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29 January 2009
ONCRETE products manufacturer Technicrete - South Africa’s largest manufacturer of concrete paving bricks – is reporting a healthy order book, despite dire predictions for the local building and construction economy in 2009.
"There’s no escaping the fact that 2009 is going to be a lot tougher than 2008 and the years immediately preceding, when we were experiencing double-digit growth,” says managing director Paul Deppe. “There is a sharp decline in building plans approved for residential units. However, building plan approvals for shopping centres and offices are still on the increase – a good sign.”
Deppe adds that while there had been a major down-turn in the higher-value residential market sector - which seemed likely to continue - the commercial and industrial sectors, typically office parks and shopping centres, showed strong growth prospects which would help sustain continued growth for Technicrete in the increasingly difficult trading climate forecast.
“In fact,” Deppe emphasizes, “Technicrete is on track to achieve target forecasts for the 2008-2009 trading year.”
The year could even see the company – an independent company within the Murray & Roberts Group - increasing its share of the paving products market through the acquisition of companies which are experiencing difficulties in the current building slump. “It is a buyers’ market,” Deppe says, “and we will be looking at opportunities.”
In 2008 Technicrete received an umbrella ISO 9001:2000 quality assurance listing. Previously, the company’s 10 separate manufacturing plants had been independently audited by SABS for ISO compliance.
“This has been a self-imposed additional quality-focused discipline for us,” says Deppe. “Since it was instituted we have seen improvements spanning every level of the company, and these are now paying dividends by helping us to weather the challenging times ahead.”