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Multotec celebrates 50 years and proudly showcases its African roots as it expands its global footprint

Multotec invests in education to help develop local communities

Multotec’s most valuable asset is its people

28th March 2023


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Multotec, an industry leader in metallurgy and process engineering, is commemorating its 50th anniversary and is marking this milestone by reaffirming its position as a proudly South African company that can compete with top global competitors. The company was established in 1973, starting with an imported screening product from Germany intended for the sand and gravel industry. However, it soon realised the necessity to evolve and to design a product that was more suitable for the local mining sector, which could be manufactured locally.

“There were definite imperatives that gave rise to our local manufacturing capabilities, so we rented a property and started manufacturing screening solutions. At that stage, the company had some South African shareholders and a German investor,” says Thomas Holtz, Multotec Group CEO.

From there, Multotec grew from strength to strength, eventually becoming the dominant player in the screening media space in Africa. The company then took the strategic decision to diversify its product offerings within the mineral processing market, adding cyclones, mill liners, and ceramic wear lining products to its portfolio. Subsequently, the organisation also expanded its international footprint, taking a core range of products into the global market.

“Africa is open for business. We make high-quality products and compete on a global scale; and Multotec is proof that there is no reason why any manufacturer in South Africa cannot make world leading products and be competitive,” says Holtz.

Multinational success story

Today, Multotec is a R3 billion turnover company with close to 2 000 employees. The company’s mineral processing equipment is used to optimise recoveries and reduce cost of ownership in mineral processing plants in more than 100 countries on six continents. In 2022, Multotec exported approximately 60% of the products they made in South Africa.

Holtz says the company’s international expansion signalled a change in its journey. The further the company expanded beyond South Africa, the more it had to contend with new commercial issues, adapt its products to new markets, and compete with a host of other multinational players.

“A definite highlight in Multotec’s history was our expansion into and success in Australia. Many South African companies go to Australia only to come back with their tail between their legs. But we’ve managed to set up a business there that is growing and vibrant,” he says.

He ascribes much of Multotec’s success to the fact that the company follows its products and sets up manufacturing facilities in the territories where it operates, which enables it to offer good aftersales service to customers. However, the company also becomes involved in the communities where it operates, a lesson learnt from operating in South Africa.

Local community involvement

“We operate from a developing economy base, so we know that when we move into a new country, as a business we must understand the local community’s issues and become part of that community. We engage with the community, hire local people, train them and source as many products and services locally as we can. Other than that, we also get involved in local projects and fund initiatives such as schools and other local structures,” says Holtz.

However, he points out that Multotec’s most valuable asset is its people and the relationships they have with each other within the organisation. This, he says, is the main differentiator for the business.

“If I had to spell out what defines a team, it would be the relationship that people have with each other. While we are trying to embrace all this new technology that is emerging and figure out where the human element is in this space, human beings are the core that holds it all together. We must never lose sight of that,” says Holtz.

Evolving company culture

He notes that Multotec’s culture has steadily evolved over the years, from a patriarchal approach when the company was first established to a more inclusive culture that focuses on partnerships.

“Everyone has something to contribute, whether they are 1 000km away, a senior manager or a junior employee – it doesn’t matter. Culturally, we put a lot of emphasis on not focusing too much on each other’s differences, but rather recognising it as a strength.”

Looking to the future, Holtz says Multotec will continue to focus on its people and be more intentional about driving the company culture to make sure it remains competitive, intact and strong.

“We will continue to spend on research and development and we will include smart technology in our products. At the same time, we will continue to work to make our equipment better and will keep innovating to stay ahead of the game,” he says.

“For the next 50 years, Multotec will evolve along with the industry. In the meantime, we will continue to focus on growing our international footprint and being successful in foreign markets, while building a more multinational infrastructure.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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