End of year note from the Founder’s desk

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines a special kind of high growth enterprise as The Gazelle – “All enterprises up to 5 years old with average annualised growth greater than 20% per annum, over a three year period, should be considered as gazelles.”

The definition of the Gazelle expressly excludes growth through acquisition, and these enterprises are viewed as playing a significant role in the economy as they increase the productive output of countries whilst at the same time contributing to creating employment.

As we are about to close off our fifth year, I am elated that we have not only evaded the start-up curse of the 90% failure rate, we clocked a 139% five-year CAGR in revenue with a corresponding growth in EBITDA and number of employees. We have by far exceeded any definition of a high growth enterprise and we achieved this without any public sector business. This is an incredible result, especially in the context of COVID19 and the subsequent national economic slowdown.

When the pandemic hit our shores, our response was to adapt our strategy, use our significant knowledge of polymer processing and enter the medical product industry. Our entry was not based on old “me-too” ideas; we innovated hard and created new products based on pioneering new designs. These innovations helped solidify our position as a meaningful player in the medical industry both locally in South Africa and also internationally on the continent and Europe.

The HDPE pipe industry was also hit by unprecedented price upsurges caused by global factors, including aggressive oil prices and an international shipping crisis. We had to act in time and adopt new strategies to make our HDPE piping business much more robust to better withstand external shocks.

What a year this has been; we have experienced the full spectrum of emotions from significant highs down to the heartbreak of the loss of a much loved and valued team member to COVID19.

With so much uncertainty, it is impossible to predict what the future may hold for us, and it is for that reason that we need to celebrate our wins along the way.

I have a fantastic team of people working with me, supported by a “never say die”, talented EXCO in Kgomotso Maphai and Farai Chamisa. Our goal is a simple one, and we will be the biggest and highest quality manufacturer of plastic products in the developing world.

It was indeed a great honour for my executive team and me to recognise the contributions of our entire team in our annual factory awards ceremony recently held at our production facilities in Germiston.

I’d like to sincerely thank my customers without whom none of our achievements are possible.

Keep up the winning ways Team BT Industrial!

Kgomotso Lekola – Founder and Group Managing Director

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