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.