The strengthened presence of WEG in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through its strategic alliance with Panaco, its Value-Added Reseller (VAR), has proven to be highly successful.
Thierry Kakese, WEG’s Regional Manager – Central Africa, attributes this success to the alignment of business models between the two companies. “As a major player, WEG has long been dedicated to establishing and nurturing a robust VAR partner network in the Central African region, ensuring sustainable growth and expanding our installed base of products and solutions,” he says.
Panaco was appointed as WEG’s VAR in the DRC four years ago, and plays a vital role in the region. The company was one of the first electrical subcontractors operating in that country and today with more than 40 years’ experience, Panaco possesses the experience and capability to meet the escalating demand for WEG motors, drives and other products in the country.
The company’s reputation and established operations in the key mining centres of Lubumbashi and Kolwezi ensure efficient stockholding allowing easy access to WEG products. This significantly reduces lead times for complete motors and drives, as well as spare parts in case of breakdowns.
Apart from the mining sector, Panaco and WEG also serve other industries such as power and water utilities as well as cement. Kakese emphasises that partnering with Panaco facilitates essential market feedback, enabling WEG to make informed decisions and maintain its position as a leading provider of electrical products and solutions.
Recognising the significance of the DRC and the Copperbelt region, WEG’s team, in collaboration with Panaco, regularly visits end user operations to closely comprehend specific challenges and requirements.
Financial Operations Director at Panaco, Khalid Patel shares that to support the growing installed base and increased demand in the DRC, Panaco and WEG will establish a support centre in the Katanga province. This facility will conduct technical assessments, offer local maintenance and repair services for Low Voltage drives, and enhance overall support for our customers.
“The enduring success of the WEG and Panaco partnership stems from our shared technical expertise,” Patel says. “Ongoing support is provided via the South African-based WEG operation which is bolstered through comprehensive training for our sales and technical teams.” Training sessions take place both in the DRC and at the WEG drives training centre in Johannesburg, enabling Panaco to deliver excellent customer service.
Kakese highlights an increasing demand for motor and drive combinations in the DRC and neighbouring regions. “This demand is not merely due to WEG’s extended warranty but primarily because of the superior performance and compatibility offered by correctly matched motor and drive combinations,” he explains. “End users who have embraced this trend experience improved reliability and better performance.”
“Furthermore, the energy saving benefits of WEG’s IE3 and IE4 motors have made them highly sought after, as major miners strive to reduce energy consumption and reduced operating costs.”
WEG transformers have also gained popularity in the region, with them being locally manufactured in South Africa with capacities of up to 40 MVA. Kakese highlights the logistical advantages of sourcing such equipment from South Africa instead of from overseas. The close collaboration between the support teams in South Africa and Panaco ensures that transformers are precisely specified to meet technical application requirements, guaranteeing reliability and optimal performance.
Recognising the increasing power demand in the DRC, particularly in the mining and other sectors, Panaco has decided to augment its product offering by also stocking generator sets. “Initially, the market is expected to favour standard WEG gensets, manufactured in South Africa with convenient logistics. However, this expansion also opens doors to supply custom-engineered gensets tailored to specific applications,” Patel says.
“This strategic partnership in the DRC has yielded remarkable results, and we look forward to significantly increasing the installed base of WEG products as well as expanding the level of sale and aftermarket support we offer to our customer base,” Patel says. “The shared business vision, technical expertise and commitment to customer satisfaction have paved the way for sustainable growth and the provision of premium products that enhance reliability, performance, and cost-effectiveness for end users in the region.”