Shipping and supply-chain issues have led to a global shortage of a range of items and commodities. “The world is shopping around at the moment, and we have seen fairly substantial international interest in all of our products,” comments Pratley CEO Andrew Pratley, who was recently featured on CNN’s Marketplace Africa.

Exports showed significant growth for Pratley in 2021, with new distributors appointed in Europe and the Middle East. “Companies that can offer quality, innovative products at good ex-store service levels will benefit from the fallout of the pandemic.” In this regard, Pratley has a policy of maintaining a 95% ex-store service level, which has contributed to its success in 2021.

“We experienced a fairly good uptick in adhesive sales towards the end of 2020 that was sustained going into 2021. With many staying at home and working from home due to the lockdowns, a greater degree of attention has been given to DIY projects and repairs,” notes Andrew. Pratley continues to see strong growth from the automotive repair market, especially in the informal sector. “We work hard to build loyalty in this market, which has been using our products for many years. Customers trust the brand and believe in the reliability of our products. This sector will be one of our main marketing focus areas in 2022.”

It was an eventful 2021 for the company, which also commissioned Africa’s most advanced perlite filter aid facility and launched Percolite® perlite filter aid for the food, beverage, and chemical industries. On the electrical side, it launched a new range of flameproof cable glands that make use of Pratley’s Taper-Tech® flame-seal technology. “We believe that these glands are game-changers in the market,” says Andrew.

Pratley also completed the construction and commissioning of a new technologically-advanced adhesives packaging facility. This follows a marked increase in domestic and export sales and gives room for future growth capacity. “We certainly see sustained growth for 2022, especially from our export markets,” notes Andrew.

In addition, Pratley’s electrical division has some innovative products in the pipeline that it expects to launch in the first half of this year. One, in particular, will be a world-first, reveals Andrew. “We are also looking at some exciting new adhesive and mineral products to be launched later in the year. We like to think of ourselves as a research and development company, and it certainly lies at the heart of what we do.”

Well-known as a leading adhesive producer, Pratley’s electrical division is also a global leader in electrical termination equipment, particularly cable glands, junction boxes and related accessories for hazardous locations. “In keeping with our policy, the types of products that we produce tend to be unique and highly innovative, with features and benefits that out-perform others on the market. We invest a lot in research and development in this area, and have our own highly advanced in-house electrical testing laboratory and personnel,” explains Andrew.

Commenting on the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Andrew acknowledges that 2021 proved to be a tough time for most businesses. “Indeed, the difficult challenges that South African businesses face on a daily basis, especially from a regulatory point of view does not help, either. However, challenging times have proved to also be times of rapid innovation and opportunity.

“In many cases, we have managed to dramatically streamline processes and improve product formulations or designs. We also have our incredible employees, who have contributed to our strong growth in adverse times. We are fortunate to be in a relatively strong position going into 2022, and we plan on being around for a long time to come,” concludes Andrew.