Win­hold in­vests in a Green­field project

“We have de­vel­oped a South African muti that works well”

Finweek English Edition - - Business strategy - GUGU­LAKHE MASANGO

JSE-LISTED IN­VEST­MENT GROUP Win­hold has in­vested R10m in an ini­tia­tive to build var­i­ous con­fig­u­ra­tions of plas­tic pal­lets, crates and any­thing that needs pack­ag­ing out of re­cy­cled poly­eth­yl­ene tereph­tha­late poly­mer, the well-known PET soft drink bot­tles.

Win­hold em­ploy­ees and would-be en­trepreneurs Lorita Diem and Jo­han Visser de­vel­oped the ini­tia­tive 18 months ago. The two en­trepreneurs formed a com­pany known as No­vara Profile Ex­tru­sions.

Rais­ing cap­i­tal for the PET busi­ness, how­ever, proved to be a dif­fi­cult chal­lenge. They ap­proached var­i­ous in­sti­tu­tions to fi­nance the project and there were al­ter­na­tive in­ter­ested fun­ders but the pair were over­whelmed when their em­ployer, the Win­hold group, de­cided to back the project. “Jo­han and I knew that with Win­hold’s sup­port and ex­pe­ri­ence, No­vara could grow from strength to strength,” says Diem.

Luck­ily, af­ter be­ing con­vinced about the idea, Win­hold was pre­pared to risk its cap­i­tal in the busi­ness. The com­pany ac­quired a 50,1% stake in No­vara through the in­jec­tion of R10m cash to fa­cil­i­tate the ac­qui­si­tion of tech­nol­ogy and set up the busi­ness. Diem and Visser own the re­main­ing stake.

The two en­trepreneurs de­cided to go to Italy to seek as­sis­tance and were re­warded as the Ital­ians helped them to de­velop and test the prod­ucts. There was no cash in­jec­tion from the Ital­ians; and they man­aged to get spon­sor­ship for the trip.

No­vara’s plant in Krugers­dorp now has a high-tech line im­ported from Italy.

Diem ac­knowl­edges that de­vel­op­ing the plas­tic pal­lets and crates has not been easy. Like any new prod­uct it takes a lot of time to be ac­cepted by ma­jor cus­tomers. They want to test the prod­ucts. “It took a hell of a long time to de­velop and test the prod­ucts in Italy.”

The PET pal­lets will be able to as­sist wood pack­ag­ing ma­te­ri­als com­pa­nies, which are faced with de­mand­ing global leg­is­la­tion to find sub­sti­tutes of wooden pal­lets. PET pal­lets can be utilised by com­pa­nies in­volved in trans­port­ing food, bev­er­ages and fresh food, cargo, chem­i­cals and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. The pal­lets are 100% re­cy­clable.

Lorita Diem

and Jo­han Visser

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