13.02.2018 15:14 Age: 5 days

Growing at home, courtesy of NamBrew

Namibia Plastics is constructing a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant at Brakwater that will close the gap of an estimated 50% of plastic currently imported from abroad.

The plant is expected to be complete before the end of this year.

CEO and co-founder of Namibia Plastics, Johan Struwig, attributes a significant part of the company’s success to Namibia Breweries Ltd (NBL).

After months of knocking on doors following his decision in 2010 to quit his full-time job as a director of a financial services company and with no success in winning local clients, NBL was the one company that decided to give Namibia Plastics a chance

“Initially, I started from a home-based office, making use of a spare room, one cellphone, and a laptop. We struggled for a few months with no orders. The average response in approaching potential clients was always ‘let us know when you have Namibian clients on board, then we will buy’. I told them that our suppliers have big customers in South Africa – hoping that this will rescue us and bring in Namibian clientele, but unfortunately it didn’t,” Struwig says.

Enters NBL

He eventually landed an appointment with NBL’s manager: strategic sourcing, Christin Obst.

“To my relief, NBL was willing to give me a chance despite the absence of any client references. However, Obst was very adamant and demanded a clear roadmap on our plans for a footprint in Namibia going forward. The support from NBL was thus on condition that we sign a contract in which we commit ourselves to produce plastic locally when we reach enough volumes,” Struwig says.

The company’s first order came in October 2011. It was from NBL, valued at N$77 247.23.

“This order from NBL opened further doors for us with other Namibian clients as we were now able to use Namibia Breweries as a reference. Some of our current clientele include NBL, Ohorongo Cement, Bokomo, Namib Poultry Industries, Namib Mills, Namib Foam, Coca-Cola, Etosha Fisheries and Seawork Fish Processors,” Struwig says.

‘Local is lekker’

Obst emphasises that supporting local continues to be a passionate element on the journey of NBL, and Ohlthaver & List Group in general.

“Before we look anywhere else, we will always have a close look at home first to see if the goods and services we need cannot be supplied by Namibian companies. And because not all the needed goods and services are readily available in Namibia yet, developing Namibian businesses is a journey that will reach full potential only when everything we need is supplied locally.

“However, until then, adding value locally should be a first option for each and every Namibian business – acquire what you can locally, this will support the growth of Business Namibia. Namibia Plastics, and Johan in particular, has proven himself as a dedicated man, not only to his and his company’s future, but also to the future well-being of our nation,” Obst says.

Struwig says in 2014 the company officially landed a position in the market, became bankable, started employing people and got an office in Prosperita, including a warehouse.

“Our good business reputation landed us a N$5-million loan from the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) which we used to open a branch in Walvis Bay. We started targeting fish, salt and sugar factories which assisted us to maintain an average growth percentage in excess of 100% over the last six years,” he says.