Zest WEG Group acquires Hawker Siddeley

The Zest WEG Group, a local subsidiary company of leading Brazilian motor and controls manufacturer WEG, has acquired the entire business of Hawker Siddeley Electric Africa in South Africa, subject to conditions precedent.

Hawker Siddeley is recognised among the pioneers of mini substations and has become one of the largest manufacturers of mini substations, unit substations and distribution transformers in South Africa, with the capability to design and manufacture the complete range presently in use in the country’s industrial sector.

Louis Meiring, chief executive officer of the Zest WEG Group, says the rationale behind the acquisition of this leading local manufacturer is simply that while the Zest WEG Group has enjoyed tremendous success in the African market with the supply of large transformers — typically 20 MW and larger — it has not been able to participate in the transformer sector with products from 50 KVa to 20 MVA, in both distribution transformers and mini substations.

“It made absolute sense to fill this gap in our product range via an acquisition that would give us instant access to a product segment in which historically we could not compete,” says Meiring. “The acquisition means that we can now make the most of opportunities to supply a spectrum of our products on a turnkey basis. Pursuing this route will also give us a cost leadership advantage.

“A cornerstone of our business is our relationship with the market and, over a period of time, a number of our existing customers have made it clear that there has been a definite need for additional local manufacturers of transformers. Listening to the marketplace has always been a major differentiator for us and will continue to be part of our modus operandi.

“In addition, the acquisition is in line with our philosophy of localisation and local investment and aligns with the localisation requirements of Eskom and other parastatals. Although Zest WEG Group is now part of a major global corporation, we started out as a South African company and we maintain a strong commitment to contributing to the development of the local economy and the people of South Africa. This remains a fundamental building block in our corporate strategy.”

Meiring adds that the acquisition has come just at the right time for the Zest WEG Group, which is making robust progress against its holding company’s 2020 strategic plan. The plan, initiated by WEG headquarters in Brazil in 2011, is poised to accelerate the expansion of its global network of businesses and manufacturing plants and is expected to ensure that the Group increases its sales by at least 17% year-on-year until 2020, when it aims to arrive at a turnover of US$10-billion.

“The Zest WEG Group business model is one of continued investment in assets and technology transfer from WEG,” he continues. “Added to this is our commitment to training all our people and ensuring they have the required skills sets to deliver the highest level of customer support. This training also extends to our customer base.

“To this end we intend to recapitalise the Hawker Siddeley business in the form of investment in new equipment and training,” he continues. “With the rollout of WEG technology, our new company will become a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility with the latest design and manufacturing capabilities. This ideally positions us not only to supply these products throughout Africa, but it will also allow export from this facility to other parts of the world where we would be competitive.”

Hawker Siddeley range Hawker Siddeley mini substations and unit substations have a range of 100 kVA to 1000 kVA in voltages up to 22 kV. The company specialises in Type ‘B’ mini substations, fabricated in mild steel or 3CR12 corrosion resistant steel as recommended in SABS 1029, 1030 and NRS004, with the transformer section complying with SABS 780 and NRS005.

The standard size mini substations consist of 100 kVA, 160 kVA, 200 kVA, 315 kVA, 500 kVA, 630 kVA, 800 kVA and 1000 kVA units. HT and LT switchgear can be provided to suit individual requirements, with advice and recommendations on the most appropriate switchgear provided by the company’s experienced engineers.

Hawker Siddeley’s standard distribution, power and special application transformers range from 50 kVA to 10 000 kVA in voltages up to 66 kV with off-load tap-switch or on- load tap-changers. In addition, the company manufactures special application units for mining, industrial, rectifier/traction, converter and thyristor drive applications. Dimensions are always within SABS recommendations.

The company’s transformers are primarily used to generate and supply electricity from power stations through to consumers with rectifier transformers used for industrial, steelworks and traction applications. Furnace transformers (induction) are used in the mining industry.

Each unit is fully tested in accordance with SABS and other standard specifications and test certificates are available on request. In addition, distribution transformers carry the SABS mark of approval, corroborating that the company’s manufacturing facilities are subject to regular routine visits by SABS inspectors.

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