Interview with Rynier van der Watt (Managing Director of Parsec Holdings)

Parsec Holdings (Pty) Ltd is an investment holding company within the technology sector which currently owns shares in two companies, namely Parsec (Pty) Ltd and Redline Telecommunications SA. The Parsec Holdings is constantly on the lookout for new businesses that can form part of the Parsec Group.

Rynier van der Watt, Managing Director of Parsec Holdings, shared his view on certain aspects of Parsec Holdings and the two subsidiary companies.

How did Parsec come about and how has the company developed since then?

Originally founded by a group of Engineers in the mid-90s, Parsec started out as an Engineering Consulting business. With time, the company surpassed its competition by adding Manufacturing, CAD Design and Electronic Component Distribution services to its portfolio. At some point, Parsec formalised these services into more of a business structure where the various services were distributed in different businesses. In the early 2000s, the component business was sold and Parsec started to focus more on what we define as the “Start to Finish Solution” – the total solution for electronic design and manufacturing. During 2008, we decided to take a fresh look at the business and enhance our strategy to include further growth through acquisition, with the view of adding new businesses to the group – this is how Redline was acquired in October 2008.

How do Parsec (Pty) Ltd and Redline Telecommunications SA differ?

While Parsec (Pty) Ltd focuses on the design and manufacturing of technologically advanced electronic products in both the Defence and Telecommunication industries, Redline specialises in providing wireless network solutions and currently has deployment in 30 countries.

What makes Parsec unique in its offering?

If you look at the rest of the world, China is known for low cost manufacturing, North America and Germany for their high technology development, while South Africa’s niche is in high technology manufacturing. Furthermore, we have a very strong engineering base in South Africa, respectable universities and our labour costs compared to Europe and North America are lower, giving us the ability to use this effectively when manufacturing high tech products. As for Parsec, we’ve been in business since the mid-90s, and have had enough time to build up a large library of designs, design experience and knowledge. Not only is this a key advantage in new technology development but results in less risk when compared to using companies that are starting from scratch.

What was the highlight(s) of 2012?

There were two – winning the Best Company to Work for in the Manufacturing sector and launching Parsec Properties aimed at acquiring our own building.

Are there any special plans, operations or projects in store for 2013?

Our focus will be on Parsec Properties to the level where we start designing a building which will hopefully be completed by the 1st quarter of 2014. The plan is to see advanced growth within both subsidiaries and at least one acquisition if the right opportunity comes along.

As Managing Director of Parsec Holdings, what is your vision for the company going forward?

The vision is to build a portfolio of businesses within Parsec Holdings which have some measure of diversity in how the businesses operate, as well as synergy in the way these businesses collaborate with one another.