The demise of construction companies that have operated in SA for decades could pave the way for a new group of black-owned groups, experts say. These middle-tier companies, with order books of less than R1bn, could then play a large role in improving the country’s infrastructure for decades to come and partnerships among them could lead to new construction groups listing on the JSE, they believe. In the past two months, two of the country’s nine listed construction companies — Basil Read and Esor — have entered business rescue, raising concerns about the balance sheet strength of remaining companies to take on large infrastructure projects. Business rescue is designed to help struggling companies restructure their debt and other affairs. "We need a viable construction industry in the country. A number of large construction groups which have been institutions in SA have shrunk and are under pressure. They are competing among themselves for their share of what is a much smaller pie o...

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