Paving the road to success

Local paving manufacturer Bosun has rapidly established a reputation in the competitive construction industry for its ability to meet exacting quality and deadline requirements.

As a new entrant into the market two decades ago, Bosun had to scale its operations to compete effectively and approached the IDC for funding. With this funding the business was able to purchase its own premises and mechanise operations to ensure consistent quality and output.

“I had previously spent three and a half years at the IDC and knew that they would be the right people to partner with as lenders,” says company chief executive David Wertheim Aymes.

“They are willing to take risks with beginners like me. Banks weren’t willing to do that, unfortunately.”

In the company’s 20-year history, it has supplied brick and paving to prestigious construction projects such as the bus rapid transport system in Soweto, the Coega Harbour in Port Elizabeth and the Rhodesfield Gautrain Station near Kempton Park.

“Our typical clients are large and small paving contractors, civil construction companies and the general public,” says Wertheim Aymes. Despite its long history, Bosun was not immune to the effects of the global economic crisis, nor to domestic factors that placed the business under considerable strain five years ago. “

We had the introduction of the National Credit Act that stopped the residential housing market in its tracks, followed by the political uncertainty after the ANC’s elective conference in Polokwane,” he says.

The construction industry declined by a staggering 60% in the wake of these two factors, requiring Bosun to turn to the IDC once again.

“It was a challenge, but the IDC assisted us greatly during this period by restructuring our debt and providing mezzanine finance,” says Wertheim Aymes.

“We have managed to hold several hundred people in their jobs during this very tough period and we’re about to employ around 20 new people.”

This is not to say that it’s a bed of roses going forward; Wertheim Aymes bemoans the lack of industry and SABS standards.

“It’s a real pity that inferior products are being used for national infrastructure projects because quality control is not vigorously applied everywhere. This is a massive waste of taxpayers’s money.”

To counter this, Bosun intends bolstering its position in the market by expanding rapidly and growing its human resource capacity.

“It’s only through people that we’d be able to deliver quality products to the market in a simple and ethical way,” says Wertheim Aymes.

Although this article has been made possible by the Mail & Guardian’s advertisers, content and photographs were sourced independently by the M&G supplements editorial team. It forms part of a larger supplement.

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