New owners for JC Impellers

After initially concluding a B-BBEE economic empowerment investment, partners agree to acquire 100% shareholding of jobbing foundry.

JC Impellers has announced that the company has now been purchased in full by its B-BBEE partner Gabadela Investment Corporation, a Witbank-based holding company that already owns Witbank Foundry. JC Impellers, based in Wadeville, Gauteng, was established in 2001 and has been owned and run by Greg Smith since 2006.

“We were initially seeking a partnership with Gabadela Investment Corporation and we successfully established this relationship in October 2019,” said outgoing owner Smith.

“The synergies between the two entities and the ambition of my new partners were soon apparent. As a direct result of this newly formed partnership, the Directors of Gabadela Investment Corporation negotiated with me to acquire the remaining shares of JC Impellers, thus becoming 100% shareholders, something that I felt very comfortable with as it was a business transaction that is a win-win situation for both parties,” continued Smith.

Gabadela Investment Corporation Director responsible for the operational aspects of the four companies that now form Gabadela Investment Corporation, Monwabisi Gladman Mkwai, emphasized that he and his two fellow Directors were actively looking for a solution to expanding their manufacturing ambitions.

Willie de Beer, Brandon Younger, Monwabisi Gladman Mkwai and Greg Smith

Mkwai takes up the story: “We purchased Witbank Foundry in 2017 but we soon found that the foundry had limited options in terms of the equipment within the foundry and the location of the business.”

“My partners and I are from the Witbank area and I have had 23 years of experience in managerial positions with Eskom, mainly working at the power stations – Kendal and Majuba in the Mpumalanga Province and Matimba in Limpopo Province – and prior to that Amcoal. The experience I gained in the power and coal industry was an influencing factor in deciding to become a supplier to these industries and hence our purchase of Witbank Foundry,” explained Mkwai.

“However, although we had started to make inroads with the manufacture of castings such as liners and wear plates, we realized that we were in the business of supplying spares and not something substantial to industry in general. We were also a bit hamstrung with the equipment that we had in the foundry. Old technology such as the cupola furnace.”

“If we were going to broaden our horizons, as we so desired, we would have to invest in new equipment such as an induction furnace, or acquire an existing foundry. Through one of our suppliers, we were introduced to Greg and JC Impellers. His business fitted our strategy and as it is located in the industrial area of Gauteng, this gives us more opportunities than being located in Witbank, especially in the foundry industry.”

“While forming a partnership with JC Impellers we were also establishing our machining and fabrication company – Gabadela Mgabadeli Engineering. Witbank Foundry had a machine shop and this equipment has formed the nucleus of the new company. The company is located in the Highveld Industrial Park and it does more than just machining and fabricating. The company also sources and supplies a number of consumable type products and spares for the companies that we deal with.”

“The location where Gabadela Mgabadeli Engineering is situated does not affect the business as much as it does for Witbank Foundry because it has a wider scope of engineering and manufacturing to operate in.”

“From originally only concentrating on impeller and pump castings, as the company name suggests, Greg has changed this emphasis of the foundry to one of being a jobbing foundry. To do this he had to change the mix of the materials that were being melted. Over and above the cast iron, SG iron, LG2 and PB1 metals that were solely being cast, the foundry now also offers steel, aluminum, stainless steel, manganese and chrome iron melting. To accomplish this JC Impellers invested in two furnaces – one being a 350 kilogram induction furnace and the other a 220 kilogram one. This also allowed the foundry to take its maximum size casting of 60 kilograms to 350 kilograms. This immediately opened up a whole new avenue of potential business.”

“This includes manufacturers in the power generation, railways, mining, pulp and paper, food manufacture, farming and general engineering industries. We now manufacture components such as cable joiners, bogey and hopper wheels, valves, scrapers, knuckles, hey needles, engine components, gearbox housings and even 25mm and 38mm grinding media balls for the mining industry.”

“Greg had also employed Willie de Beer, who has nearly 50 years of experience in the foundry industry, as his metallurgist and this helped to ensure that we get our air quality emissions license and implement ISO 9001:2015. Both of these initiatives have been approved and it is imminent that we get our license and accreditation. The next one we are aiming for is our SHEQ health and safety accreditation.”

“Willie is also very experienced in stainless steel castings and this is one metal that we will be pursuing more business for.”

“We have also been participating in an enterprise development loan agreement incentive that is offered by a major international company that has a big manufacturing operation in South Africa. The company designs, manufactures, supplies, and provides aftermarket support for fans, regenerative heat exchangers, compressors, blowers, furnaces and industrial combustion for diverse applications in mining and industry. They are constantly looking to purchase castings so we have now begun supplying them.”

“There are improvements that need to be made in the foundry and we will attend to these as soon as possible. If, for example, we get a new crane and install a roller system to move moulds and castings around we could enjoy a 30% increase in efficiencies. And if we add a new 500kg furnace our throughput could increase meaningfully.”

“My partners and I have a good understanding of power generation and coal mining industries and we will be knocking on those doors.”

“Going forward Greg will remain on as a consultant and help with the foundry operational aspects, as well as the marketing, and if we get the extra business that we are seeking we will have to look at a floor space expansion.”

For further details contact JC Impellers on TEL: 011 827 1913 or visit