Denel’s participation at next month’s Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition comes against the austerity and prudent financial management currently in place at the State-owned defence and technology conglomerate.
This has seen the group turn to partnerships to enable it be part of the largest defence and aerospace exhibition in Africa. AAD this year will start on September 19 with three trade days followed by two open days with an air show at AFB Waterkloof in Centurion.
“Our presence at AAD 2018 should be seen as a confident step to turning the business around and rebuilding Denel and the confidence of the broader stakeholder environment following a difficult period of lapses in governance resulting in among others, reputational damage leading to liquidity challenges.
“Being at AAD indicates we are positive our business will turn around for the better soon,” Denel Group Acting CEO Mike Kgobe said.
“It’s commonly known Denel is currently faced with liquidity challenges so the decision to participate at AAD 2018 came after lengthy discussions with key stakeholders, including the local aerospace and defence industry and representative industry associations. Reducing the cost to a third of what it cost the company to participate at the last AAD and negotiating with the show organisers for terms are why we will now be at this premier trade show.
“As South Africa’s key provider in the aerospace and defence technology sector, it would have been inconceivable for Denel not to participate when major global players and decision makers from defence forces of other countries come to the show in South Africa.
“When we initially said we would be unable to participate this year, many in the industry expressed the view for Denel not to participate at an event that attracts industry leaders and defence decision-makers from across the globe, would be a slight against both South Africa and the local defence industry,” Kgobe said.
Minimising cost of participation to a third of what Denel spent at AAD in 2016 and successfully negotiating terms that recognise the current cash challenges in the company ensured Denel will join 450 exhibitors from 30 countries to market the company’s products and solutions to the global defence community.
“Our participation at this premier show that attracts key global players in the aerospace, defence and security industries is a positive step for Denel and demonstrates the confidence of the new board in the future of the company. This initiative to participate at AAD also ensures Denel continues to play its role in the local aerospace and defence industry as lead system integrator with support of the local industry. We experienced a period of difficulties, but the turnaround plan introduced by the board is starting to yield positive results. At least key stakeholders including banks and funders are now willing to meet with us now,” he said.
Kgobe sees AAD 2018 as an important platform to communicate achievements and plans going forward to the wider aerospace, defence and security sectors as well as the South African public.
“Our exhibition footprint this year will be reduced but we are determined to showcase the excellent quality and cutting edge technologies synonymous with the Denel brand in the different markets” he said.
Denel would not have been able to participate in AAD 2018 without the support from the organisers: the Department of Defence (DoD), Armscor, the SA Aerospace Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD) and the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA).