Unprecedented Growth Across the African Continent

Zest WEG Group has experienced unprecedented growth across the African continent since the 2010 acquisition of the Zest Group by WEG, a leading Brazilian motor and controls manufacturer. The Group has made particularly strong inroads into Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Botswana, as well as into the West African countries of Ghana, Mali, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Liberia.

One of the main drivers behind WEG’s acquisition of our group was to exploit the business growth opportunities identified on the African continent, Gary Daines, Zest WEG Group’s sales and marketing director, tells Nelendhre Moodley.

“This objective is being achieved, with WEG electric motors experiencing steady growth in all our areas of activity, complemented by the total group offering,” Daines says.

“The current robust growth can also be attributed to a global focus on mining in Africa. All the major mining houses are making huge investments, alongside several junior miners coming into the South African market, and this burgeoning activity on the continent is very exciting to us.

“Being part of the WEG Group has also made it possible to elevate our operations to a global level and we’re currently putting together agreements with most of the world’s leading mining companies, who have operations in all parts of the world.”

Prior to its acquisition by WEG in 2010, Zest had distributed WEG products in South African for more than three decades.

Success factors
Daines adds that market feedback about WEG products has been very positive, particularly in regard to the innovative three-phase WEG W22 motor that provides a truly energy-efficient solution capable of reducing industrial energy consumption, compared with other typical motors. Available in all three efficiency ranges of IE1, IE2 and IE3, this is the only motor of its kind on the market. He says this range has cemented the Zest WEG Group’s position as a premium electric motor supplier in the mining industry.

“Zest WEG Group has also become one of the biggest players in the Variable Speed Drive (VSD) market and market confidence in our VSD technology has been increasing year-on-year, boosted by our ability to supply products engineered in conjunction with each other,” he says.

In September 2011 WEG Brazil acquired the Electric Machinery unit of Converteam. This acquisition is also complementing Zest WEG Group’s offering, with cutting edge products and technology that are highly relevant to the African market. Electric Machinery, a technological leader in the development of high value added products, custom designs and manufactures motors, generators and brushless exciters that serve thousands of customers worldwide, primarily in the oil and gas and power generation industries.

Daines adds that part of the Zest WEG Group’s core strategy is a high service level and this has resulted in its stock and product availability being the largest on the continent. Zest WEG Group carries stock in seven locations around South Africa and at a further seven sites up into Africa. At present the total value of the company’s Africa-based stockholding exceeds US$35-million and the intention is to increase this stockholding even further.

“Another big success factor for us has been our commitment to training, which is ongoing at all our South African locations, as well as in key African markets such as Ghana, Zambia and Kenya,” he says. “We have appointed a dedicated training officer to oversee these activities. “

Contribution recognised
The Zest WEG Group was voted a finalist in the recent Anglo American Supplier Awards in the “Sustainable Development” category. Daines comments that although Zest WEG Group did not win this category, it was gratifying to be recognised as a company partnering with Anglo American to deliver on its strategic objectives in the areas of sustainable development, safety, partnerships and innovation. This is the second time that Zest WEG Group has been nominated for a Supplier Award — in 2010 the company was a finalist in the “Innovation” category for its energy efficient initiatives implemented at Anglo American mines.

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