Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  20 Sep 2010

EXPORTS: Cape Exporters In The Running


Recent Western Cape Business News

TWO formers winners of the ABSA/Cape Chamber of Commerce Exporter of the Year competition and four exciting and innovative new entrants are in contention for this year’s top prize.

The previous winners of the trophy who have entered again this year are Kelp Products of Simon’s Town and Petrel Engineering.

The judges have described this year’s entry as surprisingly strong, given the difficult financial circumstances prevailing in most countries.

Kelp Products have won several awards in the annual competition and the remarkable company, which manufactures growth hormones or bio regulators from seaweed, has become a world leader in the industry and now exports to 55 countries throughout the world. The products are used to promote growth in crops while enabling farmers to reduce substantially the amount of costly fertilizer that would normally be required.

Petrel Engineering is a well-established local company which has been supplying deck equipment to the fishing, shipping and oil industry for half a century. It also tackles special engineering projects and has been involved in pioneering projects like the first revolving house and in the construction of the Sanae IV research base in Anarctica.

The Helderberg area which has over the years produced many outstanding entrants such as GrahamTek and the Invisible Card Company has come up with another potential winner in AAT Composites. The company has been making prucusts from light composite material for more than 20 years and is now designing and manufacturing parts for aircraft interiors, especially the seats. The big aircraft manufacturers in Europe and America area the main customers and it is likely that every airline passenger in the world has used their products. Their entire production is exported.

An intereting newcomer is Econo-Heat, the manufacturers of wall panel heaters that are now being exported to 38 countries. The panels were invented in Cape Town in 1990 by the father and son tam, Rod and Russell Davis and first found fame at the Cape Chamber’s 1997 Design-for-Living Exhibition when it was declared the most innovative product on the show.

When production first started the output was 50 units a day now, under new owner Pieter Brasler,  production is 1 200 to 1 600 units a day with plans to increase this to 5 000 a day in their new Wetton factory.  At present the factory employs 119 people.

Another first-time entrant is T & B Log homes of Knysna who are now exporting up-market log homes to 28 countries, including the US, Australia, New Zealand and leading European countries.

The man behind the products is retired civil engineer John Tanner who invented and patented the technique of compacting the heavy, solid logs to make possible the production of designer homes with low maintenance and good thermal insulation. He was responsible for the growth of the company and its international reputation.

The firm Tentickle, another first-timer, has re-invented the Bedouin tent which it now produces in new stretch fabrics which were developed in South Africa in partnership with top international scientists working in collaboration with European and South African Universities.

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