Flooring heavyweights join forces

10 April 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201914230

Commerce & Trade
Manufacturing
Plastics & Rubber
Flooring heavyweights join forces
Mehran Zarrebini, CEO of PFE International
Flooring heavyweights join forces
Oscar Grobler, Chairman, Nouwens Carpets

DURBAN–based Van Dyck Floors, South Africa’s oldest carpet manufacturer, and Harrismith-based Nouwens Carpets will consolidate their operations in order to streamline and optimise their manufacturing and supply chains, the companies announced on Monday, 8 April.

Mehran Zarrebini, CEO of PFE International, the family owned British investment company that acquired what was then Van Dyck Carpets in 2004, said that the consolidation was still subject to Competition Board approval. However, in a challenging market where carpet manufacturers not only had to contend with rocketing input costs, an unreliable electrical supply and shrinking disposable income for home improvements but also competition from other flooring solutions, it made sense for the two companies to consolidate.

Although specific details of the resulting restructuring of the two companies are not yet available, both Zarrebini and Nouwens Carpets chairman, Oscar Grobler, said that this would impact some of the 400 plus employees at the two manufacturing plants in KwaZulu-Natal.

Nouwens, launched in 1962, currently employs close to 200 people whilst PFE International has approximately 600 employees across the group in South Africa and 205 within its carpeting division.

PFE International has invested more than R100-million in South Africa over the past 15 years with big capital projects including South Africa’s largest state-of-the-art fibre extrusion line, a BCF twisting and heat-setting line and upgrading and modernising the tufting and needle punch machinery at the factory in Prospecton, Durban.

This, together with investment in sister companies such as Mathe Group, which manufactures a range of rubber crumb products from recycled truck tyres and close associations with international brands such as artificial turf company, Easigrass, Balta, Instafloor and PERGO, the world’s leading manufacturer of premium laminates, commercial LVT/P’s and engineered wood products, has enabled Van Dyck to diversify its product offering within both the commercial and residential flooring markets.

“Due to the economic turmoil in both the construction and manufacturing industries over the past few years and added economic pressures, a fresh approach to doing business is needed. At Nouwens, we believe this consolidation with Van Dyck Floors will be a game changer, not only for our respective businesses but also for our customers and the industry as a whole. We feel that it will add value to both of our customer bases and enable both companies to leverage each other’s strengths,” Grobler said.

Zarrrebini believes that the consolidation of Van Dyck Floors and Nouwens Carpets will also enhance the impact of future investment.

“This consolidation will ensure that efficiencies are gained from both manufacturing operations and will enhance our ability to innovate and ultimately ensure sustainability of the soft flooring industry in South Africa,” he said.

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