25 of 2016


Newsletter No.25      22 July 2016

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Gelvenor Textiles sold to South African investor

Gelvenor Chief Executive, Dicky Coetzee, with Leon Raubenheimer (Jacobs Capital director) & Wessel Jacobs (Jacobs Capital CEO) Photo: Chris Laurenz

South African private equity firm, Jacobs Capital, has acquired Gelvenor Textiles, manufacturer of industrial, technical apparel, outdoor lifestyle, protective and aeronautical fabrics from Courthiel Holdings, which is owned by German corporate investor, Claas Daun, for an undisclosed amount.

The transaction, which is effective from January this year, includes a merger with South Coast based MB Workwear, one of South Africa’s leading manufacturers of workwear and personal protective clothing. MB Workwear will become a division of Gelvenor Consolidated Fabrics.

“This means that Gelvenor is now a 100 percent South African company for the first time in our long and successful history,” said Gelvenor Chief Executive, Dicky Coetzee.

Gelvenor was established in 1965 as a weaver, dyer and finisher of synthetic and manmade continuous filament yarn fabrics. The Hammarsdale operation has grown into one of the biggest success stories in the South African textile sector and is regarded as a global leader in the production of aeronautical fabrics, ballistics textiles, fire resistant fabrics and many other specialised products.

Gelvenor’s range of aeronautical textiles is the result of 30 years of research. It has been used worldwide for over 25 years in the production of paragliding, skydiving, hot air ballooning and military canopies. Gelvenor developed the first microfiber low bulk parachute fabrics in the world in 2002. These are now standard products sold to leading parachute manufacturers and have not been copied.

In 2007/8, Gelvenor supplied more than R100 million worth of ballistic fabric for vehicle armouring for coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wessel Jacobs, chief executive of Jacobs Capital, explained that, even though the two companies operated under the same parent company, they would continue to operate separately in the market as independent entities.

Coetzee said this was important as Gelvenor had concluded important supply agreements with key customers within the workwear market and needed to ensure that there would be no conflict of interests.

Jacobs added that the new ownership would not result in any material changes in agreements with Gelvenor’s suppliers. Most importantly, the company’s sustained growth meant there was no need for any staff changes. Instead, the emphasis would be on further innovation and research as part of a drive to position Gelvenor as a global leader in the production of specialist fabrics. In the longer term, this could see the company expand and create further job opportunities.

Gelvenor has capacity to produce 18 million square metres of fabric per year. 25 percent of Gelvenor’s output is contract fabrics, 30 percent is industrial fabrics, 25 percent is specialty high tech fabrics, 15 percent is apparel fabrics and the remaining five percent, commodity fabrics.

Gelvenor exports at least 30 percent of output directly. 30 percent of its local sales go towards indirect exports in the form of ballistics products, bomb suits, parachutes and uniforms. Key export markets are Russia, America, Europe and the United Kingdom.

“Gelvenor celebrated 50 years in business during 2015. The philosophy that drove us for the first 50 years was to step out into the unknown, tackle those niche and speciality markets and go where others were too scared to tread. Now we have new ownership that will bring additional vitality and new energy to the business. This is very exciting for us,” Coetzee said.

He added that the sale was very positive for Gelvenor as Jacobs Capital supported its sustainable business model and its strategy of continuing to place Gelvenor at the forefront of speciality and technical textiles.

He said that plans were in place to grow production of aeronautical textiles by at least 30 percent in the next year through the production of extremely light and thin fabrics for rescue parachutes as well as capturing additional market share in the paragliding market.

“Jacobs Capital has a team of strong business leaders who will invest in and assist us to build on Gelvenor’s strengths. Their target is to grow the business and to provide support for Gelvenor to tackle even bigger projects than what we have done in the past,” he concluded.

For more information, visit www.jacobscapital.co.za and www.gelvenor.com


Woolworths hosts annual ‘Inside Retail’ programme aimed at contributing to improved tertiary education in SA

Woolworths recently hosted its annual ‘Inside Retail’ programme with 32 Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges in Cape Town.

The programme, launched in 2013, seeks to provide meaningful and tangible outcomes to raising the quality of tertiary education in the South Africa, specifically in retail management. The ‘Inside Retail’ programme is Woolworths contribution to meeting the Department of Higher Education and Training’s strategic plan to develop a skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path in South Africa.

This year, the programme targeted 32 Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) lecturers through a week-long, embedded course, aimed at providing practical experience and knowledge of the retail value chain in South Africa. The course also took the participants to various Woolworths distribution centres and suppliers around the Western Cape to give leaners a first-hand practical view of how a world class retailer operates.

