston, Nr Malmesbury Wilts, UK Tel: + 44 166 842 112 Email: textiles@stretchline.com

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Stretchline UK Stretchline have been working closely with Alpha Solway for a number of years and have been delighted to support their innovation and product development teams which has led to significant growth during this period. With our world leading narrow fabric manufacturing technologies, Stretchline has been ideally placed to respond quickly and positively to the demands of the PPE industry during the unprecedented health emergency caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our UK manufacturing capability, supported by our global divisions, has ensured that we have met both the regulatory and logistical problems that the pandemic presented, resulting in Stretchline being a premium supplier of functional, elasticated narrow fabrics across the full range of PPE applications. The Stretchline Group has its roots firmly planted in the UK, with three manufacturing plants producing woven and knitted elastics, augmented by our silicone anti-slip bonding division to produce an innovative range of functional narrow fabrics that are supplied into a broad range of industries from automotive, through medical, activewear and apparel end-uses. UK manufacturing is supported by our Textiles Division who are Europe’s largest distributor of hook and loop tapes, webbings and heavy-duty elastics for all applications. Stretchline’s global division includes manufacturing sites in the USA, Mexico, Honduras, Sri Lanka, China and Indonesia, ideally placed to fulfil supply chain demands wherever manufacturing takes place.

ALPHA SOLWAY

FACING THE VIRUS

In 2019, in response to a growing demand for more UKmanufactured products, the company initiated the process of bringing the respirator business back to the UK and completed the process earlier this year to reduce the disruption to the global PPE supply chain caused by the coronavirus. The plan was to place the business in a new larger factory in Annan where respirators would be manufactured alongside the clothing.

Please contact us to discuss your narrow fabric and elastic requirements, and be assured of a market leading level of service from our UK Head office: Contact: 01666 842 112 Sales@stretchline.co.uk www.stretchline.com

Steven Binnie, Managing Director, Alpha Solway. As demand continued to increase dramatically, Alpha Solway promptly decided to significantly expand its output capacity further. Alpha Solway and Globus group have won contracts with both the Department for Health & Social Care and NHS Scotland to manufacture one billion type IIR medical masks across all UK factories in Dumfries, Scotland, and Warrington, North West

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ALPHA SOLWAY

England. In addition to this, 200 million FFP3 respirators, 100 million FFP2 respirators and 22 million visors annually. Both contracts will meet the demand for the UK’s health and social care sectors until summer 2021. In addition to ensuring frontline staff have the required PPE, the multimillion pound contracts have also enabled Globus Group to create an extra 600 jobs across the UK since the start of the pandemic. “We are proud to be awarded this order to further support NHS Scotland. Capacity-wise, it has been a challenging time: we have set up two new respirator production facilities in a very short time, both of which are producing now. We aim to have 75% of the product range and

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the respirators onshore as soon as possible,” says Mr Binnie. “NHS Scotland’s commitment to purchase critical PPE equipment from local manufacturers sends positive signals to businesses such as ours and gives us the confidence to continue investing in the local area. It enables us to do more in the fight against the impact of Covid-19, and do it in a way that lays positive, sustainable foundations for the future.” Alpha Solway will be fulfilling supply for the new contracts, including 50 million highperformance FFP3 face masks for the Department of Health and Social Care, and 232 million surgical masks & 2 million visors for NHS Scotland.

“NHS SCOTLAND’S COMMITMENT TO PURCHASE CRITICAL PPE EQUIPMENT FROM LOCAL MANUFACTURERS SENDS POSITIVE SIGNALS TO BUSINESSES SUCH AS OURS AND GIVES US THE CONFIDENCE TO CONTINUE INVESTING IN THE LOCAL AREA.”

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ALPHA SOLWAY

BEYOND THE PANDEMIC

The creation of over 600 new jobs will be a significant challenge, but one that the company can manage well, say Mr Binnie. “We have training programmes in place as well as an apprenticeship scheme. People are key, and we put a lot of emphasis on human resources development. We have always been a people-oriented business supporting our staff and once people join us, they tend to stay a long time.” He insists that the increased workload for NHS Scotland and DHSC will not be at the expense of customers from industries. “We have many years’ experience in providing protective equipment and advice in this market, always keeping high standards and investing in R&D to come up with innovative solutions.”

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“THESE ARE EXCITING TIMES FOR US AS A BUSINESS. NOT ONLY IN TERMS OF GROWING THE BUSINESS BUT ALSO IN TERMS OF RE-ESTABLISHING UK MANUFACTURING CAPABILITY BEYOND THE PANDEMIC, AND DOING SO COMPETITIVELY AS WELL.” “What we have tried to do from the start of the pandemic was to make sure that we keep supplying our existing customers. People working in the NHS are not the only key workers, so is someone working in a power station or petrochemical plant. They all need PPE to be able to perform their jobs safely and effectively,” he points out. He affirms that continued investment in further enhancement of the production capability throughout 2021 and 2022 will help to satisfy increased demand in both the health care and industrial markets.

“We have the heritage, experience in making the majority of the products in the UK and the reputation of a trusted, reliable supplier. These are the strengths that will support our position in export markets where our products are regarded very highly, be it in Europe, the Middle East or North America.” “These are exciting times for us as a business. Not only in terms of growing the business but also in terms of reestablishing UK manufacturing capability beyond the pandemic, and doing so competitively as well.”

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ANDRITZ METALS GERMANY GMBH

AS A LEADING EQUIPMENT AND INDUSTRIAL MACHINERY MANUFACTURER, ANDRITZ PLAYS A VITAL ROLE IN THE NEW ALLEGRO HIGH-SPEED RAIL VENTURE.

MANUFACTURING TO THE HIGHEST STANDARDS PROJECT MANAGED BY: DAVID GARNER

ANDRITZ Metals, one of the four business areas of international ANDRITZ GROUP with headquarters in Graz, Austria, provides innovative and market-leading solutions for production and processing of flat products, for welding systems, as well as furnaces and services for the metals industry. ANDRITZ’s technologies and service solutions have made it a world leader offering the bespoke solutions its clients need.

W

e deal in high-end material production facilities,” says Dr Heinz Autischer, Group Senior Vice-President and Global Head of Metals at ANDRITZ. “Our products process materials for the automotive industry. We have heat treatment lines to make special material properties for specific needs, railway wheel plants for high-speed trains. Our customers have the highest quality demands on

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their materials, and we rise to meet them, whether it’s for the automotive industry, aerospace or in this case railway wheel production lines.”

NEW PRODUCTION FACILITY

The latest example of what ANDRITZ is capable of can be seen in an ambitious, technologically cutting-edge plant that the company is building to serve the joint venture of EVRAZ and the Rail Service Industrial Group in building the new Allegro highspeed wheel train production plant. The Austrian industrial equipment manufacturer has been awarded a contract to provide a full-cycle railway wheel production line for a $200 million factory. “We can deliver the complete production facility for the customer, utilising the latest developments for the railway wheels and our latest generation of heat treatment machines and quality improvement controls,”

Dr Autischer says. “We have the best technology in hand for this new facility.” When completed, the production line will be the most advanced ever built in this industrial sector. Built in the Titanium Valley Special Economic Zone in the Sverdlovsk Oblast, the factory will see its first equipment deliveries arrive in the first quarter of 2022, with the production itself beginning in Q4. The foundation of the factory will create 425 jobs for the surrounding area. Of course, in many ways, it is an unorthodox time to sign up to help build a new factory. “This plant is still in the engineering phase. We signed the contract in the middle of the first wave of the Corona pandemic, so that was very challenging,” Dr Autischer tells us. “Our objective is to have the plant up and running in 2022.” While the plant might not be a reality yet, ANDRITZ has delivered similar plants elsewhere over the last couple

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Dr Heinz Autischer, Group Senior Vice-President and Global Head of Metals at ANDRITZ.



ANDRITZ METALS GERMANY GMBH

of years. This plant, once completed, will have an annual production capacity of 200,000 solid-rolled wheels, with the possibility of increasing this to 300,000 wheels a year as demand grows. The plant must be built to the absolute highest standards as the manufacture of railway wheels is a demanding process that calls for unique competencies and quality control throughout the value chain, beginning with steel production.

“OUR OBJECTIVE IS TO HAVE THE PLANT UP AND RUNNING IN 2022.” FORGING NEW TALENT

To maintain those high standards, it is important to continually recruit, invest in and develop talent within the company, and ANDRITZ takes this job extremely seriously. Dr Autischer insists the company work closely with universities and schools to bring fresh talent into the fold. “We identify young talents in order to bring in new students, new young engineers, and train them to our standards and further develop their skills,” he says. “In parallel with that, we have comprehensive development programmes among our own staff.” This development focuses on the kind of high-end techniques that are essential for ANDRITZ’s work. “We have some global development activities where we specifically focus on highend tensions and talents in the area of functional development,” Dr Autischer

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ANDRITZ METALS GERMANY GMBH

says. “If someone wants to be a process engineer, we offer development programmes and a lot of possibilities to take over responsibilities within the business. We give them something to focus on to get experience, often including working abroad for a couple of years.”

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Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disruptive effect on this and every area of the business, but ANDRITZ has been able to adapt to the “new normal” successfully. “We have a strong organisation in China, so when the pandemic started earlier this year, we were immediately affected by that,” Dr

“WE IDENTIFY YOUNG TALENTS IN ORDER TO BRING IN NEW STUDENTS, NEW YOUNG ENGINEERS, AND TRAIN THEM TO OUR STANDARDS AND FURTHER DEVELOP THEIR SKILLS.” BUSINESSFOCUSMAGAZINE.COM


THE WORLD OF GLAMA HEAVY DUTY AUTOMATION

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GLAMA Maschinenbau GmbH

Headquarters: Hornstraße 19 D-45964 Gladbeck Germany Fon: +49 (0) 2043 9738 0 Fax: +49 (0) 2043 9738 50 Email: info@glama.de

glama.de

GLAMA GLAMA Maschinenbau GmbH/Germany, founded in 1961, is mainly building mobile, stationary and automatic equipment for open / closed die forging, aluminium, ring rolling and steel making industries. GLAMA is a world leader in our industry providing full-service capabilities in engineering, manufacturing and commissioning of machines and equipment. GLAMA’s product range for steel forging technology mainly includes: - Railbound Forging Manipulators - Mobile Forging Manipulators - Charging Machines and Manipulators - Furnace Charging Machines Railbound - Heavy Duty Robots and Manipulators A qualified and experienced team of engineers work on optimised solutions of new products based on customers’ requirements to increase productivity and simplify operation methods. GLAMA’s experience of producing machines especially for the Railway Wheel Production is evidenced by more than 100 robots in operation now. GLAMA offers solutions for applications in all fields of the Railway Business. The full integration of the highperformance robots into the production line is possible and yields the option to reproduce all steps during the whole process, which characterizes its efficiency. The powerful and reliable construction offers low cycle times and extreme reliability within the production process. Autischer says. “In the beginning, we didn’t think it would have such a dramatic impact on the rest of the world but soon we realised it had a huge impact on all our entities. We did a good job in continuing to execute our ongoing orders with minimum delays. Together with our customers, we’ve been very successful in that.”

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Different robot designs are engineered to solve the tough handlings problems during wheel or axle manufacturing: - Stationary, Track-bounded or Portal Robot Systems - Fully Hydraulic Drive Systems for the Forging Furnace and Forging area - Electric / Hydraulic Drive Systems for the Sawing, Forging & Heat treatment area - Fully Electric Drive Systems for the Machining Centers and Testing Area More details: www.glama.de

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ANDRITZ METALS GERMANY GMBH

Having adapted to the challenges posed by the first wave of the pandemic, Dr Autischer believes ANDRITZ is well placed to mitigate further spikes in COVID-19, and he is optimistic about the year to come.

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“WE WANT TO FURTHER DEVELOP OUR BUSINESS IN THE AFTER-SALES AREA, UTILISING NEW TECHNOLOGIES WHILE CONTINUING TO DEVELOP MACHINES WHICH CAN GIVE THE CUSTOMER NEW TECHNOLOGICAL BENEFITS AND PRODUCE NEW MATERIALS WHICH MEET THEIR DEMANDS.” BUSINESSFOCUSMAGAZINE.COM


ANDRITZ METALS GERMANY GMBH

“It’s been very challenging, but we can see things are starting to pick up again. I have the feeling our industry can adapt to the second wave,” he says. “We’re used now to working remotely, we have safety measures in place. We can find a kind of normal. All in all, I would say we have seen much lower volumes in Q2 and Q3 but it’s starting to get better lately but still on a lower level than pre-COVID-19.”

FULL STEAM AHEAD

Beyond Coronavirus, Dr Autischer is clearly enthusiastic about ANDRITZ’s prospects going forward, and the role it has to play in shaping the industry at large. The company will continue to focus on specific offerings for its customers in areas where it can provide added value in the production

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of new materials in the flat product processing sector. Dr Autischer is also keen to show customers the new possibilities provided by digital tools in production optimisation. Above all, he believes ANDRITZ can be a valuable partner for its customers. “We’re helping them to have a more reliable and more sustainable production while offering them a close long-term partnership as we’re providing services to them,” Dr Autischer says. “We want to become even more of a partner than we have been already. We want to further develop our business in the after-sales area, utilising new technologies while continuing to develop machines which can give the customer new technological benefits and produce new materials which meet their demands.”

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ARJOWIGGINS

Christophe Jordan, Managing Director of the Translucent Papers division at Arjowiggins.

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ARJOWIGGINS

WE LEARN HOW A COMPANY WITH CENTURIES OF HISTORY IS MAKING PAPER RELEVANT IN A DIGITAL AGE.

TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF PROJECT MANAGED BY: MAX HUTCHINGS

You might be reading this article in the print edition of Business Focus Magazine. However, it is just as likely you are reading our digital edition. More and more of our content, our news, our books, our entertainment, is moving into the realm of the digital. But there are still those for whom paper will always hold a special place in their heart.

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t’s a digital world, but I love the feel of paper, the touch of it,” says Christophe Jordan, Managing Director of the Translucent Papers division at Arjowiggins. “Paper is part of the history of the developed world. One of the measures of the level of development of a country is the volume of paper it consumes per capita. It’s at the heart of our life.” Learning about Jordan’s history and family, it is perhaps easy to see why paper is a topic he is so passionate about. “My family have been papermakers since 1786,” he tells us. “We started as French papermakers, owning a wellrenowned mill. My father was a paper engineer in the industry,

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so I inherited his passion and love of the material.” Being in the sector since 1786 means that Jordan’s family connection to the paper industry is however slightly younger than that of Arjowiggins itself, whose oldest mill was founded in 1698 (Guarro Casas in Spain) and is still running. Arjowiggins is a major player in the fine and technical paper market. While its history spans four centuries, only a year ago the company underwent a management buyout, becoming a fully independent Scottish company with its headquarters in Aberdeen. The Group is structured around those headquarters and the company’s four paper mills in Scotland, England, Spain and China. “We remain world leaders in many niche markets. We are very flexible, thanks to the size of the Group and that as well as being the operational managers we are also the owners,” Jordan points out. “Our strategies can be implemented quickly even though we’ve been manufacturing paper for over 300 years. We have a long history of quality papers, and with the new set up we bring experience and dynamism to the industry.”

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paper materials innovation - SUstainAbility - Ultra High barriers

Established in the heart of Europe, Eurobrillance specializes in paper lamination. Since 1992, we create the next generation paper based barrier materials for rigid and flexible packaging dedicated to the luxury, consommateur goods and food markets Eurobrillance - 2 rue Lindberg - 67120 Altorf FRANCE - www.eurobrillance.com Contact : Boris HOFFARTH Sales Director b.hoffarth@eurobrillance.com

Delivering innovative, high-performance speciality chemical treatment programmes to the paper and water treatment industries. Our chemical and industry expertise is combined with the latest automatic dosing and control technologies, customised to our customers’ specific requirements to deliver the highest performance and cost-effectiveness across all application areas. We are privileged to have worked closely with Arjowiggins for the past quarter century and look forward to our continued partnership as they enter a new and exciting chapter in their 250 year history.

www.omniachemicalgroup.com T: +44 (0)208 064 0500

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E: info@omniachemicalgroup.com

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EUROBRILLANCE MATERIAL INNOVATOR - NEXT GENERATION RECYCLABLE MATERIALS WITH THE HIGHEST BARRIERS ON THE MARKET AN ENTRY INTO THE FIELD OF FLEXIBLE PACKAGING THROUGH THE DOOR OF ECOLOGY Over the years, Eurobrillance, specialized in film lamination has positioned itself on the food packaging market as Innovator in next generation materials for rigid and flexible packaging. At the leader of change and deeply marked by its eco-responsible values, Eurobrillance has focused its expertise and know-how on developments in disruptive paper based disruptive boosting solutions that already meet the environmental standards of tomorrow. ARJOWIGGINS, THE IDEAL TRUSTED PARTNER! Continuing its search for a new generation material Eurobrillance has found in Arjowiggins the ideal trusted partner. Working on the same subjects and sharing the same vision, the two companies joined forces to create a range of materials called Paperfelx3R® on Sylvicta® basis. These products basically have a fiber content above 85%.

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ARJOWIGGINS

Arjowiggins’ Sylvicta Window Sandwich Pack.

A CLEAR VISION

With Arjowiggins having so much history behind them, one could be forgiven for thinking their business was rooted in preserving the old ways, rather than working at the technological (paper) cutting edge. However, Arjowiggins’ latest product is not only at the vanguard of paper R&D, it has also got vital applications for sustainability. “We’ve been making translucent papers, what we normally call tracing paper, for more than 80 years. We made a concerted effort a couple of years ago asking ourselves what role we can play to solve the challenge of replacing plastic,” Jordan explains. “We can make a transparent paper, but to be a true replacement it also needs all the barrier properties of plastic.”

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Arjowiggins’ Sylvicta Pouch and Sachets.

