“We are more than a construction company,” says Matthew Horwill, managing director of Stefanutti Stocks Civils KZN. “We are in the business that creates and delivers infrastructure. Infrastructure that brings about employment. Infrastructure that facilitates trade and business. Infrastructure that ensures safety, health and security – and ultimately, infrastructure that improves peoples lives.”
Stefanutti Stocks, one of South Africa’s premier construction groups,was formed in 2008 through a merger between two South African construction greats – Stefanutti & Bressan (S&B), founded in KwaZulu-Natal in 1971 and the building company Stocks Limited originally, founded in 1948.
In the early years, S&B mainly operated as a civil contractor specialising in bridges. However, during the decades that followed the company would eventually, through increasing its capabilities, expanding its geographic footprint and via acquisitions and mergers, grow to become a multidisciplinary construction group operating throughout sub-Saharan Africa.This growth was fuelled by immense passion and enthusiasm for the industry, a commitment to quality and service delivery as well as a quest to forge relationships and maintain its hard-earned reputation.
Today the group’s construction capabilities include building, civil engineering, electrical and instrumentation, geotechnical, marine, mechanical and piping, mining services, oil and gas, pipelines as well as roads and earthworks.
Its business units (Building, Structures, Mechanical and Electrical, and Roads, Pipelines and Mining Services) undertake projects for both public and private clients across all industries including building construction and mass housing; heavy industrial; marine; mining; oil and gas; telecommunications; transport nodes and road infrastructure; large dams, water transfer and waste-water schemes.
In KwaZulu-Natal specifically, the group’s operations include a building division (Stefanutti Stocks Building KZN) and a civils division (Stefanutti Stocks Civils KZN). In addition to collaborating with one another on projects, the two also partner with other Stefanutti Stocks divisions as well as the group’s cross-border companies to offer clients full-service packages on projects, where required.
Stefanutti Stocks Civils KZN’s core business consists of heavy concrete construction, in particular with regard to transport infrastructure (road, rail, port, airport); heavy industrial infrastructure; water and waste water infrastructure; as well as plant infrastructure (including large storage structures) for the sugar and paper industries. The division is currently undertaking numerous water infrastructure-related projects for a range of local and provincial municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and more recently in the Western Cape. It is also undertaking bridge construction as well as heavy industrial and road infrastructure construction projects for clients such as Sanral and Transnet.
Stefanutti Stocks Building KZN is a specialist in the construction of retail, commercial and leisure facilities as well as high-rise residential and industrial buildings. The division has won numerous Master Builders Association (MBA) quality awards as well as a number of national and regional safety awards for projects in which it has been involved. Recently completed projects include the Watercrest Mall and the Bluff Shopping Centre Phase 2, as well as industrial building projects for clients Mr Price, Value Logistics, Nestle and Sumitomo.
Stefanutti Stocks’ resilience and pioneering spirit translates into an ability to leverage its wealth of industry experience in response to the existing operating climate. Currently, with South Africa and the rest of the continent facing challenges on many fronts, the group’s strategy is t reinvigorate the way it does business. This centres on providing unique and practical solutions to its clients and injecting positive energy into everything it approaches. “In this environment it is easy to overcomplicate the business case and so, simplistically, we are about being relevant, responsive, convenient, reliable and accountable to our stakeholders,” says Horwill.
Historically, the group has played a significant role in the development and construction of infrastructure in South Africa and its neighbouring countries.
Its proven expertise and wealth of experience, combined with the multidisciplinary nature of the group, allow it to adapt to whatever the overriding requirements in the market place are. “Currently Africa faces tremendous challenges with regard to the delivery of basic services, particularly where energy and water are concerned,” says Horwill. “Both as a group and as a local KZN business, we are working hard, particularly in these two areas, to fast track project delivery, while at the same time mitigating risk and improving the return on investment for our clients.”
One of the group’s core values is that it remains people-focused, and underlying this value is a determination to build and maintain relationships – be they within the workplace with employees, or on and off-site with stakeholders, clients and subcontractors. “As a regional office based in KZN, we will continue to partner with the public and private sector to facilitate our growth,” says Horwill. “The intention is to establish new, long-lasting relationships in the process, while nurturing the existing ones. On the inwards-facing front, our intention is to offer our employees exponential growth by creating as many opportunities for them to experience and participate in challenging and exciting projects.”
The Stefanutti Stocks group’s enterprise development programme sees the group developing high potential businesses within a sustainable model that offers benefits to both parties and enables participation at strategic level. “Our strategic partners are chosen based on selection criteria that include the right mindset, a desire for growth, commitment to the long run, a passion for construction and a high work ethic. In order to forge a close relationship that will support true growth and development, our partners also need to share our business approach and our values,” explains Horwill.
In addition to financial support (in terms of loans, preferential procurement and/or construction guarantees), mentorship and skills development, the group’s four strategic partners are invited into the inner fold of the business where they participate in divisional and business unit forums and management meetings in order to expose them to the full spectrum of an established construction group’s operations.
Stefanutti Stocks’ primary aim is to provide a sustainable workflow by partnering with its strategic partners in joint ventures. Small to medium sized (SME) construction enterprise, Oro Projects is a strategic enterprise development partner to Stefanutti
Stocks Civils KZN, and the relationship has grown from strength to strength. Since first working for Stefanutti Stocks Civils KZN as an earthworks subcontractor on the Lower Thukela Bulk Water Supply Scheme, the two companies, in joint venture, have successfully been awarded a further three water industry projects.
A further goal of the enterprise development programme is to grow strategic partners to become fully-fledged construction companies with the capability to take on projects on their own – and Oro Projects has already begun creating a client and project base of its own. “The support from and the relationship we enjoy with Stefanutti Stocks is any SME contractor’s dream,” says Mutshutshu Nxumalo, chief executive officer of Oro Projects. “We fully appreciate the learning curve we are on and are confident that this is sustainable and will continue to pay off in the long run – for Stefanutti Stocks, for ourselves and for South Africa.”
In a highly competitive and tightly contested market it is tough to be profitable, however for Stefanutti Stocks this is business as usual. “We are determined to rise to the challenges facing the industry and are optimistic that Stefanutti Stocks’ success will continue to be driven by our reputation as a solution-based contractor, our ability to anticipate and adapt to market demands and through the strong partnerships we are forging,” concludes Horwill.