Please give us a brief background on AJ Power and the company’s current operational footprint.
Having spent four decades travelling the world solving some of the most challenging critical power problems, five directors decided to put their wealth of experience to good use and start AJ Power in 2003. Sixteen years and 25,000 generators later the company is continuing to expand.
We are an innovative and dynamic mechanical and electrical engineering company focused on the design and supply of diesel-fuelled electric power generating sets from 10kVA to 3630kVA, 230V – 13.8KV.
We have grown organically over the past sixteen years. An international company, which is privately owned, we are exporting to over 85 countries worldwide with offices in England, Dubai and Australia as well as a subsidiary business in Sweden and South Africa. We currently employ 121 staff worldwide.
How would you rate the business potential for AJ Power in sub-Saharan Africa?
Sub-Saharan Africa provides a lot of potential for the AJ Power Group and its subsidiary FGW Generators. It is our belief that world growth is going to come from Africa and Asia over the next 20 years or so, which naturally necessitates certain power requirements.
When did AJ Power decide to expand its operations into sub-Saharan Africa and can you tell us a bit about the strategy?
AJ Power looked at the market in 2014/15. It was at this time we analysed the market and took the decision to invest in a base in South Africa.
The strategy was simple. South Africa is a solid market for power generation and it has a great deal of competency in its people, which provides a gateway into sub-Saharan Africa.
How did it come about that AJ Power decided to invest in the South African company FGW Generators?
AJ Power has known of the company for years as the directors of the business have been in the industry a long time. The opportunity presented itself and after doing some analysis, the company decided it would be a good strategic fit for the Group.
Was the company’s location also an important factor?
For sure, Cape Town is the first port of call for shipping lines into South Africa. Therefore our lead times from the UK are short. We are beside Cape Town airport, which provides a number of advantages from a logistics perspective.
We also occupy a fantastic, state of the art facility that enables us to do everything we need under one roof. We hold a lot of product across the power nodes – all the commonly used parts – and we also have a training room, so we can educate customers on our products. This is all geared towards providing speed of delivery to the customer.
“The strategy was simple. South Africa is a solid market for power generation and it has a great deal of competency in its people, which provides a gateway into sub-Saharan Africa.”
What has your experience been like in terms of investing in South Africa?
Overwhelmingly positive. The success of any business comes down to people. We employ great people and have very knowledgeable advisors. All of them are from South Africa. It also goes without saying that it is a wonderful place to come and visit.
Of course there are issues to be overcome, but if you look around the world, where are there not issues? It is how you deal with them and move forward that matters.
Please tell us about some of FGW Generators’ successfully completed projects/contracts?
In the 2018/19 financial year, we completed some technically challenging projects. The biggest by far was a data center in the Cape Town area.
Two AJ2500s, were successfully installed and commissioned in June 2019. The project included rigging the 13.5 tonne sets into the generator room, along with completing electrical connections, fuel connections and the exhaust installation. The job was completed in a short time from order placement, which was key as a data centre is only viable once it has installed back-up power. Uptime is critical, hence the need for back-up and most importantly reliable back-up.
We have also completed a number of jobs for large banks and businesses, both in the low and high voltage segments. The latter requires serious competency due to the risks involved with high voltage.
As the distributor for AJ Power in South Africa, does FGW Generators also distribute into the rest of Africa?
FGW Generators is the exclusive distributor of AJ Power generating sets in South Africa. It also supports other AJ Power distributors in the sub-Saharan region, due to its close proximity in terms of staff and product.