The Zest WEG Group has supplied electric motors to the South African market for more than 30 years. A series of acquisitions over the past six years has seen it become a complete solutions provider on projects across Africa, and this was underscored when WEG of Brazil took a major shareholding in the group in mid 2010.
Zest WEG Group CEO, Louis Meiring, says that in recent years a number of established companies were identified as providing products and services that had clear synergies with those of Zest.
“We therefore decided to acquire these firms in order to be able to provide clients with a complete packaged solution,” Meiring says.
In 2005 it bought specialist generator manufacturer IMS Cape and as a result of increased demand for standby and permanent power has since made significant investments in the company, including the move to a larger factory in Epping. The use of IMS gensets is well established in the Western Cape and the company is steadily expanding its installed base in Johannesburg.
Five years ago Shaw Controls of Johannesburg was acquired. Established in 1981, it manufactures motor control centres (MCCs), distribution boards, control desks, PLC panels, instrumentation control panels, portable container substations and various other electrical panels.
Zest has since invested about R30 million in the business as its gears up for further growth in South Africa and the rest of Africa. During 2011 and 2012 the Shaw Controls facility in Robertsham will be expanded into a single 10 000 m2 site which will house a 1 000 m2 in-house container conversion yard featuring a 25 ton overhead crane.
“Projects in Africa are faced with huge logistical challenges and the ability of Shaw Controls to provide containerised MCCs and sub-stations will stand us in good stead in Africa,” Meiring says.
In 2009 Zest moved beyond the supply of equipment when it acquired a controlling share in specialist electrical, instrumentation and control engineering company EnI, which carries out procurement, design, control, installation and commissioning on the electrical and instrumentation elements of projects and supplies the cabling, racking and associated ancillary services.
The most recent acquisition was Zest Energy, which joined the group in mid-2009. Initially involved in the supply of diesel generators, Zest Energy now provides solutions in the areas of heavy fuel oil generators, gas engines as well as steam turbines and co-generation projects.
The energy company can also supply complete MV and HV sub-stations and is involved in the rebuild of the Kasumbalesa sub-station in DRC as part of the expansion by Metorex to the Kopanong mining operation.
Meiring explains that the group’s strong growth in recent years is a result of these strategic acquisitions.
“The synergy between the product and service lines of the various companies means that we can provide a complete solution for our clients’ needs. We act as a team to harness our diverse skills and resources and ultimately it is our clients which benefit from that pool of expertise,” Meiring says. He adds that the client networks created by each individual company are now at the disposal of the entire group and are set to ensure further opportunities for growth.