Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  08 Nov 2009

ENGINEERING: Petrel Keeps Spreading Its Wings


Recent Western Cape Business News

Like the bird from which it has taken its name (long-winged, which flies far from land), Cape Town-based Petrel’s products have found their way far and wide.

The company has been doing quite well for itself throughout the years but recent events has given the bird extra lift and a far wider reach, so to speak.

In March last year the Durban-based Elgin Engineering acquired control of Petrel, boosting the company’s fortunes even further.

Vincent Chetty, the executive director of Petrel, tells CBN turnover has been given a ‘tremendous’ boost with the company now having a full order book for well into the first quarter of 2010.

Petrel is today owned by Elgin Engineering (50%), a fully black empowered company that was bought from M&R in 2004, together with another BEE company Channel Construction (25%), and Business Partners with a holding of also 25%.

Its empowerment credentials obviously gives Elgin, and therefore Petrel, an important edge not only in government procurement, but especially so with larger local corporates.

According to Ian Donjeany, Elgin’s CEO, there were a number of important considerations for acquiring Petrel. For one, it wanted a strong Cape footing as it saw Petrel as strategic in expanding Elgin’s national footprint.

Important too was that it wanted closer proximity to the growing West African activities in oil and gas production and exploration.

Importantly, Elgin is also a strong player in South Africa’s petro-chemical and sugar refining sectors – areas that have now also opened up to Petrel as happy hunting grounds, especially so the petro-chemical side.

Chetty reports that the marine sector, especially in foreign waters, remains an important generator of business. But he also notes that Petrel has now accessed the petro-chemical industry (with the production of gassifiers).

The off-shore diamond mining industry too is showing signs of revival, creating more opportunities for Petrel. “Generally business is looking rosy for us”, he says.

Less it be forgotten, Donjeany says, Petrel too has vast specialist technical expertise that is now being made available to Elgin Engineering.

All in all, it seems like a happy marriage for both parties.

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