Dr Mehran Zarrebini, chief executive of PFE International, the family- owned British investment company that acquired what was then Van Dyck Carpets in 2004, said that the consolidation was still subject to Competition Board approval. However, in a challenging market where carpet manufacturers had to contend not only with rocketing input costs, an unreliable electrical supply and shrinking disposable income for home improvements, but also competition from other flooring solutions, it made sense for the two companies to consolidate.
Although specific details of the restructuring are not yet available, both Zarrebini and Nouwens Carpets chairman, Oscar Grobler, said that this would impact some of the 400-plus employees at the two manufacturing plants in KwaZulu-Natal.
Nouwens, launched in 1962, employs close to 200 people while PFE International has about 600 employees across the group in South Africa and 205 within its carpeting division.
The multibrand strategy that the combined companies intend continuing to apply going forward will allow each of them to retain their own independent brands, products, and sales and marketing teams.
Zarrebini and Van Dyck Floors, whose longer-term vision encompasses sustainability rather than short-term profit, has weathered two economic recessions - the global meltdown in 2008 and the current difficulties that manifested in 2017.
“Due to the economic turmoil in the construction and manufacturing industries over the past few years and added economic pressures, a fresh approach to doing business is needed,” said Grobler. “At Nouwens, we believe this consolidation with Van Dyck Floors will be a game-changer, not only for our respective businesses but also for our customers and the industry as a whole. We feel that it will add value to both of our customer bases and enable both companies to leverage each other’s strengths.”
Zarrrebini said the consolidation of Van Dyck Floors and Nouwens Carpets would also enhance the impact of future investment. “This will ensure that efficiencies are gained from both manufacturing operations and will enhance our ability to innovate.”