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BASF has been active on the African continent for close to 90 years. Just last year, the chemical giant celebrated 50 years of its operations in South Africa. In 2018, BASF is set to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its premium paint brand Glasurit, since its launch in South Africa in 1978.

As the business continues to make its mark in the South African market, a substantial capital outlay has been set aside to expand the Bloemfontein site as the current premises were becoming inadequate to service the province that lies in the heart of South Africa. “We are quite excited with the expansion we are embarking on in the Free State this year,” said Paul Mandersloot, managing director of BASF Coatings Services; distributor of BASF’s paint brands in Southern Africa. “This venture will see us optimise our branch operations in the province and add to that, the reorganisation of our team in Bloemfontein and across the country has ensured we have the best people in the business to keep the engine running,” emphasised Mandersloot.

BASF reorganised its market area focus on the African continent in 2016 with the leading business functions sitting in South Africa. “South Africa remains the largest operations base for BASF in Africa,” noted Benoit Fricard, Country Cluster head for BASF Southern Africa. Commenting on BASF Coatings Services, Fricard described the automotive refinish business as an important anchor to BASF in South Africa. “Coatings Services accounts for a fifth of our employees out of the numerous BASF businesses in Southern Africa. The brands are well recognised in the market and we have a good market share in the refinish industry,” he added.

BASF Coatings Services was awarded the Overall Service Excellence Paint Supplier during the renowned SAMBRA industry awards in 2016. A testament of the business’ operational excellence and customer centricity. “We take pride in what we do and value the partnerships we have with our customers and continuously seek innovative ways to add value to their businesses to show our commitment,” said Mandersloot.

“What works for us is we have quite some freedom from head office in Germany to run our business the way we see fit in this market. We also take advantage of the inter-regional exchanges we have with our business counterparts and share best practises,” he added.

The business invested heavily in a hi-tech training centre two years ago; known as the Refinish Competence Centre in Midrand, to make sure BASF Coatings Services is always the best in the South African refinish industry. The hub is now synonymous with state-of-the-art training facilities in the country. 2017 will see the refinish company actively drive the commercial vehicle paint line, Glasurit 68 Line, a paint system for trucks, buses, tippers, trailers and cranes.

BASF Coatings Services plays an essential role to the EMEA region, stated René Lang, vice-president sales of BASF Automotive Refinish Solution EMEA. “Firstly, the market share we have in South Africa in between our premium brands is probably one of the highest that we have in all of our countries in EMEA. This is quite exemplary and shows that we have been very successful with our two distribution models, and we will continue to do so,” said Lang.

BASF remains the number one chemical supplier to the automotive industry globally and has high expectations on becoming a key supplier to the local automotive industry.