The Bosch Group is strengthening its business in Africa and further expanding its industrial technology portfolio on the continent. Effective 28 February, Bosch Rexroth AG has acquired all shares in Hytec Holdings, Johannesburg, South Africa. Hytec specialises in the marketing of hydraulic and automation solutions, and is the leading company in the field in sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2017, the company and its roughly 770 associates generated sales of some 86 million euros. Hytec has about 40 branch operations, not only in South Africa, but also in Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Ghana, and Kenya. In a first phase, Bosch Rexroth acquired a 50 per cent stake in its marketing partner Hytec in 2014.
‘For Bosch, Africa has a lot of potential as a strategic market of the future,’ says Uwe Raschke, the Bosch management board member responsible for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. ‘In the years ahead, we want to significantly increase our sales in Africa,’ Raschke adds. Considerable opportunities are offered by the heavy investments being made in infrastructure projects in areas such as construction and power generation. ‘Together with Hytec, we can take better advantage of the market opportunities in the African growth industries,’ says Rolf Najork, the managing director of Bosch Rexroth. The region is characterised by a lot of end-user business, such as servicing and spare parts for users of machinery. With its new subsidiary, Bosch Rexroth hopes to further expand this business. Hytec has a well-established marketing network in sub-Saharan Africa, and its associates are well familiarised with what local customers want. ‘We are combining this high level of regional marketing knowledge with Bosch Rexroth’s product expertise and technological prowess. This will be a significant boost to our business on the continent,’ Najork says.
Hytec will continue to market the products of other manufacturers. Its portfolio includes roughly 30 brands. It will also continue to do business as Hytec, since this is a strong, well-known brand in southern Africa. The same applies to the Hytec subsidiaries TECTRA, HAW, HFT, HYSA, Hytec Engineering and HSA.
Positive economic outlook
Africa’s population is growing at a rapid pace, and according to the United Nations is expected to double to 2.5 billion people by 2050. The continent also has the fastest rate of urbanisation in the world. Within the next ten years, it is expected that 187 million Africans – equivalent to half the U.S. population – will live in cities.
This means growing demand for drive and control solutions for industrial machinery, for mobile machinery such as construction vehicles, and for major construction projects. Even today, Bosch Rexroth and its marketing partner Hytec are successfully collaborating to serve the African market in areas such as power engineering. In one major project, for example, the two companies renewed the entire hydraulic equipment of the Roseires Dam in Sudan. At 1 800 megawatts, the output of this dam on the Blue Nile is comparable with that of a nuclear power station.
Bosch has been working with its marketing partner Hytec for more than 50 years. ‘The complete acquisition of Hytec gives us a welcome opportunity to extend this successful collaboration and to grow further in Africa,’ says Tillmann Olsen, general manager of Bosch Rexroth in South Africa. In May 2018, Bosch Rexroth and its new subsidiary Hytec will move into new joint premises in Johannesburg. The premises will include new marketing and administration offices, as well as an assembly line, a service centre, and a training centre for courses in hydraulics and automation technology.
Bosch in Africa
In recent years, the Bosch Group has systematically expanded its presence on the African continent. Today, it is represented in ten African countries. The company’s focus is on affordable solutions and services for local requirements. These include training programs for tradespeople in Kenya, for example, or auto mechanics in Nigeria. According to preliminary figures, the company generated sales of some 460 million euros in Africa in 2017. Including the Hytec workforce, Bosch currently employs more than 1 500 associates on the continent. Bosch has been present in Africa since 1906. All four Bosch business sectors – Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology – are active there. There are two manufacturing sites in South Africa, in Brits and Midrand. Bosch also actively promotes talented young people in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2008, it was one of the initiators of ‘Afrika kommt!’, an initiative of German industry for junior managers from sub-Saharan Africa.