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ARJOWIGGINS

Two and a half years ago Arjowiggins started development on a translucent paper that would also work as a barrier, and this paper was embedded with some key barrier properties similar to plastics. “It looks almost like a tracing sheet of paper but provides an impressive barrier to oxygen, grease, mineral oils and aroma,” Jordan says. The initial applications of this paper have been in food packaging- primarily in pouches, sachets and wraps for nuts, snacks or even salad and the transparent windows of sandwich packs. However, the new paper is already seeing interest from other sectors. “There’s the cosmetics industry, which we didn’t target as our first potential market but which is now showing interest because paper is a fantastic barrier for oxygen- better than any plastic!” Jordan says. “We’re also seeing applications in the consumer electronics industry. We’re replacing plastic wrap, but keeping the luxury look of seeing through the wrapping.” Of course, this technology, and more, are the fruit of Arjowiggins superb Research and Development department, something you might be surprised to find in a 300-yearold paper manufacturer. “It’s absolutely key,” Jordan insists. “What we’ve been able to do is retain a very strong Research and Development team. We could have lost that when we went from being a large company to a much smaller group, it would have been easy to say, ‘Okay let’s drop the R&D and do what we’ve always been doing’. But in the paper space, we have always been at the leading edge of innovation, so we made a conscious decision to keep those resources, to keep all that know-how.”

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“I’M SO GRATEFUL TO BE PART OF THE STORY OF THIS GROUP.”

Arjowiggins’ Chartham Mill, Canterbury, Kent, UK.

With that team in place, Jordan sees a bright future for Arjowiggins. Food packaging is far from the only area where paper can replace plastic. “We’ve developed a paper that can replace plastic as a substrate for printed electronics,” Jordan reveals. “To take a relatively easy examplehotel key cards are plastic with an embedded chip which you hold up to the door of your room. We are proposing alternatives to that made purely from paper. That’s quite a breakthrough in a totally different space.” At the same time, replacing plastic is far from the only way paper can help create a greener future. “We’re looking at more and more materials made from sustainable fibres. All of our papers are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified and we all know papers that are 100% made from recycled fibres, but there is also a push from the market for sustainable alternative fibres,

hemp fibres, bamboo fibres, any kind of fibre from sources other than wood and that are fast-growing,” Jordan explains. Arjowiggins is well placed for the future, continuing a centuries-long legacy for the company, and Jordan’s family. “I’m so grateful to be part of the story of this group,” he says. “The Arjomari name, that then joined Wiggins Teape to become Arjowiggins, is linked to the family mill we had in the 19th century, so it’s an honour to now be one of the owners of this group.” And while these new applications are exciting, Jordan also points out that recent events have demonstrated the value of the tactile and haptic experience paper offers. “As human beings, we like and need some tangible contact,” Jordan explains. “We can see with COVID, it’s difficult because we need that social contact, we need to touch, and I feel like paper appeals to the same instinct.”

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ENERSUL LIMITED PARTNERSHIP

FROM ITS HEADQUARTERS IN CALGARY, ALBERTA, ENERSUL HAS GROWN INTO A WORLD LEADER IN THE SULPHUR FORMING AND HANDLING INDUSTRY.

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ENERSUL LIMITED PARTNERSHIP

Enersul offers the complete array of operational, technical and supportive offerings for the sulphur forming and handling industry, which is why the slogan is “For Everything Sulphur”. The company’s mission is to provide premium technology, equipment, and operating services to allow elemental sulphur to be processed and handled efficiently and in an environmentally responsible fashion. The pursuit of this mission is fuelled by Enersul’s goal of becoming the world’s leading sulphur solutions provider.

PROJECT MANAGED BY: TREVOR GRETSINGER BUSINESSFOCUSMAGAZINE.COM

I

t’s a position that Enersul is fit to take on as the company can already draw on over 60 years of trusted experience that makes it the recognised world leader in sulphur forming, handling, storing, and transportation load. The company boasts a comprehensive portfolio of operational, technical and supportive offerings, giving Enersul the unique ability to offer complete sulphur solutions that can be customised to fit any production requirement.

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ENERSUL LIMITED PARTNERSHIP

THE THREE PRONGS OF QUALITY Enersul owns and operates its own sulphur forming, handling, storage, and loading facilities on behalf of its Enersul Operations clients, as well as entering into Operation Contracts running sulphur processing and handling plants owned by third parties. Under these arrangements, the company is currently responsible for the management of eight sulphur handling operations throughout Western Canada. Across all of these plants, Enersul controls in excess of 3 million tonnes of sulphur forming and handling capacity every year, making it one of the largest sulphur operators in the world. The company

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boasts over 60 years and more than 3,000 man-hours of sulphur operations including GXTM granulation, WetPrillTM sulphur forming, block pouring, remelting, and remediation, including high contamination, remelting. All of this work is done to exacting standards, based on decades of expertise. Enersul’s unmatched wealth of knowledge and experience produces solutions that are not only effective but allow its customers to carry out efficient, and above all, safe sulphur operations. Those who have worked with Enersul before know that when the company is engaged in a project, you can expect

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ENERSUL LIMITED PARTNERSHIP

quality. The firm holds a strong commitment to achieving and maintaining the highest standards, whether that’s in terms of the technology they offer, the quality of any formed product, or the level of service Enersul provides. This quality is delivered repeatedly and consistently thanks to three key aspects of the business. The first of these is the management policies and procedures within Enersul’s “Quality System”, which promote realising high-quality results. Periodically, Enersul’s management team reviews the company’s quality performance and provides targets and accountability, leading to continual improvement. Each manager brings their own experience to the table, allowing the company to recognise and meet all of its objectives. The second prong of Enersul’s approach to quality is “Team Performance”. Enersul’s team famously shows worldclass dedication to their work, using their knowledge and commitment to create products and services which meet Enersul’s contractual, legislated and corporate directives. Enersul’s team is defined by quality results and the company stands by its staff’s experience and accomplishments. The strong relationships between Enersul and its own employees are only part of the package, however, and the third prong of Enersul’s quality approach is “Supplier Relationships”. Communication and monitoring channels between Enersul and its suppliers are kept continually open to ensure that product suitability is understood and quality objectives are met. Enersul has always made the quality of its formed sulphur

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products a priority throughout its operations, and monitoring programmes are in place at Enersul’s own plants and throughout its logistics chain as products are transported to export terminals in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. The moisture content, friability and product size of Enersul’s formed products are measured and compared to industry competition, and those comparisons have shown Enersul’s forming technology to produce industry high premium sulphur.

A MATTER OF PRINCIPLES

Enersul is also dedicated to not only setting and maintaining the highest standards, but to doing so in a way that protects the health and safety of its employees, partners, the public, and the environment at large. This is achieved by adhering to several key principles, the first of which is “Compliance”. Enersul promises to meet or exceed every applicable HSE regulation established by the governing bodies in the locations where Enersul works. Enersul regularly reviews, implements and complies with its customers HSE requirements as well when they are pertinent and applicable to Enersul. Indeed, the company audits its own facilities to make sure full compliance with regulatory, customer and company HSE requirements are upheld.

Throughout every aspect of business Enersul is driven by the principles “Compliance”, “Continuous Improvement”, “Communication”, “Prevention”, “Responsibility” & “Accountability”. The principle of “Responsibility” is reflected in Enersul’s long list of safety awards, ranging from the Occupational Hazards’ Winners’ Circle Safety Finalist (Magazine of Safety, Health and Environmental Management) in 1995, to numerous safe handling awards for the company’s yearslong stints of operation without incident. As well as providing quality products and services delivered to the very highest safety standards, Enersul also prioritises taking care of its customers after a sale has been made. The firm has a dedicated aftermarket team to support sulphur forming and handling operations. Enersul provides the full range of integrates services and technologies, including on-site services, supplying spare parts, upgrades, retrofits, training, preventative and corrective maintenance programs and a range of offsite support services to several facilities around the globe. Throughout all this, Enersul maintains close contact with its customers, utilising a closedloop approach that follows every inquiry to its conclusion. In this way, Enersul ensures complete customer satisfaction.

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KOTKAMILLS

Dr. Markku Hämäläinen, CEO, Kotkamills.

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KOTKAMILLS

USING ITS EXPERTISE IN WOOD PROCESSING, FINNISH KOTKAMILLS OFFERS COMPANIES SUSTAINABLE, PLASTIC-FREE PACKAGING ALTERNATIVES, SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT.

CHANGING THE GAME TO ADVANCE CIRCULARITY PROJECT MANAGED BY: JAMIE WAITE

Located in southern Finland, Kotkamills represents a synergy of three business lines which together make a forerunner of the circular economy: the sawmill, one of the oldest in Finland with origins going back to 1872; production of a saturating base kraft paper range; and production of consumer boards.

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he three business lines operate as an integrated operation, each with its own special way to use the renewable resource, making sure no part of the wood goes to waste, and re-using the fibres from recycled board materials. “At Kotkamills, we efficiently use raw wood material in the various stages of the production chain. Paper and board production utilises the sawdust and woodchips created when sawing spruce timber into planks, refining sawmill

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by-products into raw materials that are suitable for our other production processes,” says CEO Markku Hämäläinen. Kotkamills with its 520 employees achieves a turnover each year of slightly under € 400 million. The figure is expected to increase, says Mr Hämäläinen, as a result of a recent investment in a new, high-capacity consumer board machine - the first machine in the world to have the capability to apply dispersion barrier coatings directly on the

machine, producing barrier boards that can be recycled with normal paper waste due to having zero plastic content.

ECO-FRIENDLINESS AT ITS BEST

All of the company’s key business lines have a strong sustainability profile, aimed at advancing positive environmental changes with the power from wood. The sawmill provides the high-quality raw material required for both the boards and kraft paper. The Absorbex® saturating base kraft paper is made of unbleached sawdust pulp and can be used for the production of high-pressure laminates with an average life of dozens of years, making a very effective carbon sink. Absorbex® is the leading global laminating paper

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CH-POLYMERS IN CO-OPERATION WITH KOTKAMILLS creating sustainable barrier solutions

CH-POLYMERS CH-Polymers develops and manufactures waterborne polymer dispersions for use in multiple industries, for example, paper and packaging, nonwoven and specialties and paints and coatings. Our highly technical and customer-focused approach, coupled with our experienced personnel, enables us to select or customize the right solution for each customer need. Our strategy is to create solutions using sustainable products and processes. Technologies such as biodegradability, compostability, biomaterial-containing products to replace plastics are topics we work with every day. For areas like nonwoven and paints durability, long lifetime and low emissions are key criteria. The CHP BAR product range is an excellent example of how to replace PE films in paper/board coatings to make compostable products while maintaining product properties and improving production efficiency. End use applications for these products can vary from fast food packaging to paper wrapping. Biomaterial-containing solutions also exist for those nonwoven and paint applications where biodegradability is essential. Solutions containing biomaterial are in high demand within our three customer segments and we are glad to be able to offer products for all these markets.

CHP BAR Series High performance, value-adding solutions that make paper and board products that are

recyclable

www.ch-polymers.com

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repulpable

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POLYM E RS Read more ch-polymers.com

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KOTKAMILLS

brand manufactured in Europe, used in prime-quality design products as well as in everyday applications that require high durability. The consumer boards are marketed as ISLA®, a highquality food service board range applied for singleuse cups and plates, and AEGLE®, a folding boxboard range, including water-based dispersion barrier grades, used for food packaging, frozen and chilled food, confectionery, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. The products are based on Nordic fresh forest fibres and come with the unique possibility of the addition of on-machine dispersion coated barriers to replace the non-renewable plastics traditionally used. Kotkamills’ water-based dispersion coated barrier boards are fully recyclable and repulpable, and as such, they have already captured the interest of many brands.

Mr Hämäläinen points out that the company is particularly proud of the ISLA® boards that can change the game in the single-use cup market. “The vast majority of cups currently in use contain polyethylene plastic making recycling difficult and composting virtually impossible. With our ISLA® Duo barrier board we are offering an alternative to manufacturers to reach their sustainability targets, but, primarily to contribute to a reduced amount of plastic in the environment.”

The biodegradable ISLA® Duo barrier board has just recently received the Seedling and DIN-Geprüft certifications for industrial compostability, and the company is now working on making the product domestically compostable as well. These milestones have not been achieved in isolation. The company’s business partners are an integral part of the journey towards a plastic-free future and many are involved in the process right from the start, i.e. product development. One such company is Imerys who, being platinum Ecovadisrated and committed to CSR principles, has proven to be an excellent partner for such an environmentally based development. Imerys supplies the plastic-free barrier coating material and their technical input has been critical for the success of the patented products and formulation approach that create competitive differentiation. Cups and straws made from Kotkamills’ fully recyclable board.

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KOTKAMILLS

PROMISING POTENTIAL

At the moment, Kotkamills is the only industrial producer of plastic-free coated packaging boards for the food industry and the potential is huge. The company was close to reaching agreements with prime manufacturers earlier this year - and then Covid-19 came, putting industries at a standstill. “The rise of the global pandemic is unfortunate in every respect but we remain

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optimistic for the future. The discussion about reducing plastics has been going on for some time, with Europe being at the forefront of this phenomenon, closely followed by North America, where we are currently exploring the possibility of establishing our own sales office. Overall, the North American food packaging market is huge: the board cup market alone is more than 1,000,000 tonnes a year, i.e.

quadruple the size of Europe’s. Even a few per cent share of the North American market would be a good start for us,” reflects Mr Hämäläinen. In supporting its business growth, Kotkamills can count on the dedication and commitment of its people. The company has an excellent relationship with its staff based on open discussions, daily meetings and in-place support programmes. This personnel-focused policy

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KOTKAMILLS

Kotkamills’ mill site, Kotka, Finland.

“IT IS IMPORTANT TO INCREASE AWARENESS OF A NEW ALTERNATIVE TO PLASTICS, AND WE HAVE TO RETHINK THE ROLE OF PACKAGING IN OUR SOCIETY.” BUSINESSFOCUSMAGAZINE.COM

has been duly rewarded. Earlier this year, when paper mill workers were on strike in Finland, Kotkamills was the only company in the country whose employees refused to participate. “This made us very proud, suggesting that we are doing things right,” says Mr Hämäläinen. Speaking about plans for the future, he affirms that more investment is planned in new equipment to increase capacity

to accommodate the growing demand for sustainable products. “It is important to increase awareness of a new alternative to plastics, and we have to rethink the role of packaging in our society. The new compostable fibre-based cups are an excellent example. Replacing the huge number of plastic cups that are made every day around the world would be a highly efficient way to reduce the amount of plastics on a global scale.”

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MEGA FORTRIS UK

WE LEARN HOW MEGA FORTRIS UK IS BRINGING INNOVATION TO THE LOGISTICS SECTOR.

SIGNED, SEALED & DELIVERED PROJECT MANAGED BY: DAVID TAVERNOR

Mega Fortris opened for business in the UK in 2002 as a division of the Mega Fortis Group, a Malaysian company that is one of the largest manufacturers of security seals supplying the logistics, food and beverage, chemical, pharmaceutical and retail industries, amongst others. In 2008, Mega Fortris launched a sister company, Fortris Load Secure, to sell loadsecuring equipment such as lashing systems while synergising with Mega Fortris’s own security seals products, particularly in the Mega Fortris-dominated drinks industry. This year both companies came together under one banner, creating a fullservice solutions provider for the logistics sectors.

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“F

or example, if you’re shipping pallets in a container, we can supply the strapping for strapping down the pallets, dunnage bags or lashing to secure products in the container and a sensor which will monitor location, light, temperature, moisture and shock. We can then also offer a range of security seals to secure the outside of the container,” explains Keith Edgar, Managing Director of Mega Fortris UK.

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MEGA FORTRIS UK

“We’re a full-service solutions provider offering a full range of products which is especially important where blue-chip companies are trying to reduce the number of vendors.” “We’re supplying a full package for any logistic supply chain from start to finish,” adds Debbie Hardy, Mega Fortris UK’s National Sales Manager. Mega Fortris UK boasts some big names among its customers, includes companies like Nestlé and DPD. The customers are drawn to Mega Fortris due to a number of factors, including the second-to-none level of customer service and a suite of advanced equipment that allows them to customise their products to individual customers’ needs, such as the bespoke security seals they can offer with their laser marking machines. “As a group, we’re innovative, forward-thinking and invest in a lot of R&D at a group level. This then enables us to offer new products, new solutions and

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new systems,” Edgar explains. “our customers appreciate that we’re not standing still and we’re trying to develop the market on our own, not simply following trends.” Indeed, Mega Fortris’s products are crafted to the highest standards, with innovative new ideas that are leading the way for others in the industry.

A BIODEGRADABLE SEAL

To see how Mega Fortris works it’s worth taking a look at one of their more recent innovations, a biodegradable security seal. While the idea might sound counter-intuitive at first, the truth is it’s a product direly needed across a wide number of industries. “Everyone’s a lot more conscious about plastic waste and the damage it’s doing globally, and a lot of companies are recognising that and coming under pressure to adopt a more sustainable approach,” Hardy tells us. “As they’re more

environmentally conscious of the impact single-use plastic has, that comes into our area of responsibility because security seals are single-use plastic seals. So we’ve been finding a way to address that requirement. A lot of research and development has gone into developing an environmentally friendly solution.” For Mega Fortris it was important not just to develop a biodegradable seal, but a range of biodegradable seals that would suit the needs of a wide range of clients and industries. “That hadn’t been done before,” Hardy recalls. “We needed a range that didn’t compromise on shelf-life or quality. That took a lot of development and we came up with a range that didn’t compromise on those elements. The compostable plastic security seals can be biologically broken down into their base compound when in contact with naturally occurring microbes.”

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e.d.s. couriers

WHEN IT MUST BE THERE. Over one million parcels are handled by e.d.s each year. We treat every single parcel with the same high levels of care and attention your products deserve.