Speaking about the importance of the Woolworths ‘Inside Retail programme, Sibongile Antoni, Woolworths Head of Human Resources for Learning and Development said, “Woolworths is committed to the advancement of skills development in South Africa. Collectively, government, labour and the private sector have a responsibility to the country to find ways to collaborate more closely to finding solutions to growing our economy and preparing our young people for the world of work. To this end, Woolworths is attempting to promote skills development to unlock transformation of the retail industry, which is in line with our commitment to ensuring that our business is making a positive contribution in the broader context of South Africa.”

The lecturers who participate in the programme are not only accountable for providing students with the knowledge and skills that they will need to succeed in the Retail Management course, but also have the challenging task of ensuring that they supply industry and the country with skilled individuals to meet the skills shortage in SA.

After completing the five-day programme, Nathaniel Masiza, a lecturer from the College of Cape Town said: “I wish I could turn back the hands of time and teach my students what I know now about retail. I would have taught very differently”.

“Woolworths investment into the ‘Inside Retail’ programme symbolises the brand’s corporate ethos and commitment to offer high quality learning opportunities to not only improve the level of tertiary education in South Africa, but to also tangible and positively impact the retail industry for generations to come.

“This programme provides lecturers a chance to better understand the complexities of retail so that together, we can be part of the skills development transformation that we want to see in our country,” added Antoni.

“By offering the lecturers industry-related exposure, we’re helping to ensure that our institutions of learning have the capability to deliver the knowledge and skills that are required in the sector,” concluded Antoni. My Newsroom

SACTWU Settles Cotton Textile wage negotiations


The COSATU-affiliated Southern Africa Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) has settled its 2016 wage negotiations for the Woven Cotton Textile Sector.

The agreement was reached under the auspices of the National Textile Bargaining Council (NTBC), with our employer counter parts represented by the South African Cotton & Textile Processing Employers’ Association (SACTPEA).

It is a 2-year agreement, backdated to 1st July 2016.

The agreement covers improvements in the prescribed minimum wages, retirement fund contributions, and bargaining council levies.|

Approximately 4630 workers employed in 70 woven cotton textile factories nationally will benefit from this agreement.

The agreement will now be submitted to the Minister of Labour, with a request for her to gazette and extend it to also cover all non-party employers in this sector.

The 8.25% package settlement increase will be retrospectively effective from 1st July this year. This above inflation settlement is a major step forward in SACTWU’s 2016 Living Wage Campaign.

Issued by Andre Kriel SACTWU General Secretary
If further information is required, please contact SACTWU Deputy General Secretary Chris Gina on office number 0313011351 or cell number 082409456 or Themba Ngcobo, our Cotton Sector National Co-ordinator, on cell number 0835579976 or office number 0313011351


From Russell O’Neill

The dangers of second hand electronic equipment. I occasionally get asked my opinion on second hand equipment and if the asking price is reasonable. Most times I am never asked but do get requested to repair the equipment. Electronic equipment and electronic components are probably the fastest changing field in the world. Every day there are new developments and thus new and “improved” components and updated formats. Second hand machines especially embroidery machines that are obsolete usually sell for a bargain which is so tempting to someone who needs such a machine. Since I have been supplying Richpeace machines I have seen various brands come and go and other popular models become obsolete. Let the buyer beware is how these machines are sold and they can be suitable until they go wrong. That is usually when I get the phone call. So what has changed in the last say 20 years. Well we have gone from 720K stiffy disks to USB is one of the technologies so if your machine requires a stiffy disk to load the designs try buying one and if by a miracle you can, see how long it lasts. Stepper motors and their drives have also evolved from transistor types to mosfets and now they are using servo drives. None of these are compatible with the other and the computer or motherboard operating the machine could have been obsolete the day it was sold as new. Anyone who has owned a PC knows how quickly this branch of electronics changes and updates. Older machines are also not as efficient as newer machines and in a production environment every minute counts. We have not even touched on the availability of mechanical spares for older machines and those pitfalls. My advice is as the saying goes: Caveat Emptor, let the buyer beware but also be aware of the potential problems and there is no harm in getting advice first.



Did you Know…….

  • In Canada alone, each person creates about 7 kilograms of textile waste that fills our landfills.
  • The forerunners of our modern designer fragrance? In ancient Egypt, wealthy Egyptian women placed scented grease cones on top of their heads. The grease melted during the course of the day, covering their skin and clothes with an oily fragrance.
  • Another fact hailing from Egypt is the iconic black kohl make-up. This make-up was applied not for decorative purposes, but rather to reflect the sun away from the eyes, so one could say that the first sunglasses originated in the land of the pyramids!


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