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Lubricants leader eyes major growth in Africa

Home Manufacturing & Processing Chemicals Lubricants leader eyes major growth in Africa

MOVING to a centralised new head office in Isando, Johannesburg and launching a unified product brand image in mid-November are key parts of a long-term strategy for sustained growth and expansion for FUCHS Lubricants South Africa.

That’s according to Andrew Cowling, Sales Director of the the 100%-owned subsidiary of FUCHS Germany. He added that 2021 had proven to be a record year for the company, attributing their success in competitive market dominated by multinationals to the fact that the company remains a family-owned business, with the current CEO representing the third generation.

The group has nearly 60 companies and 6,000 employees globally, and has been developing, producing and selling lubricants for almost 100 years.

“Being the number one independent lubricant company in the world has enabled FUCHS to focus exclusively on the downstream side of the petrochemical value chain, with many competitor multinationals relying on fuel sales to sustain their bottom line,” Cowling said.

Despite the fact that the group remains independent, it has a range of over 10 000 products and related service lines covering the six main categories of automotive lubricants, industrial lubricants, lubricating greases, metal processing lubricants, special application lubricants and related services.

“We are 100% focused on leveraging this extensive portfolio across our main markets, which are mining, construction, automotive, heavy engineering general industrial, among others.”

Cowling said the company also has longstanding relationships with various OEMs, especially in the automotive sector, and has good penetration into southern Africa at the moment in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique in particular. “Our affiliation with these OEMS means we play a key role in helping grow their brands.”

Apart from its main market focus, the company is also involved in niche sectors like glass, food and even wind energy. Such diversification is essential for sustained and viable growth across the entire group, Cowling said.

“If there is a difficult year in a specific sector globally such as the mining industry, for example, then we can look to the strengths of our other sectors to tide us over,” highlights Cowling. This flexibility and adaptability are key to the mission statement and values of the global group, which are predicated on ‘lubricants, technology and people’.”

Branches

The company has branches in Paarl, where it mainly services the food and beverage sector, as well as in Durban and Port Elizabeth, and also in the key mining and industrial areas of Witbank, Springbok and Kuruman.

Commenting on the new packaging launch in mid-November, Cowling said this was a global campaign to repackage the FUCHS core automotive brands into a unified range in line with the entire group product line, including TITAN, AGRIFARM and MAINTAIN, to name but a few.

With the latest change in the core packaging, the well-known WM Penn range will now be repackaged and rebranded into the TITAN range. From a sales perspective, the rebrand is also part of a concerted effort to grow the retail part of the business.

“We have a strong focus on increasing our brand awareness and developing strategies to target specific market segments.”

He said the newly designed bottles and packaging for the range, which are 100% recyclable, ties into another key theme of the global group, which is sustainability and environmental awareness. This theme is a key part of the FUCHS2025 strategy, which also looks at other major global trends such as autonomous driving, e-mobility and new digital business models.

“We believe that these trends represent a huge opportunity for us in Africa, especially with the move to ‘green’ energy. This is why we are looking very carefully at market segmentation to allow us to tailor specific strategies to cater for such developments going forward, and to introduce them into our entire approach, from product to customer focus, across Africa.”

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