By Eamonn Ryan
With his strong background in accounting, and having worked for United Technologies Corporation as sales and marketing director, looking after Chubb Fire and Security, Otis and Carrier and in his most recent role of vice president sub-Sahara Africa at Assa Abloy, he has a wealth
of experience both regionally and in the building sector.
In December 2016, ACO acquired the 30-year-old brand Rofo, which specialises in the designing and manufacturing of quality stainless steel drainage systems, stainless steel fabrication and machining. “The strategy behind this merger was to combine world expertise with local knowledge, and we have seen significant growth since,” says Chatburn.
His appointment heralds a shift in strategy by the company in a number of areas: to work closer with wholesalers; to raise the company’s visibility; and to grow the African component of its business. ACO has opened up offices in Kenya and Nigeria in the past 12 months, as well as appointed various distributors and agents in various African countries.
“In the past, the company sold predominantly to the end user, now a bigger focus is on specifications and aligning with the natural flow of the industry whereby the plumber buys from the wholesaler, and will find our products there. Our interest is in creating sustainable drainage solutions and consequently we want to be involved in the design phase of projects via our relationships with architects and wet services engineers. “We have increased our sales force in order to expand our brand visibility and get closer to customers, and have more show rooms
where we can bring architects and engineers for education tours of our offerings. Since the merger, we have the full range of solutions. These include an outside storm water management system which collects water and releases it slowly into the environment, providing solutions for various applications such as airports, harbours and sports fields to name a few. We have equally appropriate drainage for inside buildings,” says Chatburn.
ACO has also recently turned its eye to the rest of sub-Sahara Africa, he says, where the biggest problems is the stealing of manhole covers and the health risk associated with open channels. “We have a solution in our ‘composite manhole covers’ made of materials less prone to theft. This is starting to take off in Africa, and Africa is where we see strong growth coming from. The continent is rapidly urbanising, creating the need for our products, especially in the hygienic food drainage solutions segment.
He also sees an opportunity for growth in another of its products: grease traps. “Regulation is starting to become a factor in driving
the market in sub-Saharan Africa, and we propose to involve ourselves with assisting governments in the formulation of regulations as they relate to hygiene. In many African countries the sewage still simply flows into the streets or rivers, but it is increasingly becoming top of mind as an environmental and health risk to the population. The tremendous growth in the African population has not been matched by the investment into sewage and drainage infrastructure, and this affects the health of the continent both as to the spread of malaria and the fact that grease and waste disposal into the public sewage systems is the most common cause of blockages. These areas are bound to
become a greater focus on the continent,” explains Chatburn.
To assist the plumber and customers, ACO is increasingly offering ‘drainage assessments’ to potential clients keen to improve their
hygiene and drainage solutions before it becomes a problem or affects the hygiene of a food or beverage producer.
ACO Systems South Africa is launching the latest addition to our locally manufactured Shower Drainage range.
The ShowerDrain M+ linear range is available in standard lenghts of 500mm, 700mm and 900mm, with a variety of grate profiles to choose from. We are in the process of finalising the design of the 250mm shower channel, and this line will be available to the market at the of September 2020.
For more information on this range, and other upcoming product develpoment information, contact us on 011 824 3525 or email us on email@example.com.