Following the end of its long-term dealership agreement with JCB in 2021, Kemach has adopted a multi-brand strategy that has seen the company entering into distributorship agreements with several premium equipment manufacturers. 

“We felt that by being linked to a single brand we were limited to a certain extent. There are several sectors of the South African economy in which we couldn’t participate. Previously, we were pretty much limited to the construction sector, and missed out on opportunities in the materials handling, mining and quarrying sectors, among others,” explains Les Lothian, CEO of Kemach Equipment.

Business realignment

The business realignment strategy was put in motion in March 2020 when, in partnership with Anhui HELI, Kemach introduced its Kemach Forklift range, giving the company a footprint into the lucrative materials handling market. 

“The forklift business has performed beyond our expectations, especially given that we launched right before the COVID-19 outbreak in South Africa. We have already sold over 300 units, with some leading blue-chip companies among some of our first customers,” says Les.

This was followed by a distributorship agreement with McCloskey International in October 2020, which gave Kemach the footprint in the mining, aggregates, construction and demolition, as well as recycling and infrastructure markets. 

Kemach has already recorded remarkable success with the McCloskey offering, averaging a machine a month since taking over. The machine population is evenly spread across quarrying, mining and recycling applications. 

In July 2021, Kemach took over the distributorship of the full range of Bull backhoe loaders in South Africa, Lesotho and Eswatini. Leveraging an existing wide backhoe loader customer base, Les is adamant that Kemach will be a player of substance in the backhoe loader market in South Africa, which sells about 1 200 to 1 300 units a year. 

“We believe that with the addition of the Bull product, we have the ultimate earthmoving solution across all industries,” he adds. “This is a robust product built on the right fundamentals. We will complement it with good support and an industry-first 3 year/4 000-hour wet drivetrain warranty as standard.”

The Bull deal was followed by yet another strategic distributorship agreement with Bomag GmbH in August 2021, allowing Kemach to market and support the full range of Bomag’s heavy and light machines in South Africa, Lesotho and Eswatini. 

“Bomag is a huge win for us. It fits perfectly well with where the economy is going. Government has announced a massive infrastructure development programme and we are positioned to play a critical role in that,” says Les. “Bomag is also a big name in landfill construction, and has had huge success in that market in the last couple of years with the previous dealer.  Given South Africa’s waste problem, we believe we will play a significant role in this segment.”

In August 2021, Kemach Equipment signed a distributorship agreement to sell and support the full range of Liebherr earthmoving equipment in South Africa. The range includes excavators (20 – 100t), wheel loaders (10,4 – 25t), bulldozers (20 – 73t) and a line of telehandlers.

On the construction side of things, Les says Liebherr offers a strong offering in the 20 – 30t excavator segment, which constitutes about 60% of the excavator market in South Africa. The larger excavator range, together with the extensive wheel loader offering, also allows the company to compete at the larger end of the scale, complementing the McCloskey offering in the crushing and screening space. Les is also excited about the prospect of having a dozer range in the Kemach stable for the first time.

To complement its range of Bull and Liebherr tool carriers, Kemach has added the Torpedo range of hammers to its stable, effective September 2021. The range was previously distributed locally by Maximum Equipment, which remains a sub-dealer for Kemach in South Africa.  

Five pillars

Les reiterates that Kemach is building its business around five different pillars – Kemach Forklifts (materials handling), McCloskey (crushing & screening), Bull backhoe loaders (construction), Bomag (infrastructure development) and Liebherr, which gives the company a footprint in not only construction, but also the logistics handling of mining materials. All of these segments leverage each other, giving the business the much-needed balance required to succeed.

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