Johannesburg: Indian chemical companies have an opportunity to acquire South African firms which are struggling due to the current global economic downturn, an industry expert said.
"South Africa has long been the leader in chemical production for the continent, but producers are currently facing poor domestic demand and a volatile exchange rate that hampers exports, which has led to a decline in output since 2013," Debajit Shome, Director of multinational Union Colours said.
Shome was addressing a networking meeting organised by the Indian Consulate-General here for a delegation of 61 members of the Basic Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics Export Promotion Council (Chemexcil), who are spending two days in the city marketing their products to South African companies, to meet with local leaders in the sector.
Shome said a number of South African industrial houses were struggling to succeed and hence looking to sell equity, creating an opportunity for Indian companies to pursue acquisition.
"South Africa is considered to be first world as far as agro-chemical technology is concerned. The chemicals that they use in the agro-chemical sector is much ahead of even the European countries," Shome added.
Chemexcil Chairman Dr B R Gaikwad urged members of his organisation to heed this call and the offer of further assistance from the Consul-General if they wished to pursue. Gaikwad said the South African interaction had been the first of its kind in the exhibitions undertaken by Chemexcil in many countries abroad.
"Many of our exhibitors have very good products, but they need some distributors or some type of agents here who can help them to grow their business."
Highlighting the 'Make in India' campaign as one which is intended to produce in India for consumers across the globe, Gaikwad also urged South African manufacturers to use the opportunity of growing their businesses by partnering with India.
"Certainly they can have access to the growing Indian market, plus they can service the entire globe from there.
"We are not here only to sell our products. We also invite collaboration with India, especially since we understand that South African companies are having challenges in succession planning, while India has ample supply of the technical skills needed," Gaikwad added.
Consul-General Randhir Jaiswal emphasised to the exhibitors that although they had good quality products of world class standards, the marketing and packaging of these products was just as important if they wanted to make inroads in the South African market.