SABBEX says industry is looking to transform
a) What was the overarching theme of this year’s conference?
There were two main themes to the conference. The first was the inaugural AGM of the SA Maritime Business Forum and the election of the new leadership with Mr Wiseman Mthetwa of EBH in Durban being elected the Chairperson of the SAMBF. The second focus was on investment opportunities in the maritime sector.
b) How did the maritime sector feature? Were many stakeholders present?
The maritime sector was the key focus area for the event and I estimate there were approximately 200 people present. A wide range of industry “investment ready” projects were presented to participants with a particular focus on investment opportunities for transformation. There were a wide range of sub-sectors represented, from oil terminals to offshore tug services to South African shipping services to recreational boating and related businesses.
c) Did you get the chance to present / interact with potential investors? (as SABBEX?)
SABBEX was given a chance to present and we understand there were some investors and banking institutions in the room.
d) During your engagements, what were the key concerns / questions raised by would-be investors / partners?
The majority of questions from the floor highlighted the interest people have in getting into the recreational boating sector. However, comments also highlighted some of the significant barriers faced by micro enterprises in getting access to business support services in order to take their business to the next level.
e) What was the main thrust of your presentation / engagements with delegates? Did you have a particular ‘take home’ message?
We presented over 10 different investment-ready opportunities for delegates to consider. These ranged from greenfield options, to share options, to buy outs, to small investment shareholdings to large ticket items. Our take home message was: “We are open for transforming the recreational marine manufacturing sector, please join hands and look at investing in businesses with growth potential and ROI – we are here to do this together.”
f) Did you engage with DTI and what was their view of the maritime sector, and of boatbuilding in particular?
Unfortunately the DTI were not in the room, but we know they are partners in supporting boat building and they have a number of projects in IPAP that aim to support marine manufacturing.
g) Overall would you say there was reason to be cautiously optimistic about the investment landscape? What were the main challenges identified ?
It is too early to say if the real investment interest is out there, but I can say there was very positive feedback from the event, where we focused on bankable opportunities.