With an expanding South African and broader sub-Saharan African population, the need to transform the economic landscape and provide greater infrastructure development and manufacturing capabilities for growing yet sustainable economies is becoming increasingly vital.
As such, South Africa-based Mahuma Investment Holdings (MIH), a 100% black women-owned, controlled and managed investment company, engages in a broad range of industrially-related investment activities, particularly within the steel and steel processing and manufacturing sectors.
With an established track record of a substantial number of successfully executed past and current investments – and led by well-known industry stalwart Gwen Mahuma – the company’s aspirations also include investing in local and pan-African businesses which focus on manufacturing and processing.
To this end MIH, in a dynamic and agile partnership branded Colossal Concrete Products has, along with Randvest Capital Investments and two other investors – featuring substantial experience in the manufacturing and industrial sectors – made the pivotal acquisition of Aveng Infraset’s Brakpan and De Aar facilities for their rail, telecommunications, civil engineering and specialised precast concrete manufacturing capabilities and intellectual property (IP).
“Following a professional, smooth and synergistic transaction with Aveng, which is effective from June 1, the two precast concrete facilities will be rebranded under the new company Colossal Concrete Products: a proudly black women-owned and controlled precast concrete manufacturing company,” explains Colossal Concrete Products Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gwen Mahuma.
Infraset, originally a company within the renowned multibillion-rand Grinaker Group and later a core asset of JSE-listed international infrastructure and resources company Aveng, has been manufacturing a diverse range of high-quality, innovative precast concrete products in compliance with South African National Standards using the ISO 9001 quality management system for over 62 years.
“Based on Aveng Infraset’s renowned reputation and track record – as well as its impressive portfolio of infrastructure and capabilities – our strategic acquisition of the Brakpan and De Aar plants was a really defining moment for us. This is because it represents a golden opportunity not only to service our long-term vision of diversifying into different vertical industries; but also as an excellent springboard for our planned pan-African expansion,” Mahuma says.
“Notably, the Aveng Infraset acquisition (and the establishment of newly-established and branded Colossal Concrete Products) fits exceptionally well into our strategy of pursuing and investing in existing businesses which are related to our infrastructure development goals – yet operate in a specialised and niche market, and provide a unique services and solutions offering which can be repositioned to service the rest of the continent,” she asserts.
Despite the new name, and falling under the auspices of the new company, these world-class manufacturing facilities will ensure ‘business as usual’, Mahuma emphasises.
“The transaction included the retention of all staff, the relevant plant equipment, core assets and facilities, intellectual property (IP) and licences for a wide range of precast rails, poles, masts, pipes, culverts, enclosures and related specialised product ranges.
To this end, the technical capabilities and know-how remain vested in this business, providing the same reliable products which are supported by the same, longstanding and experienced technical team with an encompassing expertise,” she further points out.
Co-investor in the Colossal Concrete Products consortium and the company’s Chief Operational Officer (COO) and Director Mmapitso Kiewiet agrees: “As Colossal Concrete Products, we will continue to provide the right solutions to meet industry requirements.
Simultaneously, we will focus on growing our profile and footprint by strengthening and advancing the sales pipeline, increasing further business development and reconnecting with customers – reinvigorating existing relationships and establishing new markets.”
As Colossal Concrete houses all the tried and tested Aveng Infraset Precast specialised offerings, and is one of the key manufacturers of local products such as poles and masts, Mahuma and Kiewiet believe that the company – with the Brakpan and De Aar facilities – is well-positioned in terms of its capabilities and capacities to service new maintenance and rehabilitation projects in various vertical industries.
These include the energy, renewable energy, telecommunications, infrastructure development in housing, municipal development, and water and sanitation and rail sectors.
“Notably, the De Aar facility is strategically located in De Aar in the Northern Cape, which not only serves as one of the most important railway junctions for the lines connecting Cape Town, Johannesburg and Kimberley; but is central to the current hub of many renewable energy projects,” Kiewiet says.
As such, the facility will be pivotal in supplying products for the rail industry; as well as products such as concrete towers for wind turbines in the wind farm projects which form part of the local renewable energy sector.
“We are optimistic that there is enormous scope for Colossal Concrete to service this market – and in so doing, to support the retention of investment locally, and to create more sustainable employment opportunities over a substantial period of time – as well as generate additional upstream and downstream manufacturing opportunities,” Kiewiet says.
“Going forward, investment in the provision of energy and the improvement of our transmission and power generation infrastructure is non-negotiable. With the drive for renewable energy power generation the energy sector remains a critical market to service – and Colossal Concrete’s technology, coupled with locally-sourced products can be a powerfully differentiated option,” she says.
Meanwhile, as the steadfast, arterial lifeline of Africa, rail and therefore rail infrastructure remains a strategic target market for Colossal Concrete Products.
“Considering our pan-African outlook, there are colossal opportunities for us to support rail projects across Africa, from Kenya, to Malawi, Namibia and Swaziland, notwithstanding the new projects and rail rehabilitation initiatives locally,” Mahuma enthuses.
Kiewiet agrees, adding that, considering the overall economic recovery plans and infrastructure expansion strategies, a marked investment into rehabilitation and repairs of the rail network could further be enhanced by the need for mining companies’ private sidings to transport product onto the main railway lines.
“We are therefore confident that rail will remain a relevant opportunity in our planned strategy and growth trajectory,” Kiewiet says.
In a reflection on this cemented acquisition, Mahuma and Kiewiet highlight the overwhelming support received from key stakeholders in industry.
“Building on a reputation of trust and long-standing credibility, and with a track record of integrity, Colossal Concrete will leverage off existing and new client and supplier relationships to make a colossal difference to the Southern African manufacturing sector, and ultimately make a concrete contribution to a more sustainable local economy,” Mahuma concludes.