Poised for African growth

AFTER a decade-long expansion of its manufacturing capabilities in South Africa, Zest WEG, the South African subsidiary of Brazil’s WEG Group, is well placed to extend its already extensive footprint in the African market.

“We now have six manufacturing facilities in Gauteng and Cape Town, producing a wide range of equipment including gensets, transformers, electrical panels, E-Houses, MCCs and mini sub-stations,” says Zest WEG’s outgoing CEO, Juliano Vargas. “This ability to manufacture locally gives us a huge advantage in the African market, as we can produce economically and deliver promptly to countries throughout the sub-Saharan region.”

According to Vargas, who is taking up an appointment at another operation of WEG Group, Zest WEG’s drive on local manufacture and local sourcing is consistent with WEG’s global approach of maximising local content and procurement wherever possible. It has also contributed to Zest WEG earning coveted Level 1 B-BBEE status.

“WEG now manufactures in 12 countries outside of Brazil with these facilities accounting for more than a third of the Group’s global production,” he says. He adds that Zest WEG is amongst the largest WEG operations outside of Brazil, including USA, Germany, and China
Vargas’s successor as CEO of Zest WEG is Eduardo Werninghaus, who has been with WEG for more than 15 years and who comes to South Africa from WEG’s USA subsidiary.

Zest WEG is responsible for the entire sub-Saharan region and works through an extensive network of branches and Value-Added Resellers (VARs) throughout the continent.

“Being local in Africa is a key part of our strategy,” says Werninghaus. “We need to be close to the countries and communities we serve. There is a perception that all African countries are the same. This is not so. Each as its own unique culture, its own challenges and its own strengths. Having a presence on the ground in so many countries across the continent allows us to address this diversity.”

Most of Zest WEG’s product offering will be on display at the Electra Mining Africa 2022 exhibition. “Our theme, as always, will be how to change energy into solutions,” says Werninghaus. “There will, however, be a particular emphasis on efficiency and sustainability. One of the products that we’ll be highlighting is our range of WEG IE4-rated super-premium efficiency electric motors which were launched locally last year and which cost no more than their IE3 predecessors. These are the most energy efficient motors in the market and offer major operating cost advantages to users.”

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