1994 will undoubtedly forever be the year that mankind associates with the modern South Africa. One does not need to be a historian to know that it was here that the days of apartheid slowly came to end, resulting in the multi-racial democratic election that brought Nelson Mandela and his African National Congress (ANC) to power.
Nevertheless, the vestiges of apartheid still shape South African politics and society to this day. One of the most important events that was given rise by the events of 1994 was the launching of the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) program. Launched to redress the inequalities of the past the program gives previously disadvantaged groups of South African citizens economic privileges previously unavailable to them.
While BBE, like virtually all well-intentioned programs, and other efforts from the ANC have come in for certain criticisms in the past, one cannot deny that it has resulted in a number of inspirational economic stories arising in recent times.
One of those is that of the Simang Group, a black owned and controlled equity investor interested in acquiring majority shares in viable businesses with strong growth prospects. Formed in 2008 through the consolidation of the interests of a group of major shareholders under one roof, the group’s founders consist entirely of previously disadvantaged black South Africans, each of whom emerged from adversity to establish their own successful enterprises.
In pursuit of its goal of becoming a platinum rated group of companies Simang Group has gone on to supplement its existing capabilities through the aggressive targeting and acquisition of other businesses. When it comes to these acquisitions, the group provides leadership and strategic direction while the management of Simang Group Subsidiaries is tasked with implementing the business strategies of these companies.
Today, Simang Group’s primary goal is to monitor the market in a number of sectors in order to identify businesses that showcase long-term potential and could eventually be brought under its umbrella of companies. In order to do this the group will typically set about enthusiastically purchasing majority shares in said businesses, adding them to the holding company’s portfolio of assets. Once the deal is done, Simang Group then sets about transforming the companies by applying its tried and tested business strategies to the new projects in the hope of instigating growth and ultimately healthy profit margins.
Although the interests the group accumulates typically fall into a number of highly diverse business categories, they soon become linked in the sense that they each go on to profit from Simang Group’s modern approach, its well-known passion for quality and its track record for embracing technological advancements.
In recent years the group has compiled what is unquestionably an impressive portfolio of assets, and today controls a host of companies from sectors including job recruitment, consumer electronics and property development.
Each business invariably represents the continued economic prosperity being experienced in its field of activity. This is further highlighted by the group’s recent venture into South Africa’s aviation sector, the most developed on the continent, with its acquisition of a 30 percent stake in ExecuJet. The largest business aviation company in Africa, ExecuJet boasts a charter fleet of more than 50 aircraft and world class facilities at both Cape Town and Lanseria International airports, making it widely regarded as the market leader in its field.
Also central to Simang Group’s activities and its corporate strategy is its steadfast belief in delivering corporate social investment. The company has a strategic objective focussed specifically on this area and has a number of corporate social investment initiatives running. These include its prestigious position as patron for the Gauteng Education Department Top Student Awards.
This ethos also extends into other facets of the group’s business, not least of all its recruitment policy. Here Simang Group maintains a strong obligation and commitment towards employing individuals who have had less fortunate upbringings. In doing so the group has learned that in providing its employees with the same opportunities that its founders enjoyed it is rewarded by a healthy combination of enthusiasm, professionalism and hard work, something that acts as a perfect foundation for the group going forward.
While the economic climate of 2013 certainly differs from that of 2008, prior to the onset of the global economic crisis, Simang Group has managed to weather the storm so to speak and continue to expand, with its combined workforce of approximately 1,000 people set to grow further still by the end of 2013. Expansion and growth are going to be the big themes that drive the group forward in the coming months and years, all while it continues to ensure that its companies remain profitable, competitive and provide quality products and services.
Written by Will Daynes, research by Jon Bradley