Bell move to Europe and US on ice

BELL Equipment is not yet in any rush to migrate some of its heavy machinery manufacturing from its Richards Bay factory to Europe and America, CEO Gary Bell said at the company’s long service awards earlier this week.

The assurance came after Bell recently announced they may need to transfer some of the huge local employer’s business overseas as a last ditch effort to excel in the face of adverse Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policies.

‘We may move some of our current activities from Richards Bay to somewhere closer to the big markets in Europe and America.

‘But we will only do this if we can reduce costs and ensure the company as a whole benefits so that we can grow the business and become more sustainable going forward.

‘The strategy is that we would like to grow the Richards Bay business and there are a number of projects underway to support that.

‘We are busy testing and evaluating some trucks, with a view to one day producing those in the factory here in Richards Bay, and I firmly believe that the volumes of that new product would be higher than what we are doing today on the current ADT truck programme.

‘The company’s strategy is designed to put Bell back into a growth trend and at the same time create opportunities for everybody.’

He added 2016 had been a challenging year owing to the ongoing decline in the mining sector.

And although 2017 looks to be another ‘fairly tough year’, the company has strategies in place to try to reduce reliance on the current products and markets.

Bell gained much support after speaking out in October against BEE policies, which he said in the big picture, threaten South African jobs by failing to take job creation into account.

The company, which has grown into SA’s largest manufacturer and distributor of heavy equipment, has created 1 600 jobs in Richards Bay, with a further 250 local companies supplying it.

Furthermore, a total of 188 companies in the City of uMhlathuze are benefiting from its business, as well as 504 in KZN and 975 in SA.

However, none of this is considered against BEE criteria when tendering.

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  AUTHOR
Mia Moorcroft
Journalist

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