Operational overview

CBI- electric


  CBI-electric: Aberdare ATC Telecom Cables
  (Telecom Cables)


Reduced spending and a delay in orders impacted Telecom Cables financial performance in the first half of the year. Power disruptions at our Brits manufacturing facility further impacted production. The average number of outages per month increased from 3,5 times the previous year to six in this financial year.

In the first six months, orders declined markedly, but fortunately, rebounded in the second half of the year. These factors resulted in a marginal decline in annual revenue and profits. Our domestic market share of approximately 60% was maintained despite a constrained market. The threat of cheap imports, particularly from China, continued to exert pressure during the year.

Product mix %     2011  
Optic fibre     18     26   20  
Accessories & duct     4     4   3  
Installations & services     1     1   0  
Copper telecoms     77     69   77  

Sales of copper telecommunication cables for the year increased almost 13%, with fibre sales declining by approximately a third. Copper sales were driven by strong demand from Telkom SA Limited.

Telecom Cables remains well positioned to service all major telecommunications providers in South Africa including Telkom, Neotel and the mobile network operators, as well as IT infrastructure providers, mines, local authorities, Eskom and the petrochemical industry. We have also supplied cable to the National Long Haul Project being undertaken by Vodacom, MTN, Neotel and the South African National Roads Agency, and we are targeting new customers who are entering the market for fibre.

The business’ prospects are further buoyed by the growing demand for broadband capacity, which is expected to make fibre to the home (FTTH) a reality in South Africa in the future.

Telecom Cables has the expertise and capacity to lead the market in supplying the anticipated rise in demand for FTTH, as well as micro duct and micro cable systems.

Our training academy at the Brits factory offers our customers’ technicians intensive two-week courses which are held every month and attended by an average of ten technicians per month. We have received export orders from several African states as well as the Arabian Gulf.

  Selwyn Newnes (54) 
  • Chief executive: CBI-electric: Aberdare ATC telecom cables
  • BCompt
  • Appointed to the group in 1984 

Primary brands, products and services Designs, manufactures and supplies both copper and optical fibre cables. In addition, turnkey services are provided. These include fibre ducting, splicing, training and installation.  
Operational areas Manufacturing facility in Brits, Northwest Province. Products are sold in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.  

Market sectors Fixed and mobile service providers, petrochemical, industrial and mining industries.

Major customers include Telkom, MTN, Neotel, Transnet and Eskom, mines and municipalities.  
Standards & verifications ISO 9001: 2008; UL listing, EC (European cable verification certification for data cable), Foundation Fieldbus  
Intellectual property rights Infraduct, Fibreworx  
Current BBBEE level 6  
2012 target 4  

We have received export orders from several African states as well as the Arabian Gulf.

The Brits plant recycled 19,3% of water consumed in 2011. Specialists are contracted to verify our water recycling and our water systems on a monthly basis. A closed-loop system results in no water discharge. Approved, accredited suppliers dispose of our hazardous and non-hazardous waste.

Having reduced costs sharply in recent years and with our continued investment in capacity, Telecom Cables is well positioned for any upturn in demand, particularly for fibre. A major risk, not only to Telecom Cables but also to the entire industry, is the possibility that existing duties are reduced and that suppliers from the East dump cable into the South African market. Here the company supports representations being made by its industry association to government urging the maintenance of the status quo. We are hopeful that the recently announced local procurement targets will have a positive impact on the industry.