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Every parcel we handle is treated with care and attention. We know your reputation depends on us getting your goods to your customer on-time and arriving in perfect condition.

www.edscouriers.co.uk

Email: sales@edscouriers.com

Tel: 01543 435 149


E.D.S. COURIERS EDS is a family owned group of businesses based in Staffordshire that has seen significant year on year growth over recent years. This growth has been achieved by taking a unique customer care perspective, providing bespoke solutions to SME distribution problems in a market where the logistics giants cannot and do not wish to compete. At EDS we try and take a holistic view to client challenges and work closely with our clients to ensure that all logistical issues are covered so the client can remain solely focused on their core business. Working with a number of strategic partners, EDS sources and channels freight through the most appropriate carriers, streamlining and minimizing client time. Offering both Domestic and International solutions, our nationwide International service is seeing double digit growth and we are actively seeking out new clients to work with in this area. With Brexit adding in a new set of hurdles for us all to overcome in the coming months, we consider ourselves well placed to react to the inevitable rake of changes to come. EDS caters to a broad scope of industries and is currently working through a growth and acquisition strategy to bolster its service offering with new investment into associated logistical services for both the existing and new clients. Covid 19 has brought massive challenges to the logistics and distribution industry in 2020 and with no clear end in sight EDS are developing new strategies to accommodate the changes in personal spending online. The express parcel sector has been hit particularly hard by this, with consumer spending dynamics, changed, probably forever. Whilst this is proving very positive in terms of some record numbers coming through, it also provides a number of distinct challenges in trying to maintain the high level of customer service that we as a business, pride ourselves on. EDS continues to adapt to the now constantly changing trading environment to ensure its clients continue to receive excellent service with minimal disruption. Chief Strategy Officer - Colin Nonis said: “The strength of our business comes in both its agility, and its adaptability for our clients. We firmly believe these are the key factors for surviving and prospering in the evolution of ours, or any industry. Maintaining those core factors, will always remain as the beating heart of our growth strategy”.

MEGA FORTRIS UK

“WE NEEDED A RANGE THAT DIDN’T COMPROMISE ON SHELF-LIFE OR QUALITY. THAT TOOK A LOT OF DEVELOPMENT AND WE CAME UP WITH A RANGE THAT DIDN’T COMPROMISE ON THOSE ELEMENTS. THE COMPOSTABLE PLASTIC SECURITY SEALS CAN BE BIOLOGICALLY BROKEN DOWN INTO THEIR BASE COMPOUND WHEN IN CONTACT WITH NATURALLY OCCURRING MICROBES.” OPEN TO NEW IDEAS

Of course, developing a product like this requires a team with a great deal of talent and expertise. Finding and nurturing talent is a cornerstone of Mega Fortis’s strategy, not just in research and development, but in every aspect of the business. “We work with several recruiting agencies to identify talent and what we look for is someone who can grow with the company, not someone who finds a role and stays there,” Edgar says. “We invest in coaching, identifying talent within the company, often on a one to one basis, to nurture the talent we have and get the best out of people we can. We’re happy to reinvest money in expanding what people can do.”

www.edscouriers.co.uk

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Specialists in cargo damage prevention All products certified by DNVGL and Dekra The highest quality standard for Professionals

Our sales partner for the UK Mega Fortris

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MEGA FORTRIS UK

“WE INVEST IN COACHING, IDENTIFYING TALENT WITHIN THE COMPANY, OFTEN ON A ONE TO ONE BASIS, TO NURTURE THE TALENT WE HAVE AND GET THE BEST OUT OF PEOPLE WE CAN. WE’RE HAPPY TO REINVEST MONEY IN EXPANDING WHAT PEOPLE CAN DO.”

To get the most out of its people it is absolutely essential that people feel their ideas will be listened to and considered, and this is an important aspect of Mega Fortris UK’s culture. Hardy tells us, “We’re always open to new ideas and different ways of looking at things. People aren’t brought on board and made to stick within the current system.”

Repsco is built on recycling. While a lot of people are talking about building Green Initiatives, Repsco is busy doing it. At REPSCO, we are experts at customizing polymer blends and sheet specifications to meet your unitized load size, weight, and application requirements. Further, we implement our rigorous quality control program through each step of the materials acquisition, manufacturing, and shipping process. We have recycled over 160 mln pounds of materials in the last 20 years alone. You will always receive the highest quality slipsheets that precisely meet your needs. Our HDPE slipsheets efficiently replace wood pallets in logistics, saving millions of dollars in the process. Repsco is built on recycling, but we don’t stop there. Our Green & Gold program is a Green Initiative to encourage our clients and their partner companies and vendors to recycle used slipsheets, reusing former waste products again and again, saving money, conserving resources and reducing their environmental impact in the process. Our Green to Gold program includes buyback scheme of used slipsheets.

REPSCO, 5300 Claus Rd. Building 2, Modesto, CA 95357 | Phone: +1 888 737 7261

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www.repsco.com

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MEGA FORTRIS UK

Keith Edgar, Managing Director of Mega Fortris UK. “We have an open approach where anyone can come to us and say anything,” says Debbie Wheaver, a Director at the company. “We don’t dictate how people work. If they have got better ideas, we’ll listen to them and take them on board if they’re feasible.” Over the last year and a half, Mega Fortris UK has invested a six-figure sum in its UK production facility, installing new laser machines, better workstations, and improving working conditions. They’ve also invested in their staff, providing coaching and upgraded IT and CRM systems,

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as well as a new cloud-based phone system. These new systems couldn’t have arrived at a better time, as nothing forces a business to consider “different ways of looking at things” like a global pandemic. “We invested in a cloudbased phone system at just the right time,” Edgar admits. “Staff can go home, plug a phone into the router and it’s an extension of the office. So we could operate safely during COVID-19 without disrupting the customer experience, helping us get through the whole pandemic. The phone system made

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MEGA FORTRIS UK

everything a lot easier. We have a lot of staff working from home now. We separated the production and office staff to create two bubbles. We’ve been extremely busy and a lot of our customers deal in healthcare and food and logistics, so we’re not letting customers down.” Even in the midst of the pandemic, Mega Fortris UK has been showing healthy levels of organic growth this year. Edgar is in no doubt why this is the case. “That is down to the employees, who continue to be our biggest asset,” Edgar tells us. “We’re only going to get bigger, in the future possibly through acquisitions. We’re not resting on our laurels.”

“WE’RE ALWAYS OPEN TO NEW IDEAS AND DIFFERENT WAYS OF LOOKING AT THINGS. PEOPLE AREN’T BROUGHT ON BOARD AND MADE TO STICK WITHIN THE CURRENT SYSTEM.”

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WESTLAKE CHEMICAL CORPORATION

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WESTLAKE CHEMICAL CORPORATION

WE LOOK AT HOW A COMPANY HAS CONTINUED TO GROW IN A DYNAMIC INDUSTRY.

A LEGACY IN PLASTIC YIELDS SPECIALTY PE SOLUTIONS PROJECT MANAGED BY: DAVID TAVERNOR

Westlake Chemical Corporation is a very strong player in the polyethylene (PE) arena. Since its inception in 1986 through the purchase of a single reactor in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the company has continued to grow significantly in both company size and geographic reach. Today, Westlake ranks as the world’s largest specialty autoclave low-density polyethylene producer, and as the second-largest producer of LDPE in the Americas. Westlake, which is also a leading global producer of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), employs approximately 9,500 individuals worldwide, generates over 40 B lbs (18.1 M metric tons) of production, & maintains operations on three continents.

T

he company has experienced excellent growth through what Erik Keracik, Vice President of Polyethylene, calls “strategic growth driven by a culture of collaboration.” In practical terms, that means the company takes a much longer-term view of value-focused growth than other businesses might. For nearly 35 years, Westlake has operated with a disciplined investment culture and a strong balance sheet, which has provided the company with the ability to weather economic cycles and generate strategic growth over time.

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“It’s the customer collaboration and partnership that differentiates us,” Keracik explains. “Our interactions are deeper than just looking for a quick sale. We want to partner with our customers and develop a long-term relationship based on trust and mutual benefit.” A great example of this is the continued investments in the Customer Solutions Center lab in Longview, Texas. This lab offers PE customers access to millions of dollars’ worth of commercial-scale plastics conversion materials and analytical equipment. Westlake continues to invest heavily in

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WESTLAKE CHEMICAL CORPORATION

their lab capabilities purely as a service for its strategic customers. Keracik describes the lab as a place “where an experienced staff of operators, engineers, and scientists all work collaboratively to develop the best solutions for our customers.” Furthermore, Keracik sees the lab as a critical piece of Westlake’s commitment to its customers and their PE business. “Our investments in our lab capabilities reinforce to our customers that we’re investing in this business for the long run,” Keracik tells us. It’s an approach that makes good business sense in an increasingly competitive market when converters are faced with more choice than ever. There’s a growing number of new entrants into the market, and a flood of promises and marketing materials vying for the attention of Westlake’s potential customers.

THE FUTURE OF PLASTIC

In an age of increasing awareness around issues of environmentalism and sustainability, the plastics industry can often find itself cast as the villain. But Keracik counters that plastic has an essential role to play in building a sustainable future. “Misuse of plastic has created a perception that plastic is inherently bad. But the reason plastic has proliferated is its exceptional properties which help to prevent food waste and allow more efficient transportation, among many other advantages,” Keracik explains. “A great example is farmers utilizing plastic packaging to store seasonal crops. It prevents them from spoiling so they can be sold and consumed even offseason. The same qualities

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of plastic that can cause problems when it’s misused are also the qualities that can make it a valuable tool for sustainability.” Westlake believes that all companies in our industry have a responsibility to educate consumers on the proper use of plastics and contribute towards driving solutions towards sustainability. Making a commitment toward reducing plastic waste worldwide, in 2019, Westlake joined the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a global consortium of over 50 leading producers and consumer-products companies committed to investing in reducing the amount of plastic waste, particularly in the world’s oceans. As Keracik points out, “We are constantly helping our customers find new ways to achieve their sustainability goals through the use of our products and capabilities. For example, using MXSTEN® to boost properties in Post Consumer Recycle (PCR) blends or use less prime resin through downgauging.”

“OUR INVESTMENTS IN OUR LAB CAPABILITIES REINFORCE TO OUR CUSTOMERS THAT WE’RE INVESTING IN THIS BUSINESS FOR THE LONG RUN.”

THREE FOCUS AREAS

Indeed, talking to Keracik it’s clear he’s optimistic about Westlake’s future and highlights three main areas of focus. The first being international growth. “Our international growth in regions such as Europe will continue to be a focus moving forward,” he says. “We have been committed to the region and will continue to invest in ensuring our European partners enjoy the same level of service as our domestic

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WESTLAKE CHEMICAL CORPORATION

customers, including access to local sales and technical resources for support.” “We are working collaboratively with our European customers to develop superior film and coating structures that allow for downgauging, higher performance, and possibly even more simplified structures that allow for better recycling,” explains Dirk Wijnia, EU Key Account Manager. The second area of focus is investment in its technical expertise and capabilities for joint development. “Our technical services and capabilities have always been a Westlake

strength, however, the needs of our customers and consumers are always evolving. Therefore, we are continuing to invest proactively in our ability to support joint development efforts through testing equipment and capabilities to collaborate with our customers in new and better ways,” Keracik explains. The third area of focus is the return to the “new normal” once the pandemic is over. Keracik concludes, “We understand that our customers, especially international ones, may be hesitant to travel or receive visitors even as the pandemic starts to subside. We want to make sure that we can accommodate this, while still maintaining connectivity and providing our customers with resources like our lab.”

“STRATEGIC GROWTH DRIVEN BY A CULTURE OF COLLABORATION.”

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HORIZON MINERALS

HORIZON MINERALS DOESN’T JUST WORK WITH LOCAL COMMUNITIES, IT IS A PART OF THEM.

THE LOCAL GOLD MINE PROJECT MANAGED BY: NEIL STOWE

Horizon Minerals is a gold-focused producer, developer, and explorer in the West Australian goldfields. With a lot of the mines we talk to, the first challenge they encounter is one of infrastructurelarge mineral deposits are rarely found near main roads, railways and power lines. But for Horizon’s projects in Boorara, Kalgoorlie Regional, and Coolgardie Regional, this simply isn’t an issue.

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e’re close to infrastructure in one of the world’s largest and most prolific gold jurisdictions,” says Jon Price, Managing Director of Horizon Minerals. Right now Horizon Minerals is working to move into mid-tier production status. Across their operations, the company is drilling while growing their business into the midtier space. “We have a busy 12 months ahead of us,” Price tells us. “We’ll be making a decision to construct our own processing plant by the middle of next year.”

WHERE WE RAISE OUR CHILDREN

Jon Price, MD, Horizon Minerals.

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In carrying out these plans, Horizon Minerals’ location has been an important advantage, not just for infrastructure, but for the lifestyle of their employees.

“Location is a key element for us. We have 850km2 of tenure in a 75km radius of the city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. There’s no need for a camp or airstrips,” Price says. “All the infrastructure and services are in place, which is better for employees and better for our economics because we don’t need to put in the additional infrastructure. People can drive to work and be home to their family in 15 to 20 minutes.” These close connections to the community are thrown into sharp relief as Horizon’s mines begin to enter the operational phase. Every mining operation knows the importance of good relations with the local community, but for Horizon the stakes are a bit higher. “Obviously as we move into the operational phase we’re close to the traditional landowners. We’re working closely with community advocacy groups and as we move into the full-scale

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operational phase we buy local and use the local businesses,” Price says. “We’ve lived and worked out there for many years and raised our children in these communities, so we want to make sure those communities are getting the maximum benefit from that work. We’re using a local workforce, local suppliers and contractors. We’re making sure that benefit flows through the whole community.” On the community’s side of things, local people and businesses are more than familiar with the mining sector, but for Price, this only makes it more important to manage the mine’s impact on the local environment. “On the environmental side, this goldfield has been worked since 1897. It’s a mature goldfield but there’s a lot more gold

to mine, so we work hard to minimise our environmental impact,” Price says. “We have the opportunity with energy to use solar, wind, geothermal and hybrid. Our social licensing lets us leave as small a footprint as we can, keeping as close to the lowest carbon scenario as is possible given current variations between diesel, coal and renewable energy. We’re looking at a hybrid solution but also recognise we need an economic outcome for shareholders.”

“PEOPLE CAN DRIVE TO WORK AND BE HOME TO THEIR FAMILY IN 15 TO 20 MINUTES.”

For all your RC drilling requirements.

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This is one of the reasons why, when it comes to recruitment, Horizon Minerals is often able to wait for the people to come to them. “Because we’ve been around in the Western Australian goldfields and our chairman is a local entrepreneur who owns a lot of infrastructure in Kalgoorlie, people come to us,” Price tells us. “We put ads in the local Kalgoorlie Miner and people want to come and talk to us. We want a familyfriendly roster and long-term employees. It presents an opportunity to give people that work/life balance and stay close to home.” While Horizon has benefited from its closeness to community and infrastructure, their location has also benefited from relative isolation during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re very fortunate to be in an isolated community where COVID hasn’t had a major presence at all,” says Price. “Western Australia has had the opportunity to stay open. It’s been almost business as usual. But for us in Kalgoorlie, we’re utilising local drillers and contractors so the impact has been minimal to nil.”

Work Shop Address: 35-39 Vivian Street South Boulder, W.A. 6432 Postal Address; PO Box 2398 Boulder, W.A. 6432

Horizon Minerals has been largely protected from the larger events happening elsewhere in the world, but the gold sector is not without its own risks. “We stick to gold because it’s what we know, with a great deal of experience and a technical suite of expertise,” Price says. “Like everyone in the gold sector, geology risk is the highest risk we face. We’re happy with our jurisdiction in terms of political risk. It comes down to the technical issues.” Horizon addresses these risks by taking a cautious, softly-

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around 60-70,000 ounces an annum initially before growing organically to 100,000 ounces per annum.” Horizon is also looking into making bolt-on acquisitions as it goes, but Price is sanguine about the fact that acquisitions may not always be a one-way street. “We have the major producers right next door because it’s a fantastic gold producing region, so as far as acquisitions are concerned we are both

predator and prey,” he says. “If we get taken over with a good price for shareholders that’s fine by us, otherwise we want to consolidate with other businesses our size. We have very exciting times ahead with the preparations for our own plant. We want to invite investors to join us on the journey.” Indeed, it seems like this family-friendly, communityorientated mining company is well on the way to growing into something truly rewarding.

“WE HAVE FOUR DRILLING RIGS OPERATING CONTINUOUSLY FOR 12 TO 18 MONTHS.” softly approach to entering production. “We take a conservative approach. At our previous successful mining, we drilled out the whole ore body before we commenced mining,” Price recalls. “With our large-scale operation, we have grade control drilled across the whole strike zone we’ve just completed trial mining. So we have a unique opportunity to trial the ore body before we commit a lot of capital. We have a toll milling business next to us we’re using to trial and test the grade. So, we’re set to make money with a highvalue orebody but we have the opportunity to test it before we commit.” Looking forward, Horizon Minerals has a busy year ahead, with their drilling programme already well underway. “We have four drilling rigs operating continuously for 12 to 18 months. We’re generating confidence for the larger-scale development, with the new flow coming into the market when we complete the feasibility study,” Price explains. “We want to build a 1.5 million-ton processing plant, processing

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KUDUMANE MANGANESE RESOURCES

KUDUMANE MANGANESE RESOURCES OPERATES ONE OF THE LARGEST MINES OF ITS TYPE IN THE WORLD, BUT ITS PRIORITY IS TO LEAVE A LOCAL LEGACY.

MINING FOR LOCAL VALUE PROJECT MANAGED BY: ANDREW BOURKE

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KUDUMANE MANGANESE RESOURCES

Kudumane Manganese Resources is a manganese producer based in South Africa’s Northern Cape.

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ince it went into operation in 2012, the company has risen to be in the top five producers in South Africa, as well as the top eight globally. Their current operations in Farm York and Hotazel are producing approximately 2 million tonnes of manganese ore per year, and once the open-castable resource in this operation has been depleted an underground operation at Farm

Telele will be introduced. The main components of the current operation consist of two open-pit mines, a crushing and screening plant, mine residue disposal and storage facilities, and various support infrastructure and services. Across its operational mines, Kudumane is employing over 1,000 people while also working with Asia Minerals Limited in Hong Kong to handle marketing & distribution.

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Making the impossible

POSSIBLE E Loading, hauling, crushing, On-mine Logistics – we move earth – 5,5 million tons per month.

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We seek to build strong relationships with our clients and any relevant professional teams involved in realizing our client’s dream. We see ourselves as business partners and not just contractors. Head Office: Phone: (051) 407 6600 Address: 2 Lillyvale Avenue, Rayton, Bloemfontein, 9301, 4 | BUSINESS MAGAZINE Free State,FOCUS South Africa

Operational Address KMR: Farm York A279 Hotazel Northern Cape Hotazel 053 492 3181/ 051 492 1999

Operational Address UMK: Farm Perth District Road D3340 Hotazel BUSINESSFOCUSMAGAZINE.COM 076 734 7895


KUDUMANE MANGANESE RESOURCES

Thembelani Gantsho, CEO, KMR. While the operation’s open-pit mining is expected to have a lifeof-mine of 15 years, underground mining is expected to extend that by over 100 years. Kudumane Manganese Resources is a formidable operation in its own right, but the company is also able to draw on wider resources thanks to its position as part of the Asia Minerals Limited Group with their head office in Hong Kong, with operations in Japan, Ukraine, India, Korea, the US, and China. Including a Smelting Operation in Malaysia. “What sets us apart is through our relationship with Asia Minerals we’re not a producer that really sells in the spot market. We build long-term relationships with our customers with most of our sales going through frame contracts,” says Thembelani Gantsho, CEO of the mining company. “At the start of the year approximately 95% of our sales are already committed and we keep the same customers year-in-year-out. We look to relationships with customers.”

from the surrounding area. “We focus on ensuring we hire locally. Of our total workforce, 80% is locally employed,” Gantsho tells us. “Now there are challenges at times in hiring more senior staff from within the local community and then we have had to look outside of those communities to find those employees, but wherever possible we make sure our workforce comes from the local communities and our subcontractors adhere to this policy as well.” For Gantsho, this isn’t just about employing local people. It’s also about investing in and building on the local talent pool. As he explains, “It’s a commitment we’ve made to regulators. We spent a lot of resources in training our employees and providing programs for local communities including students through bursaries and learnerships.” KMR commits a total of 10% to the Community Trust, Employee Trusts, and SA Societies & Northern Trust.” Of course, like mining operations all around the world, Kudumane Manganese Resources has had to protect its people and reassess the way it works in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

“WE FOCUS ON ENSURING WE HIRE LOCALLY. OUR TOTAL WORKFORCE 80% IS LOCALLY EMPLOYED.”

“Currently, the biggest challenge is operating within the COVID-19 environment. It’s brought about new challenges and new ways of thinking about business,” Gantsho points out. “How does one still keep to the required level of operational efficiency with increased regulation and oversight?” For Gantsho the answer comes down to the human resources the company has worked so hard to develop. “One of the key components is our human capital. That is very important in terms of our ability to make sure we deliver on our commitments to our shareholders,” Gantsho says. “The fact that South Africa went into a hard lockdown in early March allowed us to put in place measures to bring back the workforce in a safer environment.”

SPIRIT OF COLLABORATION

This safer environment has also been made possible thanks to collaborations with a range of government and industry bodies and agencies. “We’ve been working with the Mineral Council for guidelines, but our teams have worked hard to put in place contingency strategies that ensure we compartmentalise shifts. If there is an infection it is contained within that shift,” says Gantsho. “They can be put into isolation for the required period while another shift comes in. That is how we’ve managed

KEEPING IT LOCAL

Kudumane Manganese Resources isn’t simply about extracting value from the land, however. It is a core principle of the company that local communities benefit from the work the company does, and to this end, the company has worked hard on drawing talent

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while working with regulatory authorities to ensure we comply and put best practices in place.” Indeed, with Kudumane Manganese Resources being positioned where it is, Gantsho foresees collaboration as an important part of the company’s strategy moving forward. “We’ve moved from a place where we’re building and consolidating those gains, we’ve made to a position where we’re becoming more efficient. We’re looking at how we can extend the life of mine, finding collaborations with our neighbours, looking for

synergies,” Gantsho explains. “That is a focus for the short to medium term of the business.” It may seem odd to work with companies that, in some ways, could be seen as competitors, but Gantsho is keen to find ways to create win-win scenarios for all concerned. “There are a number of producers coming on board which we can collaborate with and where they can invest less by collaborating with us,” he tells us. As Gantsho points out, it all comes back to trying to build something that will ultimately benefit local communities.

“From a South African perspective, all producers have a role to play in ensuring we add to the benefit and growth of local communities,” Gantsho insists. “Whenever we are done mining, we want to leave a lasting legacy in those communities. That’s one of our driving forces. We’re not just extractors of materials.”

“FROM A SOUTH AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE, ALL PRODUCERS HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY IN ENSURING WE ADD TO THE BENEFIT AND GROWTH OF LOCAL COMMUNITIES. WHENEVER WE ARE DONE MINING, WE WANT TO LEAVE A LASTING LEGACY IN THOSE COMMUNITIES. THAT’S ONE OF OUR DRIVING FORCES. WE’RE NOT JUST EXTRACTORS OF MATERIALS.” 158 | BUSINESS FOCUS MAGAZINE

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KUDUMANE MANGANESE RESOURCES

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METSO OUTOTEC

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METSO OUTOTEC

FOUNDED LAST SUMMER, METSO OUTOTEC HAS 150 YEARS OF HISTORY BEHIND IT. WE FIND OUT HOW THIS OLD, NEW COMPANY IS DRIVING INNOVATION.

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN PROJECT MANAGED BY: TIMOTHY GARWOOD

A few months ago Metso Outotec didn’t exist. However, competing mining and aggregate industry suppliers, Metso and Outotec, did exist, each with 150 years of history in the industry. While the companies were competing, however, they realised there was also a great deal of opportunity to be had in the synergies and complementary products each company could offer.

B

Metso Outotec’s Grinding Mill wear products are used in some of the largest machines under toughest conditions.

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y combining forces, Metso Outotec has today the widest offering from ore body to metal, with global number 1 position in aggregates, minerals processing and metals. The company employs 15,000 people and operates in more than 50 countries being among the largest geographic footprint in the industry. “It was a nice marriage,” says Sami Takaluoma, President of the Consumables business area of Metso Outotec. “We were competitors, but we had more complementary products and offerings in our portfolio, and now we’re in the industry with the full offering for our customers. That is one of our strengths moving forward.”

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Five months into the new company there has already been a lot of integration in the process of putting the two companies together. “We’re establishing the new culture of a new company, and this has been relatively smooth and easy,” Takaluoma says. “I think the main reason for that has been that although there are different cultures inside the companies coming together, we’re both originated from Finland, so there are certain underlying base values that have been the same.” One of those key underlying values is a respect for the importance of innovation. “Innovation and technology are a big part of our company. We invest 100 million euros in research and development projects annually, being one of the highest spends in the industry,” Takaluoma says. “It’s one of the cornerstones of the company.” ON THE CUTTING EDGE

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PHILOSOPHY IN PRACTICE

Those values can be seen in practice in the form of the new factory Metso Outotec has opened in Lithuania this year. The factory utilises fossil-free and renewable electricity in its products and its processes have been optimised for each customer segment. The new factory is producing rubber and poly-met wear parts for the mining industry, Metso Outotec’s largest customer segment. “I’m proud to say globally we are number one in the consumables area. One of the reasons why we have been able to maintain this position is we have chosen and are continuing to follow a strategy where we offer end-to-end service,” Takaluoma explains. “We are manufacturing the products ourselves in our own operations. We are in control of raw material purchasing, making sure the quality starts there. We are responsible for the design, adapting it to our factories. We’re making sure the production process is topnotch, Tier one, and we even collect back the worn products because sustainability is a main driver for the business.” When scouting locations for this facility, Lithuania seemed like a natural destination in line with Metso Outotec’s strategy to develop its global supply base. The company has currently eleven factories manufacturing synthetic solutions and six metal foundries, and as part of a constantly dynamic business sector, it is continually reviewing customer needs and developing Metso Outotec’s own supply footprint. “Last year we decided Lithuania is, geographically, perfectly located,” Takaluoma says. “Russia is a big market for us, as is the rest of Europe. So it’s effectively located.”

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Aside from the geographical location, Lithuania itself has a number of appealing qualities, as Takaluoma points out, “Lithuania is a rapidly developing country in many ways including infrastructure, IT capabilities, and they still have very skilled employees for this kind of factory work, which is somewhat labour intensive.” In initiating this project, Metso Outotec naturally worked hard to address every foreseeable risk in advance.

“NOBODY KNEW THAT WE WOULD BE RAMPING UP THE FACTORY DURING AN ONGOING GLOBAL PANDEMIC!”

“Nobody knew that we would be ramping up the factory during an ongoing global pandemic!” Takaluoma admits. “That was the sort of moment where you sit down and think what is the best thing to do now? To continue the project? Should we postpone? And we decided to find a way to continue the project plan.” From the start, Takaluoma knew that completing this project during a pandemic wouldn’t go exactly as planned. Originally the construction of the factory was to be overseen on-site by industry experts who could supervise the construction process and train new staff in the running of the factory. With international travel no longer on the table, Metso Outotec was forced to get creative.

Sami Takaluoma, President of Consumables business area in Metso Outotec.

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“Like many companies, the digital leap became essential,” Takaluoma says. “We learned how to build up a factory and install equipment remotely. There is a lot of technology available nowadays to do that, but not so much that we’d been using. We had pro-cams in the helmets of people in Lithuania, with experts sitting at home locations, watching, talking and advising remotely.”

THE WAY FORWARD

Takaluoma tells us he’s proud of how surprisingly smoothly the development of the factory went once everything was in place, but he’s also clear that this is only the first step in a long-term strategy for the new company. “When we established the new company in the summertime, we were creating the strategy for that new company,” he explains. “One area we expect to really thrive is

sustainability. Sustainability is a big word with a lot of meanings, including everything from safety to carbon footprints. We’re committed as a company to the 1.5-degree climate programme. We will do our share. But what inspires me personally in this strategy is we’re not only doing our part.” Metso Outotec is sourcing its electricity from green providers and is working to achieve zero emissions at the earliest opportunity. It’s also investing in its operations to reduce the company’s CO2 footprint heavily over the next ten years. However, to really make an impact, Metso Outotec has set its sights on a more ambitious project. “Our customers have larger CO2 footprints than we do, so we’re using our research and development resources to help our customers reduce their CO2 footprint,” Takaluoma says. That’s one of the great things

Sustainability engineering in Metso Outotec: Mobile crushing plant LT106 is designed to low dust and noise for customers operating close to residential areas.

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Mining and aggregate customers supported by Metso Outotec service experts are operating in very challenging conditions.

we’ll be able to deliver for the whole industry and the whole globe.” Another area where Metso Outotec is looking to lead the industry is in digitalisation. “The minerals industry may not be today a forerunner in this sector, but that means we don’t need to design everything from scratch,” Takaluoma tells us. “We can learn from other industries and adopt and adapt solutions, adding value for our customers. I’m passionate about working together with customers to make them successful and make the world better.”

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Getting it done – Together: Metso Outotec has more than 15.000 employees in over 50 countries.

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WESTERN AREAS LTD

WE LEARN HOW WESTERN AREAS’ NICKEL MINING OPERATIONS COULD BE THE FOUNDATION OF A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE.

MORE THAN NICKEL & DIME PROJECT MANAGED BY: NEIL STOWE In Western Australia, this year Western Areas Ltd is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and it’s been a busy couple of decades.

W

e’ve been listed on the ASX since July 2000, over that time we have opened up two of our current operations at our Forrestania operations, namely, Flying Fox mine and the Spotted Quoll mine,” says Dan Lougher, CEO of the company. “Both operations produce some of the highest-grade nickel sulphides in the world.” As well as these operational sites, Western Areas is also deep in the development process for a new mine that should begin to see production towards the end of this year. “We have another operation we’re currently developing called Odysseus, which is located at the Cosmos operations. It will have a lifeof-mine of over ten years, an order of 211,000 nickel tonnes in reserve, with first ore production expected around September 2021,” Lougher tells us. “We purchased the site in October 2015 from

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Glencore. We’re fundamentally an explorer, finding new mines and developing the mines independently, and have been doing so for 20 years. We sell a high-grade nickel concentrate grading around 15% nickel. Our contracts are with BHP Nickel West as well as Jinchuan, the largest Chinese nickel cathode producer.”

A 2020 ODYSSEY

Lougher considers the purchase of the Odysseus site a great deal for Western Areas, and one he’s keen for the company to build on. “We purchased Odysseus as part of the Cosmos complex in 2015. It was previously run by Jubilee Mines, a small junior in the late 90s. They sold that on and we purchased it for around A$24 million, so we got a bargain,” he says proudly. “We have an excellent street address for nickel sulphides, between two Nickel West operations, so it’s got extensive infrastructure. We can access grid power and gas. In addition, we have a 550-person camp and a concentrator which is currently under care maintenance that will soon be upgraded to a 900-ore-

tonnes per annum capacity. We’ve got the Odysseus orebodies and adjacent to that AM6 where the combined nickel reserve position is. So, in a nutshell, we’ll be mining there well into the 2030s!” As well as developing this new site, Western Areas is pushing to transform its mining operations to fit into a greener, more sustainable future. “We’ll certainly be going into sustainable power for the long-term with a combination of solar, gas and potentially wind turbines, to the order of 25 megawatts,” Lougher says. “We’re also currently developing a hoisting shaft that will be one of the few developed in Western Australia right now. That will be used for hoisting ore and waste rock from around 1km depth. So, the consequence of that will be we don’t have to use a significant amount of diesel trucks, and we’ll need less ventilation and have fewer refrigeration requirements for cooling the air.” Western Areas is pushing forward with new Environmental and Social Governance, making sustainability part of the company’s day-to-day activities.

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WESTERN AREAS LTD

Dan Lougher, CEO of Western Areas Ltd.

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• Surface core drilling specialist based in Western Australia • Deep directional drilling: wedging, navi, multiple intersections • Shallow angled drilling to -30o • Personalised service

www.westcore.com.au

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Email: admin@westcore.com.au

Tel: +61 8 9368 4093

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WEST CORE DRILLING – THE QUALITY CORING COMPANY

WESTERN AREAS LTD

WCD is a Western Australia based surface diamond drilling contractor, established in 2006. At WCD we consider we have the most flexible fleet of surface core rigs in WA having undertaken contracts from the middle of salt lakes to the top of mesas, from the coastline of the Southern Ocean to the ranges of the Kimberley. We offer the full range of services from geotechnical to deep directional drilling using wedging and navi drilling for both hole control and multiple intersections. We also provide our clients with the option of testing those hard to access areas around existing infrastructure such as flooded pits or waste dumps with shallow angled drilling. We can drill at angles of -30o, making drilling otherwise inaccessible areas straightforward. We are proud to have been contracted by Western Areas for the last two years to undertake their surface diamond drilling requirements at Cosmos, Odysseus and Forrestania Regional. This has included deep exploration drilling with multiple intersections, geotech holes including break-through holes with tight hole tolerances and other site investigation drilling. www.westcore.com.au

BARMINCO Barminco is one of the world’s largest hard-rock underground mining service providers with a deep capability, comprising of our people, our expertise, equipment, systems and processes, developed over three decades of experience in Australasia, Africa and North America. Barminco currently employ over 4,500 people, at 23 projects in eight countries and while our alumni are renowned for being among the best miners in the world, it’s the people we retain who define our culture and truly give us an experience edge. Our purpose is to create enduring value and certainty for our clients and we are proud that Western Areas is one of our longest running continuous relationships. The recently signed five-year contract for Western Areas’ newest project – Odysseus –will extend the company relationship to over 20 years. Barminco have worked with Western Areas for the full life of their current operating mines Spotted Quoll and Flying Fox in Western Australia - providing development, production, pastefill and diamond drilling. We continue to look for opportunities to work together with Western Areas to improve efficiencies and reduce costs across operations. Barminco is part of the Perenti Group, Australia’s second largest integrated mining services provider. Perenti operations span four continents and 13 countries with a global workforce of more than 8,000 employees. Perenti’s culture is underpinned by a set of principles that drive the way they work, their actions and behaviours. “Barminco and Western Areas have the strongest of partnerships, built on honesty, trust and working together as a team to resolve issues, highlight opportunities and optimise performance. We look forward to being a part of Western Areas’ bright future.” Paul Muller, Chief Executive Officer, Barminco www.barminco.com.au

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“WE NOW HAVE A POSITION WHERE WE HAVE PROBABLY ONE OF IF NOT THE BEST PROJECT BEING DEVELOPED WHICH WILL SEE US WELL INTO 2030.” “When you design and run mines, major stakeholders expect us to follow guidelines and use our business practices to help build a better and greener world,” Lougher says. “All of these concerns play a part in our ongoing mine designs.” Mining is not an industry many immediately associate with sustainability, but the industry has a crucial role to play in building a sustainable future. “With mining, there’s a view that it’s dirty, but copper and nickel and other minerals we produce are used in creating that greener world,” Lougher explains. “There are parts of the community that believe we’re

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not doing enough, but we’ve got projects, we’re doing more to improve efficient extractability of the ore, so it doesn’t use as much energy. Every little bit helps.” This push for a more sustainable future also opens up a promising market for the minerals Western Areas is mining. “Iron ore is still going strong. Gold is going stellar, and of course, copper and other base metals like nickel are seeing growth on the back of the technology of electric vehicle batteries,” says Lougher. Western Areas is wellpositioned to meet this growing demand with two very highgrade operations in production, a very strong exploration skillset

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internally and a demonstrative track record of discovering and building operations. “We now have a position where we have probably one of if not the best project being developed which will see us well into 2030,” Lougher tells us. “That’s an exceptional record. We are an explorer, builder, miner, and we’ve got some great contracts coming into the market for our highgrade nickel concentrate.”

A CULTURE OF SUCCESS

This record wouldn’t have been possible without an exemplary team, and talking to Lougher it’s clear he’s proud of Western Areas’ technical group. “We pride ourselves in doing as much work internally as possible, not relying on external consultants,” he tells us. This team is the result of a long-term investment in the staff of Western Areas. “We have a culture that has been developed over the last 20 years where we have a significant portion of our staff staying with the company for ten

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years or more,” says Lougher. “I’ve been here for over 14 years. It’s a good place to work with a low turnover but for mining and other key activities such as exploration drilling, we rely on contract staff. Looking forward, Lougher is looking to take that team from strength to strength. “We’ve got two main operational mining hubs which have got significant amounts of nickel in the ground. We’re innovating with our introduction of heap leaching,” he says. “We have a mineral recovery enhancement project using bacteria and acid to

extract nickel from difficult ores.” Looking forward, Cosmos will become the growth and future of the company. The Odysseus site will be at the centre of this growth, as Lougher tells us, “We’ll be developing Odysseus, and the Cosmos operation as it has a large amount of nickel with plenty of room for exploration and further discoveries. Once we’re up and running towards the end of the next year, that will provide significant growth for the company. We think it’s a great company, 20 years in the making and at least another 20 years to go.”

“WE’VE GOT TWO MAIN OPERATIONAL MINING HUBS WHICH HAVE GOT SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF NICKEL IN THE GROUND. WE’RE INNOVATING WITH OUR INTRODUCTION OF HEAP LEACHING. WE HAVE A MINERAL RECOVERY ENHANCEMENT PROJECT USING BACTERIA AND ACID TO EXTRACT NICKEL FROM DIFFICULT ORES.” BUSINESS FOCUS MAGAZINE | 171


DR AHMED AL-JIBOURI - ARMADA GROUP

DR AHMED AL-JIBOURI, ONE OF IRAQ’S PROMINENT BUSINESSMEN & INVESTORS, IS APPLYING HIS LEADERSHIP QUALITIES NOT ONLY TO PROMOTING BUSINESS GROWTH BUT ALSO TO COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT.

LEADING TO PROMOTE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT MANAGED BY: GLEN NEWTON

Starting his career as a regional manager, Dr Ahmed Al-Jibouri moved through several senior-level positions at various multinational companies before establishing his own successful companies. Now a recognised authority in the oil and gas sector, he spoke to us about his professional journey, and what continues to drive him not only in the business environment but in the efforts to help find paths to success to others.

H

e admits that it was the love of his native Iraq that attracted him to pursue a career in the oil and gas sector in the first place. “Iraq is known to be wealthy, with oil & gas as its top natural resources, and these resources continue to be the future of my country and its generations that are yet to follow. I believe that efficient utilisation of oil & gas resources is the gateway to favourable opportunities that will boost and help the growth of the Iraqi economy. My passion is translated into the investment projects that I have worked on and that I am still planning to execute.” Today Dr Ahmed Al-Jibouri manages several successful business entities but he

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insists that it is not just the management that promotes business growth; the core ingredient is people, committed and dedicated to contributing to sustained productivity, and operating in a healthy, collaborative workplace. “I pledged to convey to my employees the lessons I learned, and to lead by example,” he says. “I readily offer my team all the support they need and continuously strive to make their values respected. I also ensure that the bridges I have built with my team always stand on a solid foundation and I intend to always encourage them to further grow and learn by sharing my personal and professional experiences with them. All of this motivates me

to give more, as it is my utmost pleasure to be their coach, and not only their CEO.”

BUSINESS AND SOCIAL CONSIDERATIONS

Dr Al-Jibouri’s values and philosophy are reflected in his companies. One of them is Armada, headquartered in Amman, Jordan - his second home - leading international engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) consultancy company in the oil, chemicals, and power sectors that has, over the years, witnessed substantial growth both on the domestic and international fronts. Dr Al-Jibouri’s vision aimed to create a professional and modern company that has a global reach in the very competitive oil and chemicals manufacturing sector. Its key competencies include engineering, supplying chemicals, equipment, materials, construction for oil and gas fields and refineries in Iraq, in addition to oil field services and after-sales

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Dr Ahmed Al-Jibouri, President & CEO, Armada Group.


DR AHMED AL-JIBOURI - ARMADA GROUP

services. The group operates mainly in the following countries: Jordan, Iraq, UAE, and the USA but offers its services to clients around the world. The company also develops comprehensive and complete power solutions for power generation, distribution, and transmission, with a focus on renewable energy. “Armada Group is committed to global renewable energy standards and goals,” says Dr Al-Jibouri. “To foster a better environment for future generations, we believe in reducing environmentally harmful and toxic emissions by producing clean and sustainable power that reduces CO2 emissions and minimizes reliance on conventional fossil-based fuels, such as oil and gas.” To this end, Armada Group is involving in developing world-class knowledge and experience in renewable energy generation, especially photovoltaic solar energy and wind energy, through collaboration and jointventures with well-known and experienced international companies to take the lead in promoting and developing renewable energy power plants. Social responsibility is also high on Armada Group’s agenda, as demonstrated recently by the conclusion of a collaboration agreement with Tkiyet Um Ali – an NGO that is well-known for voluntary and charitable work – to support its ongoing programs and seasonal campaigns that aim to eradicate and combat hunger in Jordan. “This initiative comes as one of the humanitarian actions that we continuously offer, and we do not expect anything in return other than generating happiness with the individuals who are fighting against hunger,” affirms Dr Al-Jibouri.

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CREATING PATHWAYS FOR NEW GENERATIONS

He admits that it is rewarding to see the successful operation of his many businesses across diversified sectors in different countries paving the way to providing support where it is needed. “Success is the result of hard work, and it enables me to implement charitable projects that give me the pride to bring joy to people’s lives through my continuous CSR initiatives towards underprivileged communities and other groups that benefit from additional support,” he points out.

One such initiative is linked to a concept that is spoken about with increased urgency - Artificial Intelligence, an area of great interest to Dr Al Jibouri for its capability to transform an organisation into an innovative, efficient and sustainable company of the future, as well as to bring benefits to the society as such. Dr Al-Jibouri has recently launched the Tashjee Initiative, a programme designed to encourage and support students, innovators and educational institutions to develop the use and understanding of AI in the Middle East.

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DR AHMED AL-JIBOURI - ARMADA GROUP

He explains that the Tashjee Initiative as a platform is aimed at helping young people cultivate their social, emotional and professional strengths, by supporting and encouraging their innovative ideas and turning them into reality. “This initiative is part of the sustainable development projects that we work on, since we regard our youth as being one of the most valuable investments, with the results of this project being longlasting and affecting the overall economy.”

INSPIRATIONAL LEADERSHIP

“I hope to positively impact the generations and communities that are yet to come; especially youth, women and disadvantaged communities. I dream of being regarded as a role model for these individuals, and teach them that achieving their goals is more than possible, and they can be reached through commitment, dedication and hard work,” he reflects.

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On the business front in the meantime, Dr Al-Jibouri’s hard work and dedication have resulted in yet another successful deal: his Jordanbased Oil Petroleum Products Storage & Logistics Company (PSC) (OPPL) has just signed the most strategic and exclusive agreement in Jordan’s history with Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC). This agreement aims to establish the Aqaba Storage Terminal for crude oil & petroleum derivatives (360,000 cubic-meter storage capacity), an exclusive terminal that will be the first of its kind in Jordan and the region, helping to boost the economy both locally and regionally. This achievement is one of many in Dr Al-Jibouri’s business journey. “Seeing my companies as market leaders and being positioned at the top of the business world truly motivates me. These visions warm my heart, fuel my drive and inspire me to work harder on offering more value.”

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VWS WESTGARTH LTD

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VWS WESTGARTH LTD

WE SEE HOW VWS WESTGARTH LTD OFFER BESPOKE SOLUTIONS THE WORLD OVER SUPPORTED BY LOCAL TALENT AND SUPPLY CHAINS.

FINDING LOCAL TALENT, GLOBALLY PROJECT MANAGED BY: TREVOR GRETSINGER

VWS Westgarth is a subsidiary of Veolia Water Technologies, itself a division of Veolia Environmental, a large French global company and the largest environmental company in the world, handling water, energy, and waste. Within that group, VWS Westgarth excels as an upstream water treatment specialist. With many years’ experience of designing and building water treatment and desalination plants behind them, VWS Westgarth has in-depth knowledge of water treatment processes, supported by Veolia’s specialist R&D and process abilities.

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“W

e produce technology for offshore water treatment,” explains Derek McIvor, Head of Operations for the company. “At the moment we’re recruiting which is a bit of a crazy situation during a pandemic, but we’re fortunate to find ourselves as busy as ever. We have over 200 employees spread over four business centres from the head office here in Glasgow, to our office in Gloucester, to another in Rio de Janeiro and our warehouse office in Angola.” VWS Westgarth began as a company working in membrane desalination technology which went into boats, a business sector they were wellpositioned to operate in from their home on the edge of the River Clyde. “It took off from there. We ended up working on that technology leading into the product line we have today with sulphate removal technology. This has become our main technology,” Derek says. “We supplied our first commercial

installation in 1992, and now we’ve supplied to the market approximately 40% of the technology operating globally.” The company has achieved this market share by going the extra mile to meet their clients’ precise specifications, drawing on decades of expertise. “We are market leaders. We know how to design and build these plants and how to do so to our client’s exact specifications,” Derek tells us. “We’ve worked for all the major utilisers of our technology and that gives us an edge in terms of understanding what the client wants when designing these packages. There’s very little exact repetition, they are all bespoke in nature to an extent we can understand and help clients optimise and design things to suit their specific needs.” VWS Westgarth has also consolidated their reputation with market-leading aftercare. “We have got a strong design and build element, but also offer excellent aftermarket care so we

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VWS WESTGARTH LTD

PIPES, FITTINGS, FLANGES, CARBON, STAINLESS, DUPLEX, SUPER DUPLEX LFF Glamal is a leading Pipe Fitting & Flange stockholder specialising in distribution, project management and MRO contracts. We have distribution depots across the UK and internationally via the LFF Group. Our stock range includes carbon, stainless and duplex steels, inventory levels are approximately £10m.

THINKING GLOBALLY, SOURCING LOCALLY

Established in 1971 Glamal is a major supplier to the Oil & Gas, Power Generation, Petrochemical, Renewables, Aviation, Marine and Biomass sectors. We are proud to have been selected as the piping supplier to VWS Westgarth for their recent Marlim 1 & Anna Nery projects for which we are supplying super duplex pipes fittings and flanges. Pegasus House, Wynyard Avenue, Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees TS22 5TB United Kingdom

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can attend the client’s site and assist clients in the operation of their plant when they invariably require specialist assistance, in turn helping them cut down on operational costs,” says Derek. “We believe that this is what makes Westgarth unique in our offering.”

T: +44(0)1740 627070 E: info@glamal.co.uk www.lff-group.com

One of the unique elements that VWS Westgarth enjoys as part of the Veolia global business is that the company is able to operate in all territories worldwide, working from its dedicated centres and with local Veolia entities to provide any necessary local content with extensive in-country sourcing. “The biggest challenge is the fact that these plants are bespoke. Clients expect technology that performs.

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VWS WESTGARTH LTD

You have to conform to each individual client’s technology requirements as well as all local regulations,” Derek explains. “We’re a truly global business so we’ve got to comply with rules, regulations and local content challenges around the world. Sometimes local content requirements are up to 60%, meaning we have to fabricate parts and buy key components in local markets while making it as economical as we possibly can to get things done on time.” Even with the support of the Veolia Group, VWS Westgarth still needs to invest carefully in each of its international markets to ensure the necessary local supply chain exists. “In Rio de Janeiro, for example, we’ve been operating since 2004, investing in people, developing the office infrastructure, and building up local capability, not just paying lip service to the concept of a local capability,” Derek says. “The office there had at one

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stage almost 50 people working there. We have managed in the downturn to keep the office going through our service solutions offering, so we have retained and developed large asset operational integrity support over there. We also invested in expatriates going to these locations to work with the local talent, while making ourselves visible in the market. It also lets clients know you’re committed and invested in supporting their businesses in the territory. We developed and manage the supply chain so that we know we can deliver and the people are there to support local requirements.”

“WE ARE A TRULY GLOBAL BUSINESS & WE COMPLY WITH RULES, REGULATIONS & LOCAL CONTENT CHALLENGES AROUND THE WORLD.”

Of course, these efforts to encourage talent don’t only take place abroad. Fortunately, VWS Westgarth has an abundance of home-grown talent to take advantage of. “In Scotland, we’ve got a very low staff turnover with quite a lot of people who have worked within the business since the early 2000s,” Derek says. “We have people who know the industry and know the business. Being in the west of Scotland there are a lot of people in the industry with the relevant experience we can tap into. Our low turnover reflects that people like working for us and they feel valued. Quite often recruitment is through word-ofmouth from people who already work for us picking up skilled people they know who can help us.” It is their people who help VWS Westgarth realise its collective vision to be the first and natural choice for all its customers, not just because the company offers value, but because it is a trusted and respected partner that offers unique collective competencies. Thanks to its talent sourcing ability in Scotland and around the world the company can continue to provide people that customers wish to work with alongside products and solutions that they choose to use. And VWS Westgarth is going to need all the people they can get, as the demand for their work is only increasing. “The demand for the technology that we supply doesn’t show any sign of slowing down so we’ve moved from building a lot of these packages in the UK to Dubai, Singapore and now China,” Derek says. “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. We’re going to keep evolving.”

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FABBRI GROUP

FABBRI GROUP TELLS US ABOUT ITS REVOLUTIONARY NEW CLING FILM AND THE CULTURE THAT MADE ITS DEVELOPMENT POSSIBLE.

TOMORROW’S PACKAGING PROJECT MANAGED BY: MAX HUTCHINGS

Fabbri Group is an Italian company that was founded 70 years ago, specialising in producing both the machinery and materials for fresh food packaging. Today the company has become an international Group active worldwide through subsidiaries and authorised distributors all over the world able to support the retail business, food industries and any other fresh food producers (meat, fish, mushrooms, fruit and vegetables, cheese, bakery, delicatessen) with tray-sealing and stretch complete packaging solutions.

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FABBRI GROUP

W

ith a skilled team of 500 people, Fabbri Group boasts a turnover of 100 million euros, half of which comes from Italy, with the rest coming mainly from Germany, Switzerland, France, the UK, Russia, and the United States. “We usually invest between 3 and 5% of our yearly turnover into research and development, developing new films, new machines, working efficiently on their own and giving their best results when combined together,” explains Stefano Mele, Fabbri Group’s CEO “We currently have a portfolio of around 120 patents registered in different countries worldwide.”

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A NEW KIND OF CLING FILM

The latest development to come out of Fabbri’s research and development workshop is a new certified compostable cling film, the first one of its kind. “We’ve developed this product over the last five years and launched it to market in February 2020, just before the first lock-down period. The circumstances became difficult for the global economy immediately afterwards, but with Nature Fresh being the only product of its type worldwide, we could count on a great advantage. Nature Fresh is suitable for both automatic and manual packaging, giving optimal results under both applications, and is certified for industrial and home compostability. That means you can throw it either in your home compost heap or in the brown bin with the food waste to be composted in an industrial setting,” Mele tells us. The development process was one of innovation, but also of close collaboration up and down the supply chain.

“We launched the project between 2015 and 2016, well before the current trend towards a circular economy was in vogue. We thought it could be an interesting solution that was different from what was already on the market. We worked in close co-operation with the supplier of the raw material, BASF, in order to continually approve and adapt the film formulation. Then we contacted some specific, selected customers for the field tests.” The new extrusion line inaugurated at the beginning of 2020 was a sizeable investment for Fabbri at over €3 million. “When we decided to do this it was not yet clear it would be really successful in the way we are seeing it now,” Mele says. “But we believed that we wanted to offer something new to the market. And the evolution of the situation proved that we were right. “Today, after Esselunga, one of the major retailers in Italy, other retailers and brand owners in Italy and abroad joined: we have customers using this

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FABBRI GROUP

film also in France, Germany Spain, Austria, the UK thanks to the growing attention on environmental solutions coming from consumers, institutions and politicians, just to mention a few, the association Pink Lady® Europe, Rivoira, Mesfruits, and we can also add other projects for domestic packaging and for sale on Amazon.” Thanks to Nature Fresh, Fabbri Group received awards in recognition of its technological innovation starting with the Packaging Oscars, a historic prize for the packaging industry in Italy, and continuing with Fabbri Group’s UK client, Westaway Sausages, that won the UK Packaging Awards for Packaging of the Year with its 100% sustainable packaging that includes Fabbri’s new cling film.

Fabbri Group is able to develop products like this precisely because the company works both sides of the packaging process at once, the machinery and the materials, being fully aware of all the issues involved in both. “Our unique selling point is our capability to offer a full solution to our customers. We produce the machines and the film for packaging, and we’re the only company doing that,” Mele says. “This means the customers don’t have to go from one supplier to the other if something goes wrong in production. Additionally, our full awareness of both, machines and films, allows us to find the optimal machine settings to fully operate at best, all of that with consequent savings in time, money and materials.”

Additives Additivesfor forPerformance Performance

As Mele says, “It’s not mandatory that the customer buy both products from us, but if they do the synergies that create are our USP. This is exactly what happens with our new wrappers “Fabbri Hybrid”, able to use any kind of stretch film (PVC, PE, Biobased, Compostable) and soon to be launched on the market.”

