Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  09 Oct 2011

INTERNATIONAL TRADE: Cape Exporter Of The Year


Recent Western Cape Business News

ECONO-HEAT, the Cape Town firm which manufactures wall panel heaters was named as the ABSA/Cape Chamber of Commerce Western Cape Exporter of the Year.

The award was presented at a glittering banquet to Econo-Heat MD, Pieter Bräsler, who became a double winner when his company also received the new prize for innovation.

The competition, now in its 21st year, is organised by the Cape Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by ABSA.

Econo-Heat exports its products to 39 countries and has recently doubled its production, creating 43 new jobs in the process.

The Cape Chamber prize for the best exporter outside the engineering industry went to Quantum Sails, makers of world-beating racing and cruising yacht sails. Quantum is one of a cluster of companies that has developed around Cape Town’s boat-building industry.

The Transnet Port Terminals prize for the best manufacturing exporter went to TESA Palisade Fencing and Security Systems. TESA has made big inroads into Africa and last year supplied the security fencing for 3 500 cell phone base stations.

The Credit Guarantee award for the best small exporter was the translation service, Folio-online, the leading translation service in sub-Sahara Africa.

Last night’s double winner, Econo-Heat, manufactures the wall panel heater, a Cape Town invention that made its debut at the Chamber’s Design for Living Exhibition in 1997. The company has made huge strides since it was taken over in 2005 by Mr Bräsler and its new high tech factory in Wetton is producing 2 300 units a day compared to the 400 when the business changed hands. It has the potential to produce two million units a year.

Two thirds of the production is exported but this is destined to increase significantly as the company is now selling direct to retailers in 10 countries in Europe and North America.

During the past year Econo-Heat has chalked up significant gains in the cold countries of Europe and Scandanavia. Sales have been helped by the high cost of running central heating systems and the panel heaters could yet become an economic alternative to central heating.

Further expansion (and more job creation) is planned as the company will soon be launching a low-voltage electric blanket that is machine washable in a new factory with a further new factory planned for a dual convection heater in 2013.

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