GO­ING GLOBAL Business News, page 24

Au­to­mo­tive sup­ply deal of­fers tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity, says Mi­crofin­ish boss Brian Naidoo

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Nom­pumelelo Mag­waza

THE LONG-TERM sup­plier deal be­tween a Dur­ban-based au­to­mo­tive com­po­nent man­u­fac­turer, Mi­crofin­ish, and one of Europe’s largest au­to­mo­tive com­po­nent man­u­fac­tur­ers has put South Africa’s au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try on a global pedestal.

Mi­crofin­ish signed a mul­ti­mil­lion-rand deal with the Mo­tor Ser­vice Deutsch­land and BF Ger­many last month to sup­ply au­to­mo­tive valve guide and valve seats in­serts parts.

“The sup­ply agree­ment means tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity for Mi­crofin­ish and be­side sign­ing with th­ese two or­gan­i­sa­tions it means we now can sup­ply sis­ter or­gan­i­sa­tions through­out the world,” said the company’s owner and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Brian Naidoo.

He said this deal gave the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try as­sur­ance of do­ing business with the Euro­pean mar­kets.

“It also shows that South African man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies have the abil­ity to com­ply with the de­liv­ery and qual­ity stan­dards,” said Naidoo.

Although 75 per­cent of the Mi­crofin­ish com­po­nents are ex­ported, the new sup­ply deal with the Ger­man-based group will make them the man­u­fac­turer’s big­gest cus­tomers.

Mi­crofin­ish was the only black-owned company in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try which can pro­duce its raw ma­te­rial in its foundry with “vir­gin” scrap metal.

“We have an in-house met­al­lur­gist that con­trols the met­al­lurgy of raw ma­te­rial, we cast high chrome and cast iron in var­i­ous forms,” said Naidoo.

“For the lo­cal in­dus­try, this means that South Africa has what it takes to be part of the global mar­ket, be­cause we al­ready pro­duce high-qual­ity prod­ucts from our back­yards,” added Naidoo.

The Pine­town-based firm em­ploys 200 peo­ple with a ca­pac­ity to pro­duce 500 000 units a month. It makes 7 900 dif­fer­ent sizes of valves.

The new deal will see Mi­crofin­ish in­creas­ing this num­ber to be­tween 750 000 to a mil­lion units a month.

At present Mi­crofin­ish sup­plies com­po­nents to the au­to­mo­tive marine, aero­space and heavy-duty ve­hi­cle in­dus­tries in Europe and the US.

Naidoo said the open-ended agree­ment be­tween the firm and the Ger­man com­pa­nies meant that once Mi­crofin­ish stopped sup­ply­ing qual­ity prod­ucts, the agree­ment would be­come null and void.

“So we need to keep up the stan­dard and main­tain the qual­ity and de­liv­ery sched­ule.”

Since tak­ing over the company five years ago, Naidoo said more than R60 mil­lion in­vest­ments had been made in im­prov­ing and up­grad­ing the plant.

Naidoo was con­cerned about the strike ac­tion which nearly brought the in­dus­try to its knees ear­lier this year. How­ever, he said the strike’s im­pact on Mi­crofin­ish was min­i­mal as the company did not source any­thing from ex­ter­nal sup­pli­ers. “We have con­trol over our raw ma­te­rial and we also carry a min­i­mum two-months stock at any given time.”

Cur­rently, Naidoo was in­volved in pos­si­ble deals with In­dia, China and Tai­wan which will give the group a lever to tap into other mar­kets.

Lo­cally, Mi­crofin­ish sup­plies parts to Au­toZone, Alert and CAC com­po­nents.

PHOTO: GCINA NDWALANE

Brian Naidoo, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of au­to­mo­tive com­po­nent man­u­fac­turer Mi­crofin­ish, says the sup­ply agree­ment of­fers a tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity.

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