“OUR UNIQUE SELLING POINT IS OUR CAPABILITY TO OFFER A FULL SOLUTION TO OUR CUSTOMERS. WE PRODUCE THE MACHINES AND THE FILM FOR PACKAGING, & WE’RE THE ONLY COMPANY DOING THAT.” NATURE FRESH

Product Catalogue

Catalogue Valtris is a leading global brandProduct in the polymer additives market, providing customers with innovative products which reflect the company’s commitment to market leadership and excellence through high quality, cost effective and reliable materials. The Cereplas Cereplas™ ™ range of specialty esters are used extensively as plasticisers in medical, automotive, flooring and packaging industries (with Cereplas™ DOA used in films for food packaging), as well as base fluids in lubricants. Email: info@valtris.com (general enquiries) customer.esters@valtris.com (Cereplas™ enquiries)

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Nature Fresh is a certified compostable stretch film for both automatic and manual packaging. Compared to alternative stretch films, it ensures optimal food preservation and helps prevent food waste. Its stretch properties minimise the amount of packaging used per application. It can be disposed of in the brown bin for organic food waste or in the household compost bin without generating packaging waste. It does not require special machinery for its use. It is printable with certified compostable inks, allowing you to communicate your commitment to sustainability.

www.valtris.com

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FABBRI GROUP

Stefano Mele, Fabbri Group’s CEO.

A CLEAR FUTURE

Fabbri is seeing its project pass milestones that demonstrate its importance for the international market. But when Mele talks about what the cling film means for the future, he’s not just talking about his company. “The fact is it’s important that we are an active player in the circular economy,” he says. “We’re working together with associations in Italy like Legambiente, the most important ecological association in the country. We have already developed a very good partnership and are co-operating to bring this development further.”

Indeed, Mele is the first to acknowledge that, as a company working in the plastics sector, Fabbri Group has an important role to play in building a sustainable future. “There is a lot of discussion around plastics in the context of sustainability at the moment, so the future looks complex and challenging because different products of ours are related to plastic. Even this new compostable film is a bioplastic,” Mele says. “In many cases, there has been a lot of correct criticism about how plastic is used. We believe that plastic is a wonderful material with a lot of advantages. What we have to improve is how to manage the end of life of plastic products.” This is one of the main issues Fabbri Group is addressing in its future activities. “We want to be involved in the improvement of the complete cycle of the plastic world,” Mele says. “This is of course crucial to understanding how it will develop in the future and how we can prepare ourselves.”

“WE WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE COMPLETE CYCLE OF THE PLASTIC WORLD. THIS IS OF COURSE CRUCIAL TO UNDERSTANDING HOW IT WILL DEVELOP IN THE FUTURE AND HOW WE CAN PREPARE OURSELVES.”

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STOELZLE MASNIÈRES PARFUMERIE SAS

STOELZLE MASNIÈRES PARFUMERIE SAS, THE RENOWNED FRENCH GLASS FACTORY, HAS TURNED THE CHALLENGE OF THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC INTO AN OPPORTUNITY TO UPGRADE AND EXPAND ITS PRODUCTION FACILITY.

THE BEAUTY OF GLASS PROJECT MANAGED BY: HAYDEN TURNER

Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie SAS, formerly known as Verreries de Masnières, the manufacturer of glass containers for the perfume and cosmetics segment, boasts an impressive history going back to 1818.

I

n 2013, the glassworks as well as the nearby decoration company joined Stoelzle Glass Group and became Stoelzle Masnières SAS and Stoelzle Masnières Décoration SAS. In May 2015 the corporate forms of the two French sites were changed to Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie SAS and Stoelzle Manières Parfumerie Décoration SAS. Joining the Stoelzle Glass Group, which has its Headquarters in Austria, was a key step towards success. Stoelzle is a global player with a glassmaking tradition exceeding 200 years and has been known for its excellence in the manufacturing of high-end packaging glass for the pharmaceutical, spirits, food, perfumery and cosmetic industries in a huge variety of different designs and sizes.

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“The acquisition by Stoelzle was a significant milestone and the start of a period of extensive investment in the factory. Over the last five years, more than €15 million have been invested in the plant’s modernisation,” affirms CEO Etienne Gruyez. The Stoelzle Masnières facility runs one furnace with four lines and produces over 90 million units per year, i.e. flacons, cosmetic jars and miniatures. The decoration site offers automatic and semiautomatic silkscreen printing with ceramics and a broad range of organic colours as well as spraying and hot foil stamping. Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie is the sole glass producer worldwide to offer IPET treatment, a method to achieve fancy reflections on the bottle surface.

Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie’s production is intended for the international high-end perfumery and cosmetics market, and most of the products are designed and manufactured specifically for global luxury brands such as Givenchy, L’Oréal, Estée Lauder and many more. The fact that the company is not only a glass manufacturer but offers a complete package from design to decoration is a clear competitive advantage.

MAJOR INVESTMENT

Mr Gruyez explains that despite seeing a reduction in demand due to the 2020 pandemic, the company has committed to an investment of €20m in facility modernisation and expansion, showing clear confidence in the future. Since the furnace had come to an end, it was completely refurbished and modernized at the end of 2020 in order to restart production in early January 2021 after a brief shutdown of only 8 weeks.

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STOELZLE MASNIÈRES PARFUMERIE SAS

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All Glass S.R.L.

Via Cesare Sarti, 20 - 43029 Traversetolo (PR) - Italy Tel. +39 0521 340810 Fax. +39 0521 340805 E-mail: info@allglass.it www.allglass.it

In the heart of the Po ‘Valley in Traversetolo (Parma), comes to life at the end of the 90’s “ALL GLASS s.r.l” company. The company quickly specializes in the COLD-END sector thanks to the know-how of the founders and soon becomes an important national and international supplier of the biggest Glass Multinationals. Over the years, thanks also to the continuous requests from the market, the company has studied, designed and supplied numerous equipment that has been “standardized” and “customized” to make them more and more effective and increasingly performing following the specific requests of the final user. Analyzing the specific requests of the market, All Glass has also rapidly developed an important section dedicated to handling perfumery and miniature products which, considering the peculiarities of their shape and small size, must be managed and handled with extreme care. The continuous evolution of glass containers due to more and more consistent enforcement of marketing over the years has led to a real transformation of the same, which are now marketed in many different shapes and sizes. These peculiarities have imposed on the manufacturers’ market the need to automate their equipment more and more, inserting processing aids that guarantee maximum flexibility.

An important combination of automation and flexibility can be attributed to the placing on the market of the robotic Destacker, which is designed to unload the unstable products coming from the annealing lehr onto the transport lines. One of the first companies that installed this innovative equipment was Stoelzle in its plant in Knottingley UK which entrusted All Glass with the study of the project, design and construction of a conveyor line with Destacker. Customer satisfaction soon led to a technical / commercial loyalty between the companies and All Glass therefore began to study, design and build systems for the Stoelzle company, a solid lasting ten-year collaboration continues to mature over the years from the first supply in Knottingley UK (2010) to the latest supply in Masnierre (2020). Our company quickly configured itself in such a way as to cope with ever more insistent market demand of a “single interlocutor” able to propose complete solutions starting from the surface treatment of the items on the lehr exit up to the palletizing, wrapping, shrinking of products. The continuous improvement and the strong corporate targets to be a 360 ° partner for our customers has allowed us to complete our already extensive “solutions package”, being able to propose over the years increasingly innovative solutions to handling and storage the products by means of AGV systems. To empower these important prerogatives, in the coming days we are going to inaugurate a new production unit located in the proximity of Traversetolo (PR) which with its approximately 23000sqm of surface, will increase the production capacity of the company that will be able to contain on about 40000 square meters of surface used exclusively for the production, set-up and testing of equipment.


#weareallglass!


STOELZLE MASNIÈRES PARFUMERIE SAS

“THE NEW FURNACE WILL BE 25% MORE ENERGY-EFFICIENT AND REDUCE ITS ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT WITH 20% FEWER EMISSIONS.” “A lot of companies have stopped investments given the market uncertainty caused by Covid-19 but we have gone the other way. We believe that to remain successful, we cannot stand still, we need to move on. The new extended furnace will enable us to maintain our position as a centre of excellence for the manufacturing of high-end flacons and jars for the international perfume and cosmetics industries.” In addition to rebuilding its furnace, a fifth production line was installed, increasing the overall production capability by over 30%. The investment will also further improve the company’s environmentallyfriendly profile, says Mr Gruyez. “The new furnace will be 25% more energy-efficient

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and reduce its environmental footprint with 20% fewer emissions. The investment has also been the perfect platform for installing the latest technology designed to be more ecological and efficient.” However, sustainability is not a new topic for Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie, a holder of Ecovadis 2020 Gold. Made from glass, a permanent material, and 100% recyclable without any loss of quality, the products already fit in the circular economy. Moreover, the company has developed novel decoration techniques such as the Quali Glass Coat that saves 77% of CO2 compared to liquid painting. “For each new product, which is developed for our customers, we can offer environmentally

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STOELZLE MASNIÈRES PARFUMERIE SAS

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HIGH GLASS

Emhart Glass System > Now a part of RATH

Regenerator

Melting End

Working End

Forehearth

Feeder

Hot Gas Filtration

A comprehensive solution RATH offers you the complete range of highest quality refractory materials for the entire glass making process – now including the original Emhart Glass System.

www.rath-group.com/glass


RATH

MATURE REFRACTORY SOLUTIONS FOR THE GLASS INDUSTRY For more than 130 years, RATH has been burning for refractory products: This makes the internationally operating Austrian company one of the most respected specialists in the field of refractory technology – with comprehensive expertise in a wide range of industrial sectors and the matching high-quality products. Expertise from which the glass industry also benefits. A broad product and service portfolio, coupled with extensive industryspecific expertise: RATH – with eight production sites in Europe and the USA and sales representations in more than 30 countries – is today considered an undisputed competence leader in the refractory sector. OUTSTANDING INSIDE RATH’s guiding principle is to offer exceptional service and first-class refractory materials for the lining of furnaces. Here, in-depth industry knowledge is at the top of the agenda for the approximately 600 employees: No matter whether it is for example the aluminum, ceramics or iron and steel industry, the specialists at RATH possess extensive expertise for the respective industry and understand the specific requirements and processes of the individual customer. This also applies to the glass industry: RATH supplies precision-crafted refractory products designed for a wide range of applications – from container glass, flat glass, television/ monitor glass, fiberglass, art glass, hand glass and tableware through to pressware.

STOELZLE MASNIÈRES PARFUMERIE SAS friendly alternatives,” says Mr Gruyez, adding that the factory uses 100% green electricity from a French hydro station. Besides, the whole glass manufacturing process, from the raw material to processing and shipment, is alway carefully considered from the environmental footprint perspective.

COVERING THE COMPLETE GLASS MANUFACTURING PROCESS Glass is a key element in everyday life. The production of glass requires great expertise and energy costs are high. The quality of the refractory material is a key factor, both technically and economically, in this complex process. Demands which RATH meets perfectly: The RATH glass team, consisting of highly qualified experts, engineers and technicians for industrial glass applications, has extensive specialist knowledge to develop efficient and high-quality refractory materials for the glass industry – tailor-made for specific requirements. RATH covers the complete glass manufacturing process and supplies a wide range of refractory and insulating materials for all types of glass melting furnaces, regenerator chambers, manifolds, forehearths and the original Emhart Glass System for feeder wear parts. RATH EMHART GLASS SYSTEM RATH has been the original equipment manufacturer since the acquisition of the Bucher Emhart Glass production facility in Owensville (USA). This well-established refractory system, now called RATH Emhart Glass System, combines the advantages and expertise of both companies. EXCELLENT GLASS EXPERTISE To ensure perfect glass processing, only high-purity raw materials are approved for the refractory parts when it comes to purchasing and quality assurance at RATH. From melting tank to nozzle, RATH application engineers ensure that every single component is dimensionally accurate and meets the chemical and thermal requirements. In particular, the purity and surface quality of the components is a top priority for the refractory experts and is ensured by certified staff in the RATH laboratories.

Further information: www.rath-group.com/glass

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FAST AND FLEXIBLE

The company has not become a trusted partner of global brands by chance - its impressive track record is combined with unique characteristics. Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie is a dedicated centre of excellence, offering high flexibility in design but, most importantly, keeping pace with current market requirements, says Mr Cruyez.

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“Speed to market has become a key factor and we have created processes and tools to achieve a product development time of 4 weeks, as opposed to the 12 weeks offered by competitors. Stoelzle’s mantra is ‘flexible, agile, reactive’, and following this philosophy, we remain competitive although we are not the cheapest.” Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie’s products are used for famous perfumes such as Mademoiselle Rochas, Pure XS, and - most recently - the feted L’Interdit by Givenchy. “The biggest challenge is the uncertainty of the success of any new launch. Therefore, flexibility and adaptability are

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WHEN GLASS INSPECTION MEETS THE LATEST DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IRIS Inspection Machines, based in Lyon, France, is a world leader in glass packaging inspection technology. The core activity of IRIS is in real-time high-speed image processing to detect glass defects in bottles, jars, pharma and perfume flacons. Glass inspection is a crucial step to ensure a perfect glass quality and end-user safety. Since the creation of IRIS in 2002, the integration of digital technology has been essential to the company’s development. IRIS inspection solutions are non-contact and equipped with the latest generation of cameras, lenses and light sources. They are artificial-intelligence-based and feature self-adjusting and self-learning characteristics, including automatic recognition of glass defects. IRIS invests more than 15% of turnover in research and development and its state-of-theart inspection solutions incorporate advanced software and optics. The approach adopted by IRIS Inspection Machines is to deliver systems that comply with the ‘smart factory’ of the future.  IRIS motto is to spread the benefits of the most innovative technologies to all glassmakers. Therefore, all software innovations are shared among existing and new customers alike. This approach is an essential component of the company’s DNA. Achieving 95% of sales outside of France, IRIS is an international team of engineers, developers, draftsmen and technicians speaking 17 languages. Thanks to a network of international agents and technical support service centres, IRIS can support customers throughout Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa and Australia. Further information about the turnkey glass container inspection solutions is available from www.iris-im.com

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very important, something that we can afford as a relatively small manufacturer.” As for most companies, Covid-19 presented another challenge in 2020, one that the company has handled well. During the first lockdown, the company was handing out glass bottles to be filled with sanitizer to the local community. Later on, reduced production was used to fully focus on facility modernisation, to be ready to face rapidly evolving demand. “Perfume is a purchase of pleasure. It has been around for thousands of years and it will always be. But customers’ preferences are changing, also with regard to sustainability and bottle re-fills, so being adaptive

will be crucial. The old normal will not return. The only way is to move forward and adapt to change,” Mr Gruyez affirms. He explains that as there are no more schools for glass making in France, the company has a special role in sustaining the trade, and is a recognised training centre. “The most important aspect of our industry is a human skill. Know-how is something you cannot buy. Glass manufacturing may not be perceived by young people as interesting, but the latest, advanced technologies make it truly fascinating. This is an old industry that uses the latest technology - a perfect example of adaptation.”

“THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF OUR INDUSTRY IS A HUMAN SKILL. KNOW-HOW IS SOMETHING YOU CANNOT BUY. GLASS MANUFACTURING MAY NOT BE PERCEIVED BY YOUNG PEOPLE AS INTERESTING, BUT THE LATEST, ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES MAKE IT TRULY FASCINATING. THIS IS AN OLD INDUSTRY THAT USES THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY - A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF ADAPTATION.”

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“SPEED TO MARKET HAS BECOME A KEY FACTOR AND WE HAVE CREATED PROCESSES AND TOOLS TO ACHIEVE A PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT TIME OF 4 WEEKS, AS OPPOSED TO THE 12 WEEKS OFFERED BY COMPETITORS. STOELZLE’S MANTRA IS ‘FLEXIBLE, AGILE, REACTIVE’, AND FOLLOWING THIS PHILOSOPHY, WE REMAIN COMPETITIVE ALTHOUGH WE ARE NOT THE CHEAPEST.”

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ALLEGRO

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ALLEGRO

ALLEGRO, THE TOP POLISH ONLINE MARKETPLACE THAT HAS BECOME ONE OF THE LARGEST E-COMMERCE WEBSITES IN EUROPE IS AIMING TO PUSH FOR INCREASED INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE.

A RISING NEW GIANT PROJECT MANAGED BY: TREVOR GRETSINGER

Founded in 1999 in Poznań with just a handful of employees working from the basement of a computer wholesaler, Allegro has undergone a huge transformation over the last two decades - from an auction site for hobbyists, it has evolved into the most popular e-commerce platform in Poland, and is growing fast.

A

s the trend of switching from offline to online in Poland has accelerated, the company has been developing at an unprecedented pace: over 20 million users visit the site every month, which is equivalent to 80% of all Internet users in Poland. This makes Allegro Poland’s favourite shopping place, where customers can find a virtually unlimited number of products at the most attractive prices, within all key categories including Automotive, Fashion, Home & Garden, Electronics, Books and Collectibles, Kids, and Health & Beauty. During the first half of 2020 the number of companies selling on the platform - including both SMEs and large retailers - grew

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by 14% to 117 thousand, while the number of offers climbed 21% to 164 million.

A PEOPLE BUSINESS

Allegro currently employs over 2,100 people, nearly half of whom are top-class experts in technology. In 2020 Allegro has already hired 284 specialists and plans to hire 330 more by the end of the year. “Allegro is one of the few Polish companies offering career opportunities comparable or even better than the largest global firms,” said Francois Nuyts, CEO of Allegro. “We create all the tech and business solutions for our clients and merchants locally, which means that the projects our specialists develop will be soon used by millions of Poles. The whole Allegro ecosystem contributes to the development of the Polish economy in terms of taxes and new jobs. The scale, the ambition and the unique culture make Allegro a great place to work and grow.” The company has developed a number of innovative customerfriendly features including

‘Allegro Smart!’, a customer loyalty programme which offers free shipping. Currently, approximately 66 million offers can be delivered within 2 days, including 16 million offers with delivery inside a day. Allegro recently introduced a new delivery-time filter with the expected delivery date shown on the listing and offer page. Clients can also track their purchases at every stage of shipping and can easily check where their package is. Allegro operates in one of few business areas to benefit during the coronavirus pandemic, as shoppers switch to buying online. Still, it is not only about increasing profits. The company has introduced several initiatives to help customers cope with the new situation. When the coronavirus-related restrictions were introduced, Allegro offered the Allegro Smart! service totally free of charge for a period of three months, to give Poles the ability to shop safely without having to leave home. The company also undertook a range of other projects to support clients,

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sellers, the Polish health service and other groups adversely affected by the pandemic, with the total value of assistance provided exceeding PLN 375 million (EUR 84.5 million).

