SOUTH AFRICA – ELB Group, a South African holding company with investments in capital equipment and engineering services, has sold its instrumentation and electrical firm B&W Instrumentation and Electrical to Matatrim for a nominal R1.

The transaction comes five years after ELB bought the business, which it says will enable B&W to raise external funding.

According to EBL, this will also enable B&W to build its client base and to focus on growing revenue “given that B&W’s capacity has mostly been absorbed by ELB group operations in the past while part of the ELB Group”.

According to a report by Business Day, EBL said the provisional loss attributable to B&W was US$10.61 million (R152m), while the provisional negative net asset value attributable to the construction firm was US$2.72 million (R39m).

As an instrumentation and electrical firm, B&M services the mining, oil and gas, chemical, industrial and utilities, power generation, transmission and distribution and renewable energy sectors across sub-Saharan Africa.

It also provides specialist earthing and lightening protection services and electrification systems for mobile equipment.

ELB, which has been listed on the JSE since 1951, acquired B&W in May 2014 after issuing 1.96-million shares as consideration for the acquisition of B&W.

At the time of acquisition, ELB said the transaction was in line with ELB’s strategic direction as it would complete its existing business, which was formed in 1973, would complement its existing businesses.

When it joined ELB, B&W had what ELB said was a “sound” order book – of which at the end of August 2013 B&W’s order book was US$28million (R401m).

Following the transaction with EBL, B&W delisted from AltX after seven years of listing- since June 2007.

ELB said in April it was seeking additional funding from lenders as it battled cash-flow problems stemming from a loss-making contract. 

In the six months to December ELB reported a loss of US$18.92 million (R271m), compared to the US$3.63 million (R52m) profit in the prior corresponding period.

Losses suffered in the Gamsberg Zinc project in the Northern Cape affected the company’s performance in the six months of which ELB’s subsidiary ELB Engineering Services is involved in.