In October 2003, Gerald Fox (56), a prominent Johannesburg businessman, was fatally shot in Cleveland when a gang of thirteen robbers entered his premises and held up staff. Gerald Fox was not only a stalwart in the road running community, but he also left behind a significant family business.

G. Fox & Co, founded in the early 60s, was run by Cecil Fox and his son Gerald. Under Gerald Fox, the company grew into one of South Africa’s largest suppliers and manufacturers of rags, selling various products to corporations, industrial re¬sellers, individuals and retailers. Their product line included rags, industrial protective clothing, paper products, chemical and cleaning products.

G. Fox and Co had a strong market presence, but was left without a successor upon Gerald Fox’s sudden demise. Bravura was mandated by the retiring CFO, David Rubenstein, to sell the business.

Bravura successfully sold the business to Bid Industrial, a subsidiary of Bidvest, an international investment holding company listed on the JSE. At the end of 2004, only thirteen months after Gerald’s passing, the Competition Commission approved the sale to Bidvest as a large merger.

G. Fox and Co is still a material business within Bidserv, the Services Division of Bidvest. Under Bidvest, G. Fox & Co was merged with Commercial Sundries, a large distributor of paper products throughout South Africa. As a result, G Fox became a dominant player with branches in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Polokwane.

During 2011, G. Fox & Co acquired two more businesses, Alsafe and Multimerja, both of whom were leaders in their respective areas and product lines. The incorporation of these businesses into the group, has cemented G. Fox & Co as South Africa’s largest supplier of PPE, cleaning chemicals, paper and industrial consumable products.

G. Fox & Co operates in the markets of supplying cleaning, laundry, hygiene, security, staff facilitation services as well as janitorial products and industrial workwear. It operates through several divisions such as Steiner Hygiene (washroom hygiene) and the Prestige Group (cleaning and specialised services).

The business that Gerald Fox left behind so suddenly has flourished from its humble beginnings in a house in Kensington, Johannesburg, into a significant and reliable partner in the South African industrial supply chain. The business now includes a network of eight fully stocked branches with over 2 000 staff members manufacturing workwear and 11 500 active customers. In 2018, G. Fox & Co’s revenue was in excess of R750 million. Despite the sad circumstances, Bravura is proud to have played a part in ensuring sustainability for G. Fox and its employees.

Categories: Corporate Finance, News, Transactions

Published: 15 May 2019