LISTED COMPANY

In October 2020 Allegro achieved a major milestone - the company completed a successful listing on the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE). The listing, which was executed via a placement to both institutional and retail investors, represents the largest initial public offering (IPO) on the WSE to date. The company’s shares leapt nearly 60% on their trading debut, giving the company a market value of about EUR 14.5bn. Commenting on the stock exchange debut, François Nuyts said: “With our IPO process now complete, we can now look forward to starting Allegro’s next phase of growth as a listed company. Our amazing team is ready for the challenge, and is excited to press on with our ambitious plans to improve our platform and make it an even better place for consumers to shop and for merchants to do business.” “The engagement we have seen from institutional and retail investors over recent weeks has been humbling. I’d like to thank each of them for their interaction with us and welcome those who have decided to become shareholders in Allegro. I am particularly delighted that today Allegro employees also become shareholders in the company, enabling them to share in the future success we go on to create together.”

EXPANDING THE REACH

Mr Nuyts affirmed that the first half of 2020 was a period of rapid development in the

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whole Allegro ecosystem despite the challenges related to the pandemic. The number of companies offering their products on Allegro has increased as has the number of purchases via the platform. Customers have benefited from a broad selection of products, low prices and great convenience, especially thanks to the Allegro Smart! service. “In just the first half of this year, thanks to free shipping, our clients saved a total of PLN 540 million (EUR 122 million), while their total savings since the launch of Smart! in 2018 have already passed PLN 1 billion (EUR 225 million)”, said Francois Nuyts. He further affirmed that the company is constantly investing in solutions to enable its clients to use Allegro with greater ease and convenience as well as supporting merchants operating on the platform to help them develop their sales. “The key areas for us are financial services and delivery, which are becoming faster and faster and more predictable. This year we planned to earmark PLN 1 billion (EUR 225 million) to develop our platform and Allegro’s overall ecosystem. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, this remains our goal.” The company has a clearly defined strategy for growth. Allegro continues to improve standards on the e-commerce market by fostering consumer rights and supporting the development of entrepreneurship. Allegro has so far concentrated on its domestic market, which has been one of the fastest-growing in the EU due to Poland’s rapidly expanding middle class. But in recent months the company has introduced features that would enable it to target international customers.

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“WITH OUR IPO PROCESS NOW COMPLETE, WE CAN NOW LOOK FORWARD TO STARTING ALLEGRO’S NEXT PHASE OF GROWTH AS A LISTED COMPANY.”

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SHOPRITE

SHOPRITE HAS BEEN GROWING SUSTAINABLY FOR 40 YEARS, AND THIS YEAR CUSTOMERS HAVE FOUND IT AN INVALUABLE SOURCE OF SUPPORT.

A RETAILER TO RELY ON PROJECT MANAGED BY: MALVERN KANDEMWA In 15 countries across Africa, Shoprite is a name immediately associated with cost-effective operational performance. The retailer has built a large footprint over time through its shops and distribution channels, using the latest technologies where appropriate to create value and improve the customer experience.

E

very Shoprite outlet focuses on affordability and a product offering with its roots in a corporateowned food retail model that addresses every sector of the market. It is a customerfirst approach that has made the brand a leader in lowpricing, partnered with their Usave format to provide for underserved communities. This customer-facing service is supported by a centralised supply chain of world-class quality, an extensive array of IT capabilities and a commitment to creating jobs in Africa and delivering shareholders strong dividends. Therefore, Shoprite has been able to generate long-term, sustainable growth for its investors.

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Shoprite has been on this journey since the Group opened its first retail outlets in 1979. Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength, growing organically and through acquisitions to become the continent-spanning brand it is today. Across 15 countries in Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, Shoprite has over 2,934 outlets employing over 147,000 people. Last year the 2019 Deloitte Global Powers of Retail Report recognised Shoprite as the largest South African retailer thanks to its strong performance and revenue. Indeed, it remains the only South African retailer listed among the world’s top 100, as the 86th largest in a global list of 250.

LEADERSHIP IN A CRISIS

To continue its journey, Shoprite has recently undergone the process of choosing new leadership in the form of Wendy Lucas-Bull as the company’s new Chair Designate, replacing long-time Chairman and the company’s second-largest shareholder, Christo Wiese.

Wiese, who has been Shoprite’s chairman for three of the retail company’s four decades, is remaining with the company serving on the board as a non-executive director after retiring as Chairman at the annual general meeting in November. Lucas-Bull, who also serves as Chairwoman of the Absa Group, has been brought in as an independent voice on the board in line with good corporate governance. Her extensive banking and retail sector experience, combined with her expertise as a chairperson and non-executive director on a number of company boards in a variety of industries in the private and public sector, make her an extremely strong candidate for the role. “There is no doubt her expertise, experience and leadership will be of considerable benefit to both the board and the Shoprite Group,” Wiese said of the appointment. That leadership will be important because Shoprite understands that with its growth and success there must also come responsibilities. The core

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SHOPRITE

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MIX TELEMATICS HOW BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE CAN MAKE YOUR FLEET MORE EFFICIENT & SAVE YOU TIME When managing a fleet of vehicles you need to constantly adapt to demanding day-to-day challenges. Numerous factors can make a journey accumulate unnecessary costs, be less efficient and exposed to heightened risks. The MiX Insight Analyser Business Intelligence solution is designed to help fleet managers make faster, more informed operational decisions by presenting relevant and accurate fleet data in a simplified way. The online platform provides user-friendly, visually engaging and dynamic dashboards, graphs, charts and tables, allowing you to make comparisons and draw conclusions about fleet utilisation and driver behaviour that saves you valuable time. WHAT CAN FLEET MANAGERS ACHIEVE WITH MIX INSIGHT ANALYSER? • Make more relevant and informed decisions through improved data analysis • Replace manual, static reports, saving time • Pinpoint poor driver behaviours, such as speeding and idling • Reduce fuel consumption, eliminate fines and reduce risk • Reduce costs and improve operational efficiencies • Achieve a positive return on investment as soon as one month after implementation Shoprite implemented the MiX Insight Analyser solution: “The online dashboards and telematics data provided by MiX is vitally important for the daily operational decisions that the Shoprite Checkers Group has to make. We use the active fleet data to detect trends, monitor vehicle utilisation and driver behaviour, as well as fuel consumption. Keeping our business efficient is even more important during the current economic climate.” To book a consultation, send an email to: fleetsa@mixtelematics.com www.mixtelematics.co.za

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POWER FOR TOMORROW TODAY • Batteries and Chargers • Lithium Ion Battery Solutions • Standby and Solar Batteries • Battery Bay Design and Construction • Charger Stands and Racks • Health and Safety Equipment

www.eternitytechnologies.com www.eternitytechnologies.co.za JHB CPT KZN PE

+27 11 965 1875 +27 21 551 2327 +27 31 700 1915 +27 41 451 0160

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SHOPRITE

of Shoprite’s business is the communities that it interacts with every day through its retail outlets. It never forgets that its success is directly tied to the well-being of those communities, now more than ever. Therefore, Shoprite has developed a corporate social investment programme to

Pieter Engelbrecht, Shoprite CEO.

support those communities in their growth and prosperity. Part of that support remains, simply, in providing products at low prices throughout their 40 years of existence. Internal inflation is monitored carefully as a success metric, and consistently its prices increase far more slowly than national averages.

“SOUTH AFRICANS ARE A FORMIDABLE FORCE FOR GOOD WHEN WE ARE UNITED. TO OVERCOME THE GREATEST CHALLENGE OF OUR TIME, WE NEED TO PULL TOGETHER MORE THAN EVER BEFORE.”

Complete intralogistics from a single source. Your requirements - our solution.

Logistics keeps the world in flux, and intralogistics processes are a significant part of it. An effective and highly efficient inhouse flow of goods is now one of the most important factors in making any company competitive. That is why we devote all our passion to intralogistics. We make sure you get the most economical solutions for your needs, whatever the sector or company size.

0800 984 001

www.jungheinrich.co.za

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DRIVERISK The Shoprite Group started their relationship with DriveRisk nearly six years ago when Lytx DriveCam® event recorders were installed in a pilot programme to monitor and change risky driver behaviour and thereby reduce their on-road risk exposure. Significantly expanding the number of units installed in their fleet over the years and proactively coaching driver behaviour using the online dashboard and video events, has seen a great reduction in high risk driving behaviour in the Shoprite fleet, with a 58% reduction in scored risky events in the last year. Coupled with their strong driver training programme and the comprehensive Lytx® Driver Performance Management programme, Shoprite have the tools to protect their capital and human investment and improve their bottom line. Embracing future technology, Shoprite Group are currently piloting the new era Lytx DriveCam® Event Recorder, the SF300. This unit harnesses Machine Vision and Artificial Intelligence, offering increased processing power, improved video quality and expanded memory. Engineered to provide configurable state-of-the-art technologies, including on-demand lookback, multiple camera connectivity, it also provides real-time, in-cab audio alerts. This technology not only helps drivers pay better attention if they drift out of a lane or follow too closely, but give management an expanded, nuanced view of previously unknown risk factors like seatbelt use or use of handheld devices. Through developing and providing risk identifying information coupled with behaviour changing solutions, DriveRisk enable fleet operators to establish an accountable and structured solution to proactively manage and reduce risky driver behaviour. www.driverisk.com

The power to evaluate, verify, and discover the critical moments you need, all in one device. The Lytx DriveCam® SF300 Event Recorder offers increased processing power, improved video quality, and expanded memory.* Engineered to provide configurable state-of-the-art technologies, including:

Continual Recording

Live Streaming

On-demand lookback**

Configurable Views

Lytx Badge (Driver ID)

Connect Multiple Cameras

MV+AI triggers Seatbelt, Food and Drink, Smoking and Handheld Device

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SHOPRITE

“SHOPRITE HAS DEVELOPED A CORPORATE SOCIAL INVESTMENT PROGRAMME TO SUPPORT THOSE COMMUNITIES IN THEIR GROWTH AND PROSPERITY.” BUSINESSFOCUSMAGAZINE.COM

Of course, this year retailers have also had to take responsibility for the safety of their customers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Shoprite Group has been committed to adhering to the South African government’s strict measures to combat the virus. The company’s actions have been directed by the guidelines of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), the World Health Organisation and Shoprite has been participating in discussions with the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa.

Shoprite’s CEO, Pieter Engelbrecht himself, has led a special executive-level task committee that convenes every 24 hours to monitor the situation. More than that, working with Shoprite’s customers the retailer has donated R3.7 million to the Solidarity Fund via the Act for Change Fund. “South Africans are a formidable force for good when we are united,” Engelbrecht said of the scheme. “To overcome the greatest challenge of our time, we need to pull together more than ever before.”

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REWARDING LOYALTY

Another way that Shoprite has set out to support its customers during these difficult times is through the introduction of its new Xtra Savings programme. The new Shoprite Xtra Savings card offers immediate cash savings, following in the footsteps of the Checkers Xtra Savings reward programme. Already over 5 million customers have signed up to the Checkers programme and have been rewarded with over R1 billion in discounts and savings over the last year. Lockdown restrictions have put household budgets under pressure the world over, and value is welcome wherever customers can find it, so the new scheme could not have come at a better time. As Neil Schreuder, Chief of Strategy and Innovation for the Shoprite Group pointed out, “The success of Xtra Savings is its simplicity and transparency. No points and no levels, it’s all about straight-forward instant savings on things you actually need.”

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The way it works is extremely direct, showing the transparency and fairness that are the hallmark of the Shoprite Group. Customers on the Shoprite Xtra Savings scheme will instantly receive discounts of up to 40% off on everyday essentials. On top of that, they will receive added benefits which can include free airtime and savings on combo deals, which are applied automatically at the till. Signing up is free and takes less than a minute through a range of in-person and digital channels. Customers can sign up through WhatsApp, USSD, Shoprite’s website, or simply in one of Shoprite’s stores. Checkers and Shoprite Xtra Savings cards can be used interchangeably at both branded stores, although they are only applicable to the respective brand’s promotions and discounts. It is a boost that customers will welcome during times like this, and it will ensure Shoprite’s continued growth as a customer-centric business.

“THE SUCCESS OF XTRA SAVINGS IS ITS SIMPLICITY & TRANSPARENCY. NO POINTS AND NO LEVELS, IT’S ALL ABOUT STRAIGHT-FORWARD INSTANT SAVINGS ON THINGS YOU ACTUALLY NEED.”

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SHOPRITE

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SLASPA

WE LEARN HOW ST. LUCIA AIR & SEAPORTS AUTHORITY IS REACHING NEW MILESTONES.

REDEVELOPING ST. LUCIA’S PORTS PROJECT MANAGED BY: GARY SMITH

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SLASPA

The St. Lucia Air and Seaports Authority, or SLASPA, has always aspired to be a modern gateway connecting people, partners and the world. Its mission, since its foundation nearly 40 years ago, has been to facilitate trade and travel through value creation in a safe, secure and customer-centric environment for sustained social and economic development. As an organisation that manages both the air and sea travel from St. Lucia, the authority has opportunities for unique synergies.

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“W

e’re unique in that not many air and seaports are managed under one Authority,” explained Daren Cenac, the Acting General Manager for SLASPA when he talked to us last year. “In different parts of the world, the airports and seaports authorities are managed separately, either privately or government-owned. SLASPA’s uniqueness lies in

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SOL AVIATION CONNECTING THE REGION WITH SOL For over 10 years, Sol Aviation Services Limited, has been committed to connecting the region by air. We provide the safe and timely supply of high-quality aviation fuels in 14 countries. Sol Aviation fueling services are located at airports in Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Grand Cayman, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Kitts, Saint Lucia, St. Maarten, Suriname and St. Vincent & The Grenadines (bulk sales only). We are constantly expanding our network to ensure a reliable supply of premium aviation fuels to the communities in which we live and work.

Sol Aviation 2nd Floor BritCay House 236 Eastern Ave Grand Cayman Tel: +1 (345) 640-0055 Email: info@solpetroleum.com www.solpetroleum.com

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being able to have efficiencies in its management structures and operations by merging those two organisations under one umbrella.” Indeed, the Authority has a wide range of facilities managed under its authority, including George FL Charles Airport, Vigie Lighthouse, Castries Seaport, Vieux Fort Seaport, Hewanorra International Airport, La Place Carenage, Moule a Chic Lighthouse, Rodney Bay Marina, and Marigot Bay. The Authority was established by an Act of Parliament, No. 10 of 1983 that brought together the Civil Aviation Department of the Ministry of Communications & Works and the Port Authority. The result was an organisation responsible for managing the main ports of entry to the island while providing a high level of quality service. That has continued to today, with the organisation managed by a team of professionals headed by a General Manager,

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SLASPA

reporting to a Council, made up of ten Government appointees. Every year SLASPA handles in excess of 700,000 tons of sea and air cargo while facilitating over 840,000 airline travellers, an average of 600,000 cruise passengers, roughly 60,000 ferry passengers, more than 54,000 yacht passengers, and over 34,000 aircraft movements as well as berthing over 1,000 vessels.

Daren Cenac, GM (Acting), SLASPA.

EXCITING REDEVELOPMENTS

With their responsibility for all of St. Lucia’s air and seaports, SLASPA refuses to sit on their laurels, as evidenced by the ambitious Hewanorra International Airport Redevelopment Project. The redevelopment project is estimated at US 175 million dollars. The work is in accordance with a 30year lifespan masterplan that aims to transform Saint Lucia’s economy, revolutionising its position in the aviation industry regionally and internationally. The HIA Redevelopment Project includes a number of ambitious improvements and expansions, including a new parking apron, a 100-foot air traffic control tower, five new passenger loading bridges connected to a passenger terminal covering over 337,000 square feet, a parking lot, and road traffic management systems.

“WE’RE UNIQUE IN THAT NOT MANY AIR AND SEAPORTS ARE MANAGED UNDER ONE AUTHORITY.” BUSINESSFOCUSMAGAZINE.COM

This airport redevelopment project is the fruit of over a decade of work by SLASPA and the Government of Saint Lucia to meet the ever-changing demands, standards, and protocols of the aviation industry. SLASPA’s Management, Port Council, and the project team have spent the first half of this year finalising critical conditions for the commencement of the project following 2019’s groundbreaking ceremony. Redevelopment of this size needs due diligence and meticulous project planning if it is going to be delivered in a successful and timely manner. This is especially true since SLASPA, as a statutory entity, must operate in line with stringent governing policies With the contractual terms completed, alongside the necessary approvals for the masterplan from local and international authorities, SLASPA began to move ahead with the project this summer.

The first step in the execution of the redevelopment was the site hoarding of approximately 55 acres and the relocation of just over 20 existing airport services. This was the first part of a four-phased approach that took place over four months. At the same time, SLASPA launched the foundation aspect of the project, which involved the driving of more than 3,000 piles. The HIA Redevelopment Project’s construction work is being carried out by the Overseas Engineering and Construction Company (OECC) based in Taiwan. They are overseen by Miami-based project management and engineering company, CBRE | Heery. Both businesses boast extensive experience in construction and engineering for major infrastructural projects across North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean. This redevelopment is going to play a vital role is St. Lucia’s future and economy, as SLASPA

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has continued to do so for 37 years. Through its hardworking, qualified and committed staff SLASPA has made sterling contributions to St. Lucia’s national development in the areas of trade facilitation, commerce, and tourism. It’s a legacy the HIA Redevelopment Project will continue through its longterm impact on a range of economic sectors, while the

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aviation industry continues to evolve towards new & dynamic opportunities.

A GREENER GATEWAY

The HIA Redevelopment Project will also play a role in SLASPA’s efforts to address environmental sustainability. Last year, for the first time in the Authority’s history, it employed a manager for Health, Safety, and the Environment.

