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SkyNet South Africa in private equity buyout

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JOHANNESBURG, 02 NOVEMBER 2021 – SkyNet South Africa today announced that the SkyNet operations in South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Germany have been acquired by the South African management team together with RMB Ventures (RMBV) an on balance sheet long private equity investor and a subsidiary of FirstRand Bank Limited- the largest financial services group (by market capitalisation) in Africa, Bopa Moruo Private Equity and New GX Capital Holdings.

Tommy Erasmus, Chief Executive Officer of SkyNet South Africa states: “In an economy currently characterised by downscaling and international acquisitions of South African companies, this is an exciting chapter in the South African courier industry. This will be a South African run company expanding its global footprint and control as a first phase of a multiple acquisition strategy that will rapidly see further expansion into key strategic areas across the globe.”  

SkyNet is a South African homegrown success story which operates in more than 170 countries.

SkyNet has a long history in the South African courier express parcel industry (CEP) – especially given South Africa’s unique economic environment. It was one of the first companies to adopt the owner-driver concept, assisting its employees to transition into small business owners, while pursuing BBBEE as a moral imperative. Says Erasmus: “We shall remain Proudly South African and continue to encourage the entrepreneurial culture, which we intend bringing to the global stage. SkyNet’s market share is significant within the European countries where we operate. We are notable players within the e-commerce space where several of the largest global e-tailers are currently serviced by SkyNet. The efficiencies we realise from this scale will provide further cost-effective opportunities to our clients internationally. The combined offering resulting from the acquisition makes SkyNet a global player of scale while retaining the high levels of innovation and agility which are core to our operations. Our ambition is to become the game-changers of the CEP market.

The strong growth of e-commerce throughout the Covid-19 pandemic was the primary driver for SkyNet’s global acquisition strategy. Global markets are becoming increasingly accessible to even small brands. “We intend to be an extension of our client’s growth plans in this new environment. While e-commerce remains our primary focus, our core strengths, technologies, and skills are as applicable in other industries. We are currently looking at healthcare and secured services which are major verticals in the South African economy. SkyNet has collaborated with the likes of Fidelity Security Services (including ADT Security) to provide solutions that ensure the safe and timeous delivery of valuable goods.”

“These pursuits are enabled by our agile in-house IT development team allowing for solutions tailormade to client’s operational requirements. SkyNet clients don’t endure the frustration of waiting for the development of IT solutions governed by strenuous international priorities within development houses situated abroad. SkyNet clients deserve world-class service suited to their tailored needs and timetable – and now they will have it,” says Erasmus.

“Our new shareholders all have gravitas in their respective areas of business. This will add a new dimension to the leadership core of SkyNet. RMBV is well known as a leading African corporate and investment bank and part of one of the largest financial services groups (by market capitalisation) in Africa – FirstRand Limited. Bopa Moruo is a mid-market private equity firm focused on generating long-term capital appreciation by building great businesses. New GX is a black-owned and controlled investment company formed on strong entrepreneurial principles.”

“It is a key philosophy at SkyNet to pursue purpose over profit, the why before the what. We believe our why is intrinsically linked to the understanding of our clients why. Only then can we add real value to our client by being an extension to their brand and changing the game. By partnering with likeminded and successful entrepreneurs on a global scale, we see this as a first but significant step towards greater achievement of this purpose to the benefit of our clients and the SkyNet family,” Erasmus concludes.

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Precision delivery key to Unitrans Africa’s mining-sector success

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Unitrans Africa’s (UA) proven mining-sector material handling capability is laying the foundation for a bright future characterised by unique innovation in critical areas of the company’s operations.

Electric vehicles and real-time stockpile management and reporting are but two examples of Unitrans Africa’s bold, long-term vision. But none of these ideas would have even made it to the drawing board had it not been for the company’s trusted reputation when it comes to on-mine material handling and mine-to-port capabilities – painstakingly built across the continent over many decades.

“Unitrans Africa is truly demonstrating our purpose of Accelerating Africa’s Growth with the current mining projects and partnerships we currently have in place,” says Unitrans CEO, Rob Hayworth, who believes that the company now has the springboard to recreate, throughout Africa, the success of current operations, which are accredited according to the highest available safety standards, including the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), Occupational Health, Safety and Security (OHSAS), Safety and Quality Assessment System (SQAS) and Road Transport Management System (RTMS).

“Our solutions have a positive impact on the regions we operate in and with the partners we are involved with, especially when it comes to utilising local labour and reducing the total project emissions via the use of road trains,” he adds.

Road trains have the unique ability to each handle up to 140 tons of payload, while at the same time increasing safety standards and decreasing environmental impact. The latter is achieved through reduced emissions on a net project basis due to a reduction in the required fleet size.

