MANUFACTURING: Riding The Crest Of The Wave
Recent Western Cape Business News
COOL Maintenance, founded by Franco Arnott in Cape Town in 1992, is riding the crest of the wave in demand for its various products manufactured from insulated panels.
The company has always been making waves in the thermal panelling market but last year it made news when Lonrho said it had secured a 51% controlling stake in Cool Maintenance, with the option to take 100% within two years.
This all came to naught, according to MD Franco Arnott, because of his concerns that Cool Maintenance would loose its BEE level-7 rating – a crucial element for Cool’s continued well-being.
It’s no wonder the company came to the notice of Lonrho, which at that time was intending to establish a firmer foothold in the African market.
In the year to end February 2008 Cool Maintenance was continuing its very healthy growth, with turnover clocking in at around R53 million. This year, however, projected turnover is around R70 million – an increase of more than 30%.
Better still, Arnott predicts that this healthy growth trend will continue for some time to come.
Not only does the company specialise in the manufacture and erection of cold storage units for cold rooms and freezers, abattoirs and other processing plants for food handling, but it has also created for itself a strong position in the manufacturing and installing of thermally insulated panels used to house electronic equipment.
Also, it has become a preferred supplier of pre-fabricated class rooms.
Arnott says Cool Maintenance is currently executing an order for the Department of Education to manufacture 60 class rooms, with hopefully many more the come. (see separate article).
Another important growth area is the provision of transmitter boxes for the likes of Vodacom and MTN, as well as phone shops these cellular companies are tolling out across the sub-Saharan continent.
Its pre-fabricated modular buildings find their way as far north as Libia and Sudan in northern Africa. Angola too is proving to be a good market for the company’s products, Arnott says.
The company employs some 55 workers and office staff at its manufacturing facilities of 3 000 sq m in Bellville. In addition, it has an assembly plant of 700 sq m in Port Elizabeth.
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