West African Group is busy integrating the activities of several its new ventures with the specific aim of enabling the new entities to gain advantage from its existing shared services platform.

West African Group (WAG) has been diversifying its activities over the past few years, with the intention of spreading both the concentration of activities and risk involved. Due to the scale of working capital involved, the group is utilizing existing skills and logistics abilities built up over the past three decades to boost the new ventures.

A patron member of the IOM3, WAG launched its Performance Chemicals business at the beginning of this year, through which it is supplying chemicals from several offshore principles into the coatings and adhesives industries in Southern Africa.

The recent additions to the WAG portfolio include:

  • CATTM lubricants from ExxonMobil group, which are supplied into the motor and engine sectors;
  • Dunnage bags and moisture absorbing desiccants from Base Cargo-Pak of Denmark and Absorbtech of Sweden respectively.

African Group Lubricants (AGL, a subsidiary of West African Group) was last year awarded the distributorship for the CATTM branded lubricants in Southern Africa.

The Absorb Products (a division of WAG) range include dunnage bags for containers as well as moisture absorbing desiccants for the safe and dry transportation of materials. This is quite literally a new venture for the WAG team, in the sense that raw material is not involved, but the moisture-absorbing properties and cargo securing abilities achieved by the bags offers safer transport and protects the integrity of the products, a key factor in the material supply chain.

New appointments have been made too with Ray Raath and Rob Macqueen having recently signed up, to handle sales of the Performance Chemicals and Absorb Products respectively.

At the same time, the group is also bedding down its BOPP Packaging Solutions business, through which it is supplying the rage of BOPP films from Taghleef Industries of Dubai. These specialized films are supplied into the packaging and display sectors. Duncan Brown was brought on board last year to manage this side of the business.

WAG has also enhanced its technology abilities, with the group employing polymer and rubber technologists as well as two chemical engineers, enabling it to offer back-up across the full range of materials it supplies. AGL is supplying into 14 countries in the Southern African market as well as the Indian Ocean islands. The expansion also necessitated a move to larger premises near King’s Park in Durban, where the group’s head office is now situated.