At a time when many organisations are suspending in their investments in South Africa, SEW Eurodrive is committing to spend around R400-million on a new head office and factory in Johannesburg.

The company today broke ground on the construction site that will house the new facility.

Raymond Obermeyer, MD of SEW Eurodrive South Africa, says the privately-owned company is investing R200-million in the new head office and factory, and will spend a further R200-million kitting it out with the latest in automated equipment.

“This is a major investment, and demonstrates the company’s faith in South Africa,” Obermeyer says.

SEW Eurodrive was founded in 1931 in Germany. It opened the South African office 1986 and today has four factories: in Johanneesburg, Cape Town, Nelspruit and Durban, with a warehousing operation in Port Elizabeth.

The South African operation is SEW Eurodrive’s springboard into Africa, where it has a presence in 23 countries.

“We anticipate major growth from Africa in the years to come,” says Obermeyer. “Within the next three to five years, we expect the African market to account for more than 50% of our turnover.”

He adds that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement will further open up opportunities in Africa.

“We were one of the first companies to embrace the concept of ‘think global, act local’, and customers can be assured that equipment assembled in South Africa is of exactly the same quality as anywhere else in the world.”

The company expects to complete construction by October 2021 and have moved across by January 2022.

The existing Johannesburg facility will be repurposed as a service centre.

SEW Eurodrive operates in 75 countries around the world, employing 17 000 people and serving 13 200 customers.