Local is lekker
The Durban-based private investment company Jacobs Capital has purchased the majority interest in Port Shepstone-based MB Workwear – a market leader in industrial safety workwear in South Africa – thereby localising the stake previously held by Australian-based shareholders.
Wessel Jacobs, chief executive of Jacobs Capital, says that the deal provides an important opportunity to invest in a company that has survived the drastic decline of South Africa’s clothing and textile sector since the nineties, and has also grown its market share both locally and abroad.
Over the past three years, sales have grown by an average of 11 percent and MB Workwear is on a strong drive to increase sales and market share locally, as well as to establish and grow key niche markets in the rest of Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
“We see a lot of future value coming from the increased profile of safety across all segments of industry. This is being driven by legislation, the effects of the Local Procurement Act and the drive towards innovation within the company itself,” Jacobs points out.
He continues: “The MB Workwear team has successfully run a profitable business under difficult market conditions. This shows that they have the trade knowledge and business acumen required to continue to see the business trade profitably into the future.”
The company, which traces its history back over 50 years, was located at Marburg on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast to take advantage of incentive packages offered by the then Department of Trade and Industry to decentralised businesses.
MB Workwear, as it is known today, was formed in 2005 through the merger of Marburg Manufacturers, which had been established in the 1960s, and Beslin Workwear, which was set up during the 1980s.
Today, the company employs more than 950 people and utilises over 350 000 m of fabric to produce in excess of 200 000 garments per month. These are sold to customers across a wide spectrum of industries including: mining, foundry, steel, oil, gas and petroleum and chemicals.