Alstom in South Africa 


Alstom in South Africa

A century of development

Alstom has been present in South Africa for more than a century. Throughout these years, and under various names and through different entities, the company has provided a wide range of products and technologies, playing a major part in developing the country’s infrastructure. Not only did Alstom provide equipment for 12 of South Africa’s 13 coal-fired power plants and for the only nuclear power plant, but it has also played a historical role in supplying technologies for passenger trains and locomotives, many of which are still in use.

Today Alstom is focused entirely on transport activities and is committed to being part of the revitalization of the rail and transport sector through its South African Join Venture companies, Gibela and Alstom Ubunye.

  • Gibela: Created for the PRASA (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) contract. Awarded in 2013 to the Alstom-led joint-venture Gibela, this contract is for the delivery of 600 X’Trapolis Mega passenger trains and 19 years of maintenance, technical support and parts supply. The project also includes the creation of a new site at Dunnottar (Ekurhuleni), where Gibela’s South African employees will be trained and will produce the trains. Gibela will thereby contribute to regenerating the country’s rail industry with an objective of 65% local content and the creation of several thousands of jobs along the supply chain.
  • Alstom Ubunye: In April 2016 Alstom acquired a 51% share in South African rail company CTLE (Commuter Transport & Locomotive Engineering) and renamed the company: Alstom Ubunye (An IsiZulu word meaning “Unity"). CTLE was formerly known as Union Carriage & Wagon (UCW) which was established in 1964, providing rail vehicles for the South African Railways and executing export orders for several Asian & Southern African countries. Through the formation of Alstom Ubunye, Alstom continues to be a South African key player with local partners, creating a stronger industrial and commercial base with the purpose to offer a complete portfolio including infrastructure, signaling, trains and components, as well as services to better address Southern Africa’s railway transport needs. 

 

Key data on the PRASA project awarded to Gibela: 

  • 600 Alstom X’Trapolis Mega passenger trains (3,600 coaches) ordered
  • 65% of components sourced locally
  • 19 years of maintenance, technical support and spare parts to be provided for the coaches
  • 1bn rand: Gibela investment in the local manufacturing & training facility
  • 1,500 direct jobs created in the new Dunottar factory  
  • 19,000 people to be trained by Gibela over 10 years

Key data on Alstom Ubunye: 

  • African rail company formed in April 2016, with a history going back to 1957
  • Located in Nigel, Ekurhuleni  (East of Johannesburg)• 500 employees
  • Fully compliant with Black Economic Empowerment principles. 
  • 80,000m2 manufacturing facility 
  • Large range of activities

Managing Director’s Message

Welcome to Alstom in South Africa

Alstom has a long history in South Africa. From its original set-up in Cape Town at the beginning of the twentieth century to its current headquarters for the Southern African Region in Johannesburg, Alstom prides itself on a history of technological excellence and a commitment to local economic and social progress.

Today in South Africa, Alstom - especially through its joint venture Gibela, of which the company holds 61% - is an active and valuable participant in South Africa’s endeavours in creating employment and developing skills. 

Localization is a business imperative and a key driver of our global strategy. In South Africa, for example, 65% of the content required for the 600 trains of the PRASA project is procured from local suppliers. Additionally, we strive to develop long-term relationships with local companies, supporting them with training in our design, standards and specifications.

For Alstom, investment in skills development is an investment in South Africa’s future. Through its former energy business, Alstom has already trained over 800 South African artisans, engineers and managers. Now through the PRASA project Alstom/Gibela will train about 19,000 people in technical railway subjects over the next 10 years.

Alstom is present in over 60 countries throughout the world and has an unrivalled technical expertise in all domains of railway transport. Today we can leverage global expertise in localization, job creation and enrichment of the local supply chain. And we can deliver projects safely and efficiently.

