One of the South African trucking industry’s most recognisable names, the TFM Group, has consolidated the various business entities of the original group, as well as a few other strategic businesses, into one controlling entity.
TFM was established in 1966 by the Modlin family to specialise in truck customisation, maintenance and repair and then entered the armoured vehicle production industry in the late 1970’s. It is well known for its products such as the Casper, Nyala, Scout and RG31 military and riot control vehicles, which were used by the United Nations and NATO as well as the SA Security Forces. In 1998, the company was split into three separate MBO groupings following management buyouts. This split has been now been reversed with a total of 10 entities being merged into one company with a central management board. However, each business division/subsidiary will still continue to operate with a large amount of independence.
The new board took control on July 1, 2011 and has Johan van der Merwe (currently MD of TFM Industries (Pty) Ltd) and Brian Harmse (currently MD of Fabkomp (Pty) Ltd) as joint executive chairmen and Mike Tomsett as the new company Group CEO.The companies being merged are: TFM Industries (Olifantsfontein), TFM Wynberg Manufacturing (Johannesburg), Fabkomp (King William’s Town), TFM Manufacturing (East London), TFM Conversions (East London), TFM Cargo Bodies (Olifantsfontein), Signs for You (Midrand) and the Ranger Production Company (King William’s Town). In addition to the merger of the original group, Transtech Cape and Hydracare Natal, currently agents of TFM and leading suppliers of Waste & Environmental equipment, have joined the group.
With Mike Tomsett joining the new grouping, his well known signage company, Signs for You, forms part of the merger which has extended the new organisation’s offering to customers.”We believe this development of unifyingthe TFM brand under one controlling entity will be welcomed by our customers as it widens our product and service offering and will facilitate national servicing and warranty back-up. It will also make us more competitive in the marketplace,’ explains Tomsett. He adds that the consolidation will offer significant benefits and savings in terms of economies of scale and synergies in the areas of marketing, purchasing and distribution, as well as administration.
Tomsett says they do not foresee any retrenchments of staff at this early stage. “To the contrary, with a workforce of over 1 400 dedicated people, we feel the consolidated business will be in a better position to expand its operations, including further growth in its export business,’ he says. The various companies now grouped together specialise in the import, manufacture, supply and support of specialist truck bodies primarily for the transport, construction, forestry, waste and environmental, as well as cargo body transport industries.
They also manufacture ambulances, armoured vehicles, including cash-intransit vehicles, components for the automotive and engineering industries, fuel tanks, trailers of all sizes as well as carrying out alterations to truck chassis and the supply and fitment of hydraulic kits. The product range even extends to motorcycle and sidecar ambulance combinations for use in remote rural areas in Africa under the eRanger name.
An exciting extension of its product offerings are Road Rail Vehicles (RRV) which TFM recently introduced with GALT Systems (Pty) Ltd. Over the years, TFM companies have forged important international alliances with world-leaders, such as HEIL (USA), Faun (Germany), Meiller (Germany), Doppstadt (Germany), Schwing Stetter (Germany), Theam (France), Marrel (France), PZB (Italy), Cargo Van (Germany) Marathon (USA) and Southfields (England) which puts it in a strong position to support the local market. TFM will now have a national footprint with operational facilities strategically placed throughout South Africa, offering experienced and effective sales, service, and manufacturing teams nationwide. With the equity involvement of the Disability Empowerment Concerns Trust in the controlling company, this restructuring will also improve the company’s BBBEE status.
FleetWatch has one comment to make around all this. Why did it take TFM so long to do this logical move? It makes enormous sense and even we used to get confused when phoning TFM and wondering which company we would get on the other end of the line.