SLASPA has had its staff at supervisory levels attend a range of workshops on climate change. “Through our HSC Manager, we also have links with the Minister of Health in terms of Public Health,” Cenac has said. “Regarding renewable energy, we have been working with the Sustainable Development Department of the Ministry on some RE initiatives.”

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SLASPA

A few years ago SLASPA implemented renewable energy on its security lights system at the Castries Seaport and the authority is in the process of transferring that technology to its airports, including the existing car park at Hewanorra International Airport. “We do have an energy conservation program that was launched many years ago. So, we have building management systems, optimal use of air conditioning systems, continual monitoring of our electricity bills to ensure we optimally use the

electricity at our facilities,” Cenac explained. “And even in the design – when we replace major plans, we ensure the equipment we choose is very energy efficient. Our team are members of ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers), who use the latest technologies to design and procure equipment, and to be certain we use it efficiently.” The redevelopment of Hewanorra International Airport is an ambitious project, but for SLASPA, it is only the beginning.

“REGARDING RENEWABLE ENERGY, WE HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT OF THE MINISTRY ON SOME RE INITIATIVES.”

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METRO EXPRESS

WE TAKE A LOOK AT MAURITIUS’S LARGEST INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT, AND HOW IT WILL HELP TRANSFORM THE NATION ENVIRONMENTALLY AND ECONOMICALLY.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK PROJECT MANAGED BY: JOHN HOLLIMAN

The Metro Express Project is the largest infrastructure project the island of Mauritius has ever seen. Featuring 26km of railway, brought about through 18.8 billion rupees (roughly 500 million USD) of investment, the Metro Express Project is being funded by the government of India through a grant and a loan while being developed, overseen, managed and operated by Metro Express Ltd.

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hase One of the project, which consists of the first half of the line, has been operational since December 2019 with a 12.6km track from Port Louis to Rose Hill. When completed, the Metro Express’s final track will feature 19 stations covering 26km, with six transport hubs at strategic locations. Larsen & Toubro (L & T) is the EPC Contractor and RITES is the project Supervisor. Metro Express Limited is leading the project as the client organisation, Developer and Maintainer. “We also have Singapore Cooperation Enterprise supporting MEL staff in contract management as well as SMRT who also helped MEL in operations readiness for Phase 1 start of operations. We

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managed to achieve successful completion of Phase 1 by working collaboratively with all these key players.” It’s an impressive project in scale and ambition, but it’s also an endeavour that has been launched to combat a serious issue. “The main motivation for the project is that congestion is a major problem in Mauritius,” says Dr Das Mootanah, CEO of Metro Express Ltd. “We have about 600,000 vehicles for a population of 1.26 million. They love their cars, whether they’re taking them to work or to go to the beach. So, the light railway gives them a choice to promote a shift towards public

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Telephone: Telephone: Telephone: CIN: CIN: CIN: L74899DL1974GOI007227 L74899DL1974GOI007227 L74899DL1974GOI007227


METRO EXPRESS

RITES Ltd. RITES Ltd. (a Govt of India Public Sector Unit), the Project Management Consultant on Metro Express Project, is a leading transport and infrastructure development Consultant providing seamless connectivity and multimodal transport solutions, with expertise from conceptualization to commissioning, involving Railways, Urban Transport & Infrastructure, Highways, Airports, Island Waterways, Port and Ropeways etc. RITES has worked and provided services in over 55 countries in last 46 years. Range of activities involved are Feasibility Studies, Detailed Project Reports, Detailed Design, Project Management Consultancy, Quality Assurance, Procurement Services, Modernisation and Up-gradation of Workshops, Education/Institutional/ Residential Building Projects, Human Resource Development, technical and management support as well as maintenance support for railway operations. It exports Locomotives, Coaches and Wagons to various countries and also provides rehabilitation and maintenance Services for the same.

transport. Our target is a 10% shift from private vehicles to public transport, and a 20% shift from buses, etc.” The goal is not simply to reduce car use, however. This project is also set to act as a economic growth stimulus across Mauritius. “Urban regeneration is a major driver for the project. I’ve worked in the UK on the 2012 Olympics, where urban regeneration was a by-product of the event,” Dr Mootanah explains. “In the same way, a new light rail is good for bringing about urban regeneration. It’s environmentally friendly and increases connectivity.” While the project is not yet completed, it’s already yielding results, with the completed Phase One already commercially operational and carrying in the region of 17,000 passengers per day from the outset and 10,000 passengers a day post Covid-19 period. Now Metro Express Ltd is focusing its attention on the construction of Phase Two, which itself has already been broken down into two parts. The first of those is an additional 2.6 km from Port Louis to Quatre Bornes, which is a major city. “We are targeting April next year for the completion of that stage,” Dr Mootanah tells us.

RITES has provided consultancy services for planning of High Speed Rail in India, Dedicated Freight Corridors, ROBs, Traffic Integration Plan, Comprehensive Mobility Plans including that for Design & Construction of 11 Kms long Pir-Panjal Tunnel, Design of Ganga Bridges in Patna & Munger, Bogiebeel bridge over River Brahmaputra, Jubilee Bridge on River Hooghly to name a few. RITES has been involved in planning and PMC/DDC services to various metro projects in major Indian cities such as Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Pune, Indore & Bhopal Metro. RITES Ltd. is the PMC/Supervisor, for implementation of 26 kms Metro Express Project (LRT) at Mauritius, providing assurances in all aspects of the project management including review of specifications, designs, methodologies, quality, safety & risk management, physical and financial progress monitoring, interfaces, construction and installation supervision, integration, testing & commissioning for operation readiness for all systems (Civil, Rolling Stock , Power supply, Traction, Track, Signals & Communications etc.). Target of completing 12.5 kms of Phase 1, between Victoria Port Louis & Rose Hill including Depot, within 2 years from start of the project was indeed a challenge due to various factors, explains Mr Arun Kumar Singh, Project Director/RITES. Due to non-availability of local resources for rail-based transportation system almost everything had to be imported, after designs etc were finalised, including skilled workers. Huge earthwork, in the volcanic strata, design and construction of various bridges/elevated stretches in urban area such as Port Louis, La-Butte, viaduct over Motorway, Elevated station at Rose Hill, 25 m high bridge over GRNW-6 river etc., followed by works of other systems such as track, traction, signalling etc. were to be done. Rolling Stock designs, manufacturing and testing in Spain and Mauritius were to be done followed by testing & commissioning of integrated system. As natural for any such at grade LRT system in urban areas, the role of various interface stakeholders was very critical for LRT-Road intersections & TSPS designs, utilities identification and diversions/traffic management etc. Robust monitoring and resolution mechanism were put in place to mitigate any challenge collaboratively, as soon as they were encountered. “Understanding that RITES’s role, as PMC, for the project implementation within time, was very crucial and hence, with our vast experience of planning and project management on similar Metro & Railway projects, we placed our experienced and competent expert team on the project, identifying the key risks on real time and getting them mitigated on priority collaboratively with concerned stakeholders, as required, and achieved the target of operations of Phase-1 in time and we are proud to be a key part of the project, which further strengthens our credentials overseas,” says Mr Singh. www.rites.com

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Keller is proud to have carried out the piling works for the Metro Express project in Mauritius.

global strength and local focus Tel: +230 452 0454 / 452 5784 E-mail: info.mru@keller.com www.keller-africa.co.za

Keller offers a comprehensive range of geotechnical and marine engineering services including both design and construction for the General Construction, Civil engineering and Mining Industries. Keller provides dedicated expertise in: Ground improvement, deep foundations, grouting, earth retention and near shore marine works.

KELLER FRANKI AND THE FAST TRACK In what is referred to as one of the most challenging railway line projects in Mauritius, Frankipile Mauritius International, a Keller Company, has successfully completed the foundations for various structures along the 26 kilometre route. The Mauritius Light Rail Transit system, including 19 stations, is now nearing completion. The new line runs from Curepipe to Immigration Square in Port Louis and passes through densely urbanized areas of Vacoas, Rose Hill and Quatre Bornes making access to the various sites and piling positions very awkward and difficult. The location of the Metro express running parallel to inner city roads added to the technical and logistical challenges. Metro Express Ltd appointed leading construction company, Larsen and Toubro, for the design and construction of the Metro Express. FMI were originally commissioned by L&T to conduct the geotechnical investigation along the 26 kilometre route. This investigation consisted of 257 no. boreholes to assess the underlying geotechnical conditions. The results from the geotechnical investigation revealed that a piled foundation solution would be most suited for the various structures associated with the new railway line. Following the geotechnical investigation and pile testing phase, FMI was appointed as the specialist piling contractor for the project. In total, for the first phase of the project, FMI has installed 288 no. piles spread over 5 different sites and for the second phase there are 134 no. piles spread over 4 different sites. The piles were 1 metre in diameter and founded at an average depth of 13.5 meters below ground level. Despite all the challenges, the FMI team were able to successfully complete the first phase of the project within time and on budget and FMI are currently busy completing the second phase. www.keller-africa.co.za

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Photo credit: Quo Qi Peh

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FULL STEAM AHEAD

While the Metro Express light rail is eagerly anticipated, it has taken a long time for this project to come to fruition. “A project built around this mode of transport has been in the pipeline since the 80s and it has taken this long to get it off the ground,” Dr Mootanah recalls. “The project has faced a lot of stakeholder challenges in that time, but thanks to the Government’s current vision and strong will, we managed to officially launch the project in 2016.” Another challenge is that, like any large-scale rail project, the Metro Express needed to build positive engagement with the owners of the land the railway would be passing through. Moreover, with Phase One in action, it is becoming easier to persuade people of the efficacy of the project. “We managed that through communication. People can see the trains are running and the level of customer service we provide,” Dr Mootanah tells us. “We have also learned many lessons from Phase One that have been useful for us for Phase Two. “

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“WE COULD NEVER HAVE ACHIEVED WHAT WE HAVE WITHOUT THIS COLLABORATIVE APPROACH.” The project has also seen a number of technical challenges, and Metro Express Ltd has had to bring the full weight of its skills to bear. But more than that, it has had to ensure that a range of people with a diverse and overlapping set of areas of expertise were able to communicate effectively. “This project has a great deal of complexity, with lots of interfaces between entities with different mandates,” Dr Mootanah points out. “We needed a special network to get all these people together in terms of road traffic safety, utilities, wastewater, police, among others. We needed to have them all in one forum to agree on how to get into the next step.” Work has been done in urban areas going across major cities, so to finish the first phase in less than two years has been a challenge in itself, but Metro

Express Ltd has delivered results. “Currently, we are faced with the challenges COVID-19 presents our operations with. We are implementing the usual measures in terms of cleaning everywhere, checking temperatures, and keeping communication channels open,” Dr Mootanah says. “We’re facing a broad range of challenges and we’ve only been able to address those challenges by working collaboratively and having everyone involved from the outset. We’ve had the Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Honourable Alan Ganoo, himself to chair a lot of meetings, and he’s closely monitoring the project. We could never have achieved what we have without this collaborative approach.”

THE TRACK AHEAD

Metro Express Ltd (MEL) has come a long way from when it was initially launched in 2016. Dr Mootanah joined MEL in the year 2018 after working for the Road Development Authority, when it was only a team of six to ten people. Today, the company has a staff of over 240 people and is still growing. “We will be operating the full length of the railway and there are already plans to extend the network,” Dr Mootanah says proudly. “People are getting used to it. It’s looking very positive and we are looking forward to it.” Having brought the project this far, Metro Express is also being approached by other neighbouring countries namely Reunion Island, Madagascar etc, looking to learn from our experience. “We’re the only railway company in the Indian ocean at the moment so we have had visits from transport ministers from Madagascar and elsewhere,” Dr Mootanah says. “In the future, once we’re operational over

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the 26 kilometer line, we will be thinking about ways to share our knowledge with places where there are similar projects.” Looking forward, Dr Mootanah stresses that Mauritius, and indeed the transport sector as a whole, will need a combination of solutions and collaborative working with all other transport players. “We will be using technology to integrate different modes of transport so everyone has a place under the sun and can contribute to bringing about this intelligent transport infrastructure,” he tells us. Dr Mootanah wants the future to be a sustainable one, which is why Metro Express Project ensured that three trees were planted for every one cut while laying the tracks, and why the company has built an eightarpents park at the centre of the new rail network. “We’re doing that to integrate environmental sustainability. The Ebene Recreational Park is in the middle of the network and has over 60,000 plants already,” Dr Mootanah says. “It has recently been launched and is now open to the public. The future is not just about the mode of transport. It’s a new way of life.”

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MOODY LOGISTICS

WE LEARN HOW A FAMILY BUSINESS IS ADVOCATING FOR THE ESSENTIAL ROLE OF LOGISTICS IN BRITAIN TODAY.

LOGISTICS CHAMPIONS PROJECT MANAGED BY: TREVOR GRETSINGER Moody Logistics was founded by David Moody in 1947, shortly after he came out of the RAF. His business was delivering coal. Over the years he built up the business to around 50 odd tippers, with most of their work based on coal and grain around the UK. 73 years later, his granddaughter is running the company.

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y father followed him into the business and in the 1990s the coal industry was declining rapidly, especially in the North East, so my father had the foresight to look at a different kind of transport business and that’s when overnight pallet distribution was just getting off the ground,” says Caroline Moody, Managing Director of Moody Logistics. “So he steered the business into that sector. We moved to our current premises in Cramlington, Northumberland, 15 years ago and I took over seven years ago since dad retired. We’re currently with Pall-Ex and have been since their inception.”

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Indeed, Moody Logistics is a shareholder member of the Pall-Ex network, thanks to an acquisition deal that took place during a membership buyout last year. Moody Logistics has also expanded to carry out dedicated haulage as well as warehousing, order fulfilment and storage. While the business has always had to adapt to changing markets, this year might have been the most dramatic yet for the logistics sector with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’ve various businesses we’re involved with. When the supermarkets were busy, we were super busy in February and March. During the pandemic business dropped in April, May, June and July down to 70% of our typical business but that quickly picked up as soon as things opened and by August we were trading at a 6% increase on the year before,” Moody says. “We had some customers dispatching deliveries into Nightingale Hospitals but we also saw an increase in nonessential freight with a company

called Wave Direct Importing inflatable hot tubs and online bathroom supplier Compare the Bathrooms. It felt like the whole UK was having new bathrooms fitted. I did question if it was sensible to be transporting so many non-essential items during a lockdown, but as a fellow director from a respected logistics company in Yorkshire told me, if it keeps people at home and sane then it’s good to get it delivered.”

IN THE FAMILY

But while the company has certainly undergone some changes, Moody Logistics remains a family company through and through. “I work with my brother, Richard, who is our logistics director, and my brother-inlaw Gavin is a director on the engineering side of the business which services our trucks as well as other private customers too. One of our strongest USPs is as directors we’re directly involved in the business, and customers can speak to us as easily as anyone else in the company,” Moody explains.

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MOODY LOGISTICS

Caroline Moody, Managing Director of Moody Logistics.

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As well as paying respect to the company’s family history, Moody Logistics is also investing heavily in the sector’s future. “We’re passionate about training and development. We’ve put four lads through driver apprenticeships. We’ve got ‘Love of the Lorry’ week coming up and we’ve five drivers under 30,” Moody says. “We’re a family orientated business and we have a reputation for that. We look after our staff and customers.” This can be seen in the company’s approach to driver training, which is well ahead of the curve when it comes to regulatory requirements. “Long before the Driver CPC came out, we were one of the first businesses in the North East to get the Investors in

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People recognition,” Moody recalls. “I saw that as a useful process to help with the transition for drivers from tipper drivers to overnight deliveries. They were going from one load a day to a dozen pallets to all kinds of industries. It was a big transition, so we used the Investors in People processes to get some strong, established personnel and HR features in the business. We stopped that eventually because we felt that it was expensive to be reassessed and while we’ve now ingrained those values in the business, the standard wasn’t as prominent anymore. There were other benchmarks to look to. We have just achieved FORS Bronze Level for the first time and we’re looking towards Silver. Over the last few years, we have set ourselves the target to induct one new apprentice every year into our business to bring new blood into the industry and we’re thrilled they’re all still with the business many years later.” These apprenticeships, Moody says, are long-term investments for Moody Logistics. “What frustrates a lot of employers is they do the apprenticeship then someone else reaps the benefits,” she points out. “So we ensure our apprentices get career progression and development within the business. Annually we have a recognition and award scheme, and a bit of a celebration usually just before Christmas. We have Driver of the Year, voted for by drivers, Employee of the Year, put forward by staff and selected by management and directors, as well as attendance and accident-free awards. All to give the drivers some recognition. Unfortunately, this couldn’t happen in the same way last

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year but the tradition will continue when its possible for us to gather in this way.” Talking of recognition, Moody herself was recently the recipient of an Amazon Everywoman in Transport and Logistics Freight Leader Award. “I didn’t even know I was in for that!” Moody admits. “My marketing manager put me in for it and I didn’t know until I got a call saying I’m in the final! I was very surprised, and never expected it in a million years, I was astounded. It’s a nice recognition.” Moody believes that the award was, in part, recognition for her efforts to advocate for the industry, whether it’s to potential new recruits or senior government figures. “I’m seen as a person who wherever I can try to champion the industry. So where I get involved with schemes like apprenticeships, pushing them nationally and locally,” she says. “I got a good opportunity to talk to the business secretary at the time, Andrea Leadsom about issues in the industry, explaining

that we’re not recognised enough, but I think it’s taken this pandemic for people to appreciate the industry and how essential we are.” It’s clear she’s passionate about seeing the role of logistics recognised and respected. “We’re the only industry in the country that can bring the country to a standstill, but we’re not really consulted,” Moody points out. “When I’ve been to schools and universities to talk to MBE students about entrepreneurship I say to them, as students you don’t think about it but everything you touch, everything you eat, will have some form of logistics in it its raw form and its final state.” The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown that role into sharp relief. “Lorry drivers are key workers,” Moody says simply. “We’ve been carrying out business as normal, in a safe way as we’ve been doing since March, and the staff recognise how important it is that we keep trading and don’t let our customers and their customers down.”

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