Southern Palace’s vision for M&R infrastructure unit
The newly black-owned construction company conceived from a R314-million sale agreement between engineering and construction group Murray & Roberts (M&R) and black-empowered Southern Palace Group aims to build on its 115-year heritage to become a “leading, Tier 1, infrastructure player in South Africa and in sub-Saharan Africa” by tapping into key opportunities on the continent.
Firefly Investments represents the consortium that is acquiring the 115-year-old Murray & Roberts Infrastructure & Buildings’ new businesses, which is led by the Southern Palace Group of Companies.
“Murray & Roberts Infrastructure & Buildings (MRIB) will provide an aggressive nimbleness to not only Southern Palace’s portfolio but also the new developments and infrastructure services sector,” enthuses Southern Palace Group of Companies CEO Lucas Tseki.
He suggests that MRIB, which will be rebranded in due course to represent its new ownership and portfolio, can create significant opportunity to play a consequential role in the public-sector spend that is planned for the further expansion of South Africa.
Tseki highlights that the construction infrastructure spend by the private and public sectors has been increasing, particularly public-sector spend over the past five years.
The company’s Africa-specific strategy includes its focus on being a prospective, but significant, participant in the development of infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa.
“The DBSA, in this year alone, is spending more than R12-billion in funding infrastructure programmes outside South Africa. This [spend] should be followed by [the services of] a South African infrastructure services company,” Tseki says.
MRIB Platform CEO Jerome Govender, who will lead the new construction group, agrees, noting that, as a Southern Africa business, the company aims to consolidate and grow its local position and footprint to use as a platform from which to launch its Africa strategy.
With MRIB achieving 100% black- ownership transformation through a full-price acquisition, Govender and Tseki argue that the transaction “is not some quasi-partial deal that may happen in the future for a small percentage”.
The new entity is expected to have an immediate order book of about R6-billion, and employ about 4 000 people.