American rail firm expands in SA

7 August 2008

American industrial company Wabtec Corporation is expanding its presence in South Africa by establishing joint ventures to manufacture, supply and service its products in the region.

The Wilmerding, Pennsylvania-based Wabtec Corporation is a global provider of value-added, technology-based products and services for the rail industry, manufacturing a range of products for locomotives, freight cars and passenger transit vehicles through its subsidiaries.

It also builds new switcher and commuter locomotives and provides aftermarket services, and has been operating in African markets for several years.

“By establishing a local presence in South Africa, we are making a commitment to expand our production and service capabilities in this growing market,” Wabtec chief executive Albert Neupaver said in a statement this week.

The company has created Wabtec South Africa and FIP Brakes South Africa, both based in Kempton Park, to the east of Johannesburg, to boost its manufacturing presence in the region.

To ensure that the company’s local operations are compliant with broad-based black economic empowerment requirements, it has selected a local company, Sibanye Brakes, as the minority partner in both the new operations.

Wabtec South Africa will manufacture, assemble and service Wabtec products in the region, including locomotive and freight car braking equipment, draft gears, transit equipment and electronics.

“The unit will also provide installation of Wabtec’s electronically controlled pneumatic braking equipment on locomotives and freight cars for Transnet Freight Rail, the state-owned railway in South Africa,” the company added.

FIP Brakes South Africa will manufacture friction products and provide customers with access to worldwide technological and research capabilities, through Wabtec’s other friction operations in the US, Europe, Australia and India.

“We believe customers will benefit from faster response time and direct access to all of Wabtec’s products and services,” Neupaver said.

SAinfo reporter

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