HPE Africa – Building Opportunities


High Power Equipment (HPE) Africa is the sole distributor of earthmoving equipment for the Korean manufacturing giant Hyundai in Southern Africa. As such it is a key link in the logistics chain of many Southern African mining, construction and engineering projects. EBM spoke to managing director Alex Ackron to find out more.

 HPE Africa was founded in 2000 as a subsidiary of Invicta Holdings, and remains a proud partner of Hyundai in Africa. The company is a dynamic market player, able to solve a variety of customer problems and provide full support in terms of parts, logistics and maintenance. Its head office is in Jet Park in Gauteng, with branches in Durban, East London and the Western Cape, and the company supplies businesses across South Africa and beyond.

The company has maintained its position through a number of carefully maintained selling points, notably the extreme reliability and durability of many of the machines they sell. Hyundai equipment like the HL780-9S wheel loader is built to high standards and designed to last.

Tough reputation

One machine of this type in use by Vanalls Plant Hire at a Witbank smelting plant has already clocked more than 6,000 hours breaking up and transporting silica manganese, with no major maintenance issues and a long expected service life ahead of it, despite heat, rough terrain and the corrosive nature of the material it’s being tasked to break up.

Other selling points of the company include the wide range of quality spare parts, easily accessible support, maintenance and repair services, its adaptable finance options, as well as inclusion as standard of higher-tech components like the Hi-Mate telematics system on all loaders and excavators.

HPE Africa also offers engineering services, modifying, repairing and even manufacturing buckets and applying dipper extensions, line-boring and other engineering tasks as support for every machine sold. It also operates a thriving sale and resale business, selling certified used equipment.

Pockets of opportunity

However, the most important asset to the company is its people. In the words of Ackron, “I believe that the success of our company lies in our agility and our appetite to take calculated risks, as well as our dedicated team delivering superior service and our quality products”.

It’s no secret that the mining and construction businesses in South Africa are both somewhat vulnerable to the whims of a difficult and fractious economy. HPE Africa has seen more than a few challenging times in recent years, but Ackron remains upbeat.

“The economic conditions in South Africa have posed some challenges within the sectors that we serve. Some mines have closed down completely and a lot of construction projects have been put on hold due to the uncertainty caused by the economic and political instability. The drought has also affected the agricultural sector negatively. Our industry is under a lot of pressure, but there are definitely pockets of opportunity that exist.”

100% of HPE Africa’s share capital was recently purchased by the investment and management company Invicta Holdings, itself a subsidiary of the Capital Equipment Group of Humulani investments. The acquisition will (in the words of the CEG’s CEO Tony Sinclair) “enable Invicta to broaden its product offering to the plant hire, construction, quarrying and mining industries in South Africa and into Africa.

“The transaction has been approved by the Competition Commission. HPE Africa, the Hyundai earthmoving and construction equipment and spare parts agency for South Africa and surrounding countries, will form part of Invicta’s CEG and will continue to trade as HPE Africa, operating as a separate entity from Invicta’s other related equipment operations.”

Pursuing partnerships

For HPE Africa, this deal grants security in the uncertain South African mining and construction sectors, and the freedom to continue operating as a vital part of South Africa’s supply chain. The company is also pursuing other partnerships, including a closer relationship with South Africa’s Primum Engineering, an engineering company that provides solutions to clients across the construction, agriculture, minerals handling and mining industries.

If successful, this partnership will help Primum Engineering and HPE Africa deliver a much wider range of services to their clients and allow them to expand their customer base into new and more specialised sectors. They will also be adding McCloskey brand screens and crushers to their product range in 2018, alongside Hyundai, Soosan and other manufacturers.

Expansion is also planned in the energy and power sector, both in the construction wing and in terms of selling complete packaged power plant solutions. This is one of the key pockets of opportunity identified by the company, which sees the continued struggles of Eskom and the South African government as well as the rapidly increasing energy demand across Southern Africa as an indication that the region is going to see a lot of power plant construction in the near future.