Consulting engineering, project management and implementation firms Hatch and GOBA, are pleased to announce their intention to merge the two businesses in South Africa. The proposed new entity will form part of the global Hatch group and will be a multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral engineering consultancy. The transaction is subject to approval by the Competition Commission of South Africa.

GOBA executive chairman Trueman Goba, who will be the chairman of the proposed new entity, says that for years GOBA has had a vision to expand its already strong South African skills base into the global arena, and has partnered with global engineering companies on certain large projects in the past.

“Part of this vision is to diversify GOBA into other sectors so that on every occasion we may offer to our clients maximum value on a much wider range of services than our well-established public sector infrastructure services,” explains Goba.

Similarly, Hatch managing director Rory Kirk says that the merger between Hatch and GOBA will result in a unique combination of the skills of both companies. This will enable the proposed new entity to offer both Hatch and GOBA’s existing and future clients a more comprehensive approach to delivering projects, using world-class practices and processes which will ensure that clients achieve their objectives.

Hatch already has a significant presence in the mining and metals sector in South Africa, which it has grown over the past 20 years. In accordance with Hatch’s global strategy to operate in the three market sectors of mining and metals, energy and infrastructure, Hatch commenced a process in 2006 to build its capacity in the fields of energy and infrastructure in Africa.

“In the infrastructure sector, Hatch has over the past six years built significant capabilities in the field of industrial infrastructure – specifically in rail, marine terminals and infrastructure services. Hatch’s vision for the infrastructure sector in Africa is to now expand its offering to encompass all aspects contributing to economic growth and quality of life, while remaining a responsible corporate citizen with strong empowerment credentials,” explains Kirk.

GOBA has already established an outstanding reputation for delivery of infrastructure in four primary fields of expertise in transportation, which includes major roads, highways and airports; structures and bridges; water and wastewater; as well as mining and industrial infrastructure.

Goba and Kirk agree that, after considering various options to advance their individual growth strategies, the most natural choice was for GOBA and Hatch to start discussions around integrating their businesses, as there are synergies at a regional level in Africa as well as expansion of the range of services offered by the proposed new entity.

“GOBA has worked with Hatch on a number of projects over the past six years and the two companies have developed an extremely strong relationship with a good cultural ‘fit’”, explains Goba.

“The proposed merger of the two businesses will result in a multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral business with complementary skills sets, regional presence and an expanded client base. The merger will also enable the combined entity to provide a more comprehensive service to the mining and metals and energy sectors while ensuring that insight into world-class project management practices is combined with a deep level of understanding of the local environment to produce project excellence for both current private and public sector clients, as well as future clients,” concludes Kirk.

The proposed new entity will have a combined workforce of over 1500 personnel in South Africa and will continue to give priority to developmental programmes and career opportunities for its employees. In addition, ongoing investment in developing local staff will ensure that the specialist skills base in both engineering and large scale project delivery, which is greatly needed in South Africa, continues to grow.

The proposed new entity‘s targeted objective to obtain a minimum level 3 contributor status in terms of the current Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) codes will be driven by an active BBBEE strategy to ensure that it contributes positively to transformation within this sector and society as a whole.

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