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Manufacture of General Purpose Machinery
Sales of general purpose machinery were worth some R36.2bn in 2016 up from R34.1bn in 2015 and according to the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (merSETA), employment in the metals chamber stands at 298,000. General purpose machinery is typically defined as machinery that is used in a wide variety of industries, as opposed to machinery put to a specialised use in a single sector, such as agricultural equipment. There are 13 major product categories within the sector and there are a handful of major manufacturers or distributors active in each category with some 70 large or medium-sized businesses active in the sector as a whole.
A Sector Under Pressure
Despite annual sales increases, the volume production of general purpose machinery has been declining for some years and the industry is experiencing subdued demand and increasing competition from imports. According to the South African Manufacturing Circle, the poor performance of the segment is at least partly a function of the fragile state of the manufacturing sector as a whole. Many other sub-industries of manufacturing are key consumers of general purpose machinery and drive demand. Therefore, poor performance of overall manufacturing is particularly negative for machinery producers as they suffer doubly, first from generally depressed economic conditions and demand, and secondly from reduced orders from other manufacturers.
The Manufacture of General Purpose Machinery describes current conditions as well as initiatives and investments that are expected to increase demand for general purpose machinery. The increasing numbers of imports and the increasing importance of exports to the rest of Africa are also discussed. Profiles for 73 companies are provided, including ACTOM which entered into a joint venture with German industrial fan company TLT-Turbo GmbH in 2015, and whose recent acquisitions include Genlux Lighting and WPI Power Solutions. Also profiled are SMMES such as Chigo Airconditioning CC and GE Betz South Africa (Pty) Ltd, which is active in the water purifying and filtration arena.