Mozambiques-lifting-and-handling-specialists-Remi-GUIGUE-Foselev

We aim to develop new services in areas including industrial maintenance and structural steel construction.

Rémi GUIGUE General Manager, Mozambique FOSELEV

Mozambique’s lifting and handling specialists

May 30, 2024

Rémi Guigue, general manager of FOSELEV in Mozambique, talks to The Energy Year about expanding the company’s portfolio of services to capitalise on emerging opportunities in Mozambique’s mining and construction sectors. FOSELEV is a French industrial services company with international operations in the construction, maritime and energy sectors.

What are the current market conditions for Mozambican contracting companies?
Mozambique’s business activity relies heavily on industrial and extraction projects. Companies flourish when projects are in progress, but face difficulties when there’s a hiatus. Simply waiting for opportunities to appear is not a solution; in our industry, survival hinges on adaptability and awareness. We need to constantly monitor where projects are happening and be prepared to move our services to those locations.
We’re currently experiencing significant growth because we’ve secured several contracts and are heavily invested in building a new combined gas plant and electrification network in Temane. It’s a massive, USD 850-million undertaking that necessitates deploying almost all our resources.

How has FOSELEV structured its operations to capture business?
We have been present in Mozambique since 2015 as a logistics, maintenance and contracting company, and we’re currently expanding our maintenance and construction offer to provide our clients with truly integrated support.
Our initial plan in 2015 was to acquire a company and its existing client base, but, unfortunately, the deal fell through. Undeterred, we changed direction and, with just myself and some equipment, we built the business from the ground up. Building recognition took time and dedication, but within four or five years, we established ourselves as a reputable company and today we are one of the most recognised companies in Mozambique offering lifting and handling equipment and trucks.

 

What are the company’s plans for the future?
We’re committed to growing our core activities but also recognise the value of diversification. We aim to develop new services in areas including industrial maintenance and structural steel construction, as well as the associated logistics, which will allow us to provide a more comprehensive offer to our clients. Adding in our contracting services, we will be able to design and build full or partial facilities, from the initial study phases through to completion.
Our services will go beyond new construction, however. We will leverage our existing workshops to offer maintenance support, including equipment checks, consolidating the presence we have already gained in the maintenance market through some clients.
We will implement our strategy in a phased manner. Setting a target of 30% of turnover from maintenance activities within the next two years would be too ambitious. Instead, we’ll focus on a gradual shift by targeting existing factories, such as cement plants and breweries.
We’ll pursue partnerships and focus on turnkey solutions. Collaborating with established factory manufacturers and participating in prefabrication projects will be key. Our goal is to provide clients with comprehensive services that address all their needs, particularly for smaller-scale projects.

In 2022, FOSELEV opened an office in Temane, where a power station is under development. What was the strategy behind the decision and how is it going so far?
Launching in Temane was a calculated risk. We didn’t have clients or orders, and our strategy was to position ourselves to capture the right opportunities. It paid off when a major project commenced. The president even officiated the ground-breaking ceremony. Our early presence allowed us to secure business from large civil construction clients, and we became the go-to source whenever the project required equipment such as cranes. We quickly established ourselves as a key service provider.
During the period leading up to the launch of the project, however, business was slow and it was challenging. But once the project began, everything shifted and we redeployed our resources to meet demand from Temane. This is an illustration of our approach: be ready, seek out projects and adapt to capitalise on opportunities.

How does a company go about developing a skilled workforce that can operate heavy machinery?
Investing in Mozambican talent was one of our priorities from the beginning. Leveraging our experience as France’s second-largest lifting company, we initially dispatched Portuguese-speaking instructors to work alongside our crane operators. Over a year-long training programme, we equipped them with skills to operate mobile cranes effectively. Once they became proficient, we identified promising candidates within the team and provided them with additional training to become crane operators themselves. This approach fostered a culture of continuous learning and advancement within the company that we maintain today.
We complement our internal training with certifications from third-party companies. These companies provide regular theoretical and practical lessons, ensuring that our operators’ skills remain current. It is through ongoing professional development that we guarantee the quality and safety of our operations.

What are the company’s current mining operations?
We’ve been involved in the gem mine in Cabo Delgado, constructing a washing plant and related facilities. Currently, our work is limited to surface-level mining operations, but we recognise there is potential business for us in deeper mining activities and we are positioning ourselves to penetrate that market. We want to establish a dedicated presence with personnel and equipment in strategic locations close to the mining sites.
Success in mining relies heavily on raw material prices, which recently experienced severe fluctuations across many African mines. In contrast to the gas sector, where prices are relatively stable and offer a reasonably predictable outlook for investment, the mining sector is volatile and challenging to navigate.

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