Chemical distributor Protea Chemicals, a division of the Omnia Group and US-based environmental improvement company Nalco have formed a joint venture (JV) that will provide an extensive range of water and process treatment services to the African market.
Nalco estimates that the total water and process treatment market in the region is more than $400-million a year and is expected to grow significantly over the next ten years. Nalco Africa head of mining Grant Robinson explains that the JV places the company in a strong position to combine its technologies and expertise to provide advanced products and services.
"Nalco has built up a reputable brand name. It focuses on new technology all the time, bringing value to the industry. This constant drive toward innovation will be of benefit to our customers," he says.
Robinson notes that the JV will allow Protea Chemicals to assist its clients to significantly reduce their environmental impact using Nalco's industrial water and process treatment technologies, while being able to offer a full vendor management service, effectively offering them a one stop shop.
He adds that this partnership complements Protea Chemical's existing chemicals business and demonstrates its continued commitment to growing its business.
Nalco Africa's immediate focus is on sub-Saharan Africa. The company currently has staff in Zambia and South Africa and is focusing on expanding its footprint to Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique.
"With the new projects that are taking place in Mozambique there is significant potential for extensive growth in that market, allowing us to enter at ground level. Zimbabwe remains a highly competitive market as well," says Robinson.
Initial discussions for the JV started in April 2009 between Protea Chemicals' mining division and Nalco's mining group and developed into a full joint venture across all industries between the two companies in February 2010.
An extensive range of services and products will be available from Nalco Africa, including process treatments for the mining sector; refinery and petrochemicals sector; pulp and paper industry; food and beverage market and broader industrial water and effluent treatment applications.
"We have set tough targets this year and we are planning to exceed them. We want to gain significant market share in South Africa in the next five years," says Robinson.
To sustain this growth, Nalco Africa will be supported by Nalco's global mining division, especially from its Australian branch, reinforcing the cooperation between the mining industries of South Africa and Australia.
Business development manager Andrew Davis was appointed to lead this effort together with Robinson, bringing Nalco's mining experience in the Australian mining sector to South Africa's mining industry.