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Sim­ple and ef­fec­tive

For an en­tity that set up lit­tle more than two years ago, Rexus Trad­ing has an­nounced its ar­rival with a bang. Its growth has been noth­ing short of amaz­ing, and there is noth­ing to sug­gest that the water and waste water man­age­ment com­pany, hav­ing suc­cess­fully ven­tured into the ex­port mar­ket into half a dozen African states, is about to slow down.

Far from it, says the en­er­getic founder and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Al­lis­tair Ba­lutto, who’s sup­ported by a staff of 20. The tiny com­pany is ready­ing to ven­ture into the US, this year, its first off­shore mar­ket, says this sea­soned en­tre­pre­neur. This bold move will go a long way in di­ver­si­fy­ing the group’s al­ready healthy in­come pro­file, for one. Its SABS-ap­proved prod­ucts, with brands such as Air­Flo and KII, are en­trench­ing the firm as a re­spected player in this com­pet­i­tive R4.2bn in­dus­try.

Rexus is a de­signer, man­u­fac­turer and sup­plier of a range of prod­ucts in­clud­ing spe­cial cou­plings, fit­tings and air valves for water and waste water. Not­with­stand­ing its mod­est but grow­ing size, the Jo­han­nes­burg-based unit has made in­roads in the ex­port mar­ket to in­clude Botswana, Zam­bia, Malawi, Mozam­bique and Zim­babwe. South of the Lim­popo, the water in­fra­struc­ture and en­gi­neer­ing com­pany has a di­verse client base, in­clud­ing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, from Cape Town to Musina and from the west to the east.

“En­gi­neer­ing skills are hard to find,” says Ba­lutto of some of the chal­lenges fac­ing this sec­tor. “Among the few peo­ple who qual­ify as engi­neers, some em­i­grate to the likes of Aus­tralia. Hardly any grav­i­tate to­wards this in­dus­try. As a re­sult, many of the mu­nic­i­pali- ties and com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in the in­dus­try are sit­ting with­out a sin­gle en­gi­neer,” he laments.

Ac­cord­ing to Ba­lutto, this sce­nario has an ad­verse ef­fect on the water in­fra­struc­ture pro­gramme and threat­ens ser­vice de­liv­ery to or­di­nary peo­ple. Around this time of year, notes this en­tre­pre­neur, lots of funds are re­turned from mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties or prov­inces to the na­tional trea­sury be­cause they don’t have the ca­pac­ity to spend their en­tire bud­get.

The irony is that there are dif­fer­ent re­fur­bish­ment projects re­quir­ing fund­ing, so in the end, in­fra­struc­ture suf­fers, says Ba­lutto, a veteran with decades of ex­pe­ri­ence in the water man­age­ment field, ex­plain­ing how the black­owned com­pany’s holis­tic ap­proach ben­e­fits its cus­tomer base.

“In about two years of op­er­a­tion, we’ve dis­cov­ered and con­firmed, as clients con­tinue to come in, that our vi­sion to cre­ate a one-stop shop was

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