Moreover, Alstom has developed a full range of innovative and competitive products and services that can provide a leading edge response to the challenges of urban transport, which are especially daunting in African cities. Alstom guarantees safe and seamless journeys to passengers using its products.

We are proud to bring all this to South Africa and to be a part of the development of South Africa’s sustainable rail transportation.

Yvan Eriau
Southern Africa Managing Director

Key people

  • Yvan Eriau, Southern Africa Managing Director & CEO of Alstom Ubunye
  • Matthias Handschin, PRASA Customer Director

December 5th 2013

Contract awarded by Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) to the Alstom-led joint-venture Gibela – to supply 600 X’Trapolis Mega passenger trains (3,600 coaches) over 10 years. It also includes the construction of a local manufacturing facility, technical support and spares supply over an 18-year period.

July 30th 2014

Gibela, the South African rail transport company in which Alstom has a 61% holding, officially presented in Johannesburg.

December 19th 2014

 

Alstom Shareholders Meeting authorises the sale of Alstom Energy businesses to General Electric.

November 2nd  2015

Alstom finalises the sales of its energy activities and is entirely focused on Transport.

November 2015

Alstom purchase agreement for 51% share in SA rail company Commuter Transport & Locomotive Engineering (CTLE), previously Union Carriage and Wagon (UCW).

April 2016

Alstom completes the acquisition of 51% share in South African rail company CTLE (Commuter Transport & Locomotive Engineering), specialized in the modernisation of trains, from CTE (Commuter Transport Engineering) and IDC (Industrial Development Corporation) which remain shareholders.

The company will henceforth be known as Alstom Ubunye (Ubunye is a Zulu word for Unity).

April 2016

Alstom completes the acquisition of 51% share in South African rail company CTLE (Commuter Transport & Locomotive Engineering), specialized in the modernisation of trains, from CTE[1] and IDC[2] which remain shareholders[3]

The company will henceforth be known as Alstom Ubunye. (Ubunye is a Zulu word for Unity)



[1] Commuter Transport Engineering

[2] Industrial Development Corporation

[3] An employee benefit scheme will also be created

Alstom South Africa previously consisted of two major divisions: Alstom Power (acquired by GE South Africa in November 2015) and Alstom Transport.

During the history of Alstom Power in South Africa, the company built capacity in the country; through various commitments related to its energy projects which consisted of:

  • A partnership with WITS University in Johannesburg to promote excellence in engineering. 
  • Bursaries for students in mechanical, electrical and urban engineering.
  • Investment in the construction of the WITS engineering faculty building and establishment of the Alstom Chair in Clean Energy Systems Technology.
  • R8 million invested in the South African Nuclear Energy Council Training Centre.
  • Training of more than 650 artisans and 176 professionals, including engineers.

Alstom Southern Africa – now focused on Transport only- will continue to strengthen its commitments to South Africa through its local joint-ventures Gibela and Alstom Ubunye.

History

Alstom has been present in South Africa for more than a century, contributing significantly to the development of the country’s power infrastructure. Today, having sold its energy assets, Alstom is focused exclusively on transport. 

Alstom has long been a technology supplier to South African railways, providing locomotives and passenger trains which are still in use today. 

Companies subsequently acquired by Alstom have delivered to South Africa:

  • Class 19D steam-locomotives.
  • Class 1E electric locomotives, ordered in 1925, at the time the largest single type locomotive order placed anywhere in the world.
  • The first EMU (Class 1 M) trains.
  • Class 2M EMU trains.
  • Traction propulsion and control systems and general overhaul.

In 2013 PRASA (the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) awarded a contract to Gibela – an Alstom-led joint-venture – to supply 600 passenger trains. The project also includes the creation of a new site at Dunnottar (Ekurhuleni), where Gibela’s South African employees will be trained and will produce the trains. Gibela will thereby contribute to regenerating the country’s rail industry with an objective of 65% local content.

Alstom is dedicated to ensuring that the country develops in ways that protect the environment and promote economic growth and social progress.