22 May 2007
UK-based Rolls-Royce has taken up a 15% stake in South African alloy manufacturer Avalloy, while partnering with the company to open the first superalloy plant in the country and the first to be built globally in the last 15 years.
Superalloys are used in applications in aviation, automotive engineering, oil drilling, the medical industry and a host of other high-technology industries.
According to Business Report, the plant – at the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa industrial site at Pelindaba in North West Province – will use locally mined nickel, cobalt and chrome to produce up to 3 000 tons of superalloys a year, with the potential for further expansion.
Speaking at the official opening of the facility on Monday, Avalloy chairman Julian Williams said: “The message from us today is that the government’s beneficiation initiatives make good business sense and that local beneficiation can be an attractive investment.”
Rolls-Royce director of international affairs Ralph Murphy said in a statement that the group was delighted to be sharing in the vision of the new facility, as well as to be able to demonstrate its continued support for industrial participation in the country.
Murphy told Business Report that Rolls-Royce would buy about 20% of the superalloys it used in its aircraft engine production from Avalloy. The group will work with Avalloy to ensure that its products meet international standards, as well as help the company find new customers.
Avalloy chief executive Gerry Robbertze told Business Report he was upbeat on the outlook for the company, given a superalloys market characterised by excess demand which is expected to grow steadily over the next few years.
“We are confident that we can expand our role in this dynamic market by offering our customers the highest quality southern African products,” Robbertze said.