It’s for these reasons that road trains occupy pole position in Unitrans Africa’s bold take on the future – one that is possible thanks to the company’s proven end-to-end capabilities. “Our ‘mine-to-port’ capability is a major strength and this is where our immediate focus has been” says Hayworth. “We’ve been able to set a stake in the ground and are now looking to build on these strengths, as the largest operator of road trains in Africa.”

“We are in the final stages of research into a number of innovative offerings including electric mining vehicles, which will be revealed soon,” he adds.

Unitrans Africa’s extensive footprint in sub-Saharan Africa includes countries such as Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Tanzania and Madagascar. This presence already makes the company one of the largest material handling, distribution and logistics operations on the continent, which Hayworth ascribes to an unwavering focus on precision delivery.

“Our exacting standards, high quality, performance track records and continuous improvement all translate into a gold standard when it comes to service delivery,” he says. “When it comes to mining, this is reflected in Unitrans’s custom designed vehicles and engineered equipment, handling of dangerous goods, superb delivery, and cost efficiency, amongst other things.”

As an example of this precision delivery accelerating Africa’s growth, Hayworth points to the successful kickstarting of their Botswanan copper operations, which have demonstrated positive economic and environmental effects. Job growth has increased locally, GDP has grown across the SADC region as a whole, and copper has contributed to a reduction in carbon emissions due to its use in electric vehicles.

“We now have proven copper handling capabilities, which we can use as a launchpad into similar operations in the likes of DRC, Zambia and Namibia in the future,” says Hayworth.

A future which, if Unitrans Africa’s track record is anything to go by, looks bright indeed.

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IAG Cargo reports strong Q3 as capacity rebounds across its global network

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Friday 5 November, 2021, Today, IAG Cargo reports strong Q3 revenues of €405 million for the period from July 1 to September 30 2021, as activity accelerates back to 2019 levels, with the business aided by growing capacity and the breadth of its network.

The Q3 2021 revenues represent an increase of 34.4 percent at constant currency versus the same period last year. Overall yield for Q3 was down 2.0 per cent at constant currency versus 2020. Sold tonnes were up 42.6 per cent. The results come on top of IAG Cargo’s half year revenue of €769m, delivering total revenue to date of €1,174 million in 2021; up 28.0 percent on the same time last year.

The quarter’s success has been achieved through a sustained resurgence in the volume of flights offered by IAG Cargo. Overall, IAG Cargo has seen a 24 per cent increase in capacity on the previous quarter and a 62.2 per cent increase compared to Q3 last year. The increased activity reflects growing levels of global trade, as many economies experience recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. New routes during the quarter included Nairobi, Istanbul, Male, Chennai, Vienna, Denver and Phoenix whilst many other lanes saw increased frequencies.

During the quarter, IAG Cargo’s ability to provide a fast, efficient and global service, connecting East to West, has been in high demand. IAG Cargo’s hubs in Heathrow, Madrid and Dublin have been pivotal, with a significant increase in interline activity.  IAG Cargo also increasingly saw conversions from sea freight as shippers turned to air freight to minimise the impact of the well-publicised supply chain disruption. 

Commenting on the quarter, IAG Cargo Managing Director David Shepherd said: “This quarter we have seen momentum build as IAG Cargo, and the global economy, begins to take increasingly confident steps towards a more buoyant future, as recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to gain ground. The team’s resilience and commitment to put our customers first continues, and we are excited to enter into a new and ambitious phase of activity.”  

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New CIPS Southern Africa General Manager focusses on more educational opportunities for all as she takes on new challenges for the procurement and supply profession

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Pretoria, 2 December 2021  – The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) has appointed Dr Sara Bux as General Manager of Southern Africa. This is a critical appointment as the procurement profession continues to grow in the region and more individuals and organisations are seeking training and qualifications in procurement and supply.

Dr Bux, who most recently served as Director —Southern Africa at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants has over 30 years’ experience in the education sector.

Dr Bux possesses a high level of understanding of the regulatory education environment and networks across Southern Africa, with board-level experience. She has a passion for educational transformation, particularly within Southern Africa and support for the procurement and supply profession. Her qualifications include a Master of Arts (MA) in South African Literature, a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Business Management Entrepreneurship.

Group Chief Executive Officer of CIPS, Malcolm Harrison commented, “I am delighted Sara is joining the CIPS team with her background in education, her high level of understanding of the regulatory frameworks and her strong networks in Southern Africa; she will be a real asset.

“Her energy and enthusiasm will build on the ongoing success of CIPS and I’m looking forward to working with her to create more opportunities for members and aspiring professionals to develop their skills and qualifications allowing them to create the resilient supply chains of the future.”Dr Sara Bux said of her appointment: “I am a firm believer in dignity, equality, freedom, diversity and inclusion for all, and I hope to bring these qualities into my role for CIPS.“I have a strong passion for education and especially, access to the right kind of education that will enable individuals to constructively participate in and contribute to the local and global economy and to society as a whole.”

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