The Safal Group has expanded its footprint in Africa over the last 50 years to include eleven countries.
The United States of Africa is the 10th largest economy in the world – its market is worth almost a trillion dollars a year, which is ahead of China and India, even though they all have just over a billion people.
Economies across Africa withstood the economic meltdown of 2008 and have grown at an impressive 6% on average. This is tied to the demand for the riches under the African soil, but only in part. The African middle class has also grown dramatically, and consumer spending accounted for more than 60% of sub-Sahara Africa’s growth in 2013, according to the World Bank.
Steel roofing manufacturer, the Safal Group, points out that Africa is an awakening consumer giant and the middle class are all planning on spending money to buy laptops, educate their children, and to improve their homes and quality of life.
East Africa housing boom
East Africa’s 150 million-strong population is driving huge demand for housing and commercial infrastructure, and with the GDP growing by an average of 5% across the region, this will not abate in the near future.
Steel manufacturing of mainly sheeting and piping was started in the region by companies such as the Safal Group in the late 1950s and early 1960s, after the East African countries regained their independence.
Kenya – the trailblazer
As the most developed economy in the region, Kenya leads the way. Mabati Rolling Mills was set up in Mombasa in 1962 by what is today known as the Safal Group. The company’s metal coating mill in Mombasa was the first in Africa to produce zinc-aluminium coated steel, which is the global benchmark for quality.
Together with its colour-coating and sheet profiling operations in Athi River near Nairobi, Mabati Rolling Mills can produce 200 000 tons of sheeting per year, all of which is sold in Kenya and neighbouring countries.
Tanzania – a regional powerhouse
Aluminium Africa (ALAF), Tanzania’s oldest steel company, was established in 1960. Also part of the Safal Group, ALAF’s main focus is on the construction and roofing market, and it manufactures 70 000 tons of aluminium and zinc-coated coil, profiled steel sheeting and related products per annum.
ALAF sells most of its products locally via its three service centres around the country, with exports to neighbouring landlocked countries making up the rest.
Spreading further afield
The Safal Group spread to Uganda with another coating mill in 1964, and in due course established the flagship coating mill of South Africa in 2011.
Within the space of 50 years, the Safal Group has expanded to include four coating mills, 30 roll-forming operations and six related businesses in eleven African countries, making it the continent’s largest producer of quality coated steel sheeting for the burgeoning building sector.
“We strive to make ours a business that can help to build the future of Africa, by manufacturing ethical products, establishing strong brands and growing with our markets. We believe that by grasping the reality of Africa’s challenges as well as its opportunities, we can make a positive difference and succeed together,” comments Dr Manu Chandaria, chairman of the Safal Group.
Tel: 011 323 6300 (care of Safintra Johannesburg)