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Andrew Mentis Enters the Australian Market

Leading engineering and manufacturing company Andrew Mentis has entered into an exclusive supply agreement with R&R Engineering in Perth, Australia. R&R Engineering specialises in industrial handrail and walkways for the mining and petrochemical industries. The agreement will see Andrew Mentis’ products enter the Australian market before mid-2012.

Deputy managing director, Andrew Mentis Jnr, explains: “The licensing agreement covers Andrew Mentis products, as well as our brand and expertise. We’re starting with the export of floor grating and will look at expanded metal products, handrailing and guardrail in due course. Our joint strategy with R&R Engineering is to replicate our South African systems in Western Australia. The primary focus will be on project work driven by the mining development taking place in Western Australia. In the longer term the intention is to pursue other opportunities for our product in the wider Australian market.

“We’re thrilled at the prospect of creating a new market for our products,” comments Mentis. “While there are several Australian companies importing similar products, notably from China, our competitive edge will lie in world class customer service, quality products, availability of material and short lead times.”

When this development became imminent in 2011, Andrew Mentis began gearing up to manufacture its products to Australian specifications and containers of Andrew Mentis floor grating are already on the water.

Since the agreement with R&R Engineering includes expertise, Mentis will serve as a non-executive member on the Board of R&R Engineering to provide knowledge and expertise. Coincidentally R&R Engineering has engaged an ex-South African, Chris Kothe, the former managing director of NJR Steel, as managing director.

“Our company has made several forays into the international market in past decades,” says Mentis. “The most successful of these was into the United States in the early 1980s, which came to an end with the introduction of sanctions in 1984. Now in the second decade of the 21st century, we’ve explored most of the growth opportunities available to us in South Africa and have responded by tabling an ambitious global growth strategy. We’re confident that with state-of-the-art technology and processes in place, we’re ready to play in this space.

“Products coming from Asia are on the increase and we therefore also regard this as a defensive strategy that will allow us to gain a good understanding of our global competition and ensure that we protect our existing market share in the future.”

Africa
In terms of exports to other countries on the African continent, Mentis says these are already growth markets for the company, which has enjoyed a fair amount of success in supplying steel stockists who operate in other parts of Africa as well as project work done by South African companies.

“We’ve now started working with these stockists to assess new opportunities to introduce our products to their regions,” he says. “The main focus remains on the robust resource mining industry, but there are also important opportunities relating to infrastructure, such as roads, power stations, airports and ports.

“We want to be ready in these markets with our products, in terms of stock replacement, and we also intend to secure project work indirectly, through South African and Australian companies operating in other African countries.”

Andrew Mentis has a well-founded supply chain established in Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland and is focusing on expanding its markets in Malawi, southern DRC, Zambia and Mozambique through local partners. The company will now turn its attention to the burgeoning infrastructure projects gaining traction in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda.

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