Heavy hit­ters

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60 of clients that re­quire off-grid power and/or un­in­ter­rupted power sup­ply (UPS). “We see plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to grow on the con­ti­nent and we like man­u­fac­tur­ing,” says Man­sour, not­ing that the South­ern African Devel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) is a free trade zone. There is a vast body of ev­i­dence sup­port­ing the op­por­tu­nity, but con­sider this: at least 30 coun­tries in Mid­dle Africa ex­pe­ri­ence daily power out­ages.

But we don’t have to stray far to dis­cover our own en­ergy prob­lems, as we are only too well aware. This presents a ma­jor op­por­tu­nity for Aus­tro’s man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­ity as well as for Matase. “Standby power is reg­u­lated in some in­dus­tries over­seas, and we think that is com­ing. Most of our lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are naked in this re­spect, and it is still go­ing to be a while be­fore govern­ment plugs the hole in en­ergy. But in the in­terim, the lack of power

Aug 2013 is pre­vent­ing other ser­vices from be­ing de­liv­ered be­cause of power re­stric­tions: things like wa­ter and sewer retic­u­la­tion for ex­am­ple,” says direc­tor Paul Baloyi. There is also plenty of prop­erty devel­op­ment that can­not take place due to the lack of power.

Aus­tro’s an­swer, be­sides be­ing able to sup­ply equip­ment that can gen­er­ate power, will be to link the UPS sys­tems of clients into the grid, and thereby sell elec­tric­ity to Eskom. “We know the rate we need to make it com­mer­cially fea­si­ble, and we are ne­go­ti­at­ing with them at the mo­ment,” says Man­sour. If agreed, there will be rev­enue share be­tween Aus­tro and the client (that owns the gen­er­a­tors). This may lead to a very bright fu­ture for the com­pany.

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