Port Elizabeth firm gets a lifeline
From worker to shareholder – that is what the newly struck deal with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) will mean for 80 employees at Rhino Manufacturing.
In an effort to curb the closure of Rhino Plastics, the empowerment deal with the IDC saved about 188 jobs, and the business began trading as Rhino Manufacturing in November 2018.
Under the new business structure, the 80 Nelson Mandela Bay-based employees, who each support, on average, five dependants, own a collective 10% stake in Rhino Manufacturing – now a subsidiary of the Rhino Group.
The company recycles plastic waste that is converted into pellets, which in turn are melted down and used to manufacture new plastic products.
Rhino Manufacturing also manufactures film for the construction and agricultural sector, irrigation piping for the farming sector, high-density polymer pressure pipes, and industrial packaging.
Rhino Manufacturing executive director Siyabulela Mandla will come on board with a 41% shareholding as part of the business restructure.
“Thanks to the new deal, we are now geared to expand the company’s footprint and look into new opportunities in the public sector and into Africa.
“We are also looking at diversifying our product range to include products such as plastic droppers and poles, plastic garden furniture and fibre optic sleeves, as well as recycling plastic for manufacturing purposes,” Mandla said.
The restructuring deal, had seen Rhino Manufacturing become a B-BBEE Level 2 company, he said.
“It will allow us to expand our market share and give us the ammunition to attract new business and contracts in a more compliant way,” he said.
The IDC regional manager for the Eastern Cape western region, Kingsley Dell-Robertson, said the parastatal stepped in because it saw great potential.
He said the new company was formed with a focus on manufacturing and growing products and markets, especially into the rest of Africa.
The initiative had saved and created 188 job opportunities.
“Rhino Manufacturing [then named Rhino Plastics] faced closure of its manufacturing arm due to challenging macroeconomic conditions and rising input costs.
“The IDC saw the potential that this business can sustain itself if given finance and time with the positive outcome of a skills transfer to a [majority black shareholder],” he said.
Mzwamadoda Doyi, a Rhino Manufacturing truck driver who has been with the group for 15 years, said the deal meant a lot to him and the other employees.
“The company’s prospects are looking much better thanks to the deal with the IDC.
“There are also better opportunities for the business, which in turn will lead to better profits for the company, which we as employees now get to share in,” Doyi said.
Forklift driver Chrisman Rono, who has been with the company for 13 years, said having a stake in the employees’ trust was a new experience.
“It makes me feel empowered, but it is also motivating, as I know that I now hold a stake in the company’s profits.”
The remaining shares will be held by Rhino Plastics – another subsidiary of the Rhino Group.
Its managing director, Brian van Niekerk, said the deal was important for the firm’s future.
“It’s important that I am able to pass on as much as I can and support the growth of the company into the future.”