Brikor’s suspension lifted – bucking the trend – increased demand
for bricks


Wednesday, 29 July 2020: Brikor Limited (BIK), listed on the JSE, is a manufacturer and supplier of building and construction materials which also mines clay and coal. It was placed into provisional liquidation on 30 July 2013 and the trading of its shares on the JSE was suspended the next day. However, the company persevered and came out of provisional liquidation in October 2015. Shareholders were advised last week that the JSE has approved the lifting of Brikor’s suspension.

“More good news for Brikor is the demand for bricks we have been experiencing,” says Garnett Parkin, CEO of Brikor. The company closed for level 5 lockdown until the end of April 2020, with no production or sales.

“We generated limited sales in May from essential services customers. At the end of May we had sufficient stock to deliver our current order book and the phased return to full production enabled us to deliver on additional orders.”

Parkin says as soon as Brikor started up again at lockdown level 3, its bricks started flying out the door. “We are doing exceptionally well. Now we do not have enough stock of bricks. If we could buy another brick factory tomorrow, we would,” he says.

It also helped that Brikor adapted to online and customers can order bricks via the website or telephonically.

During lockdown, various initiatives were implemented to preserve liquidity, such as reduced variable overhead costs and limited spending only on critical fixed costs. This enabled Brikor to honour loan and other commitments, Parkin explains.

In April, Brikor began operating at reduced capacity and a small number of employees returned to work, while it could operate at 50% from 1 May. The company followed a phased-in approach to start up production on 1 June, returning to full planned production at the beginning of July.

Group subsidiary Ilangabi Investments 12 (Pty) Ltd continued with coal mining operations in Nigel during lockdown, as coal mining is considered an essential service in the electricity supply chain.

According to Parkin, Brikor uses resources from the National Department of Health (DoH), National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH), and National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) to improve and expand its protocols to ensure the wellbeing of employees and stakeholders during Covid-19.

“We phased in our people with a disaster management team that includes a full-time doctor and nurses on site. We also ensure that our Covid-19 contact-tracing process is done properly.”

Brikor is now seeking prospects and opportunities to expand its local footprint.