In the midst of value destruction, dwindling order books, shoddy performance and a general atmosphere of despair, some construction companies are doing just fine. A common denominator is that, rather than sticking to pure construction, they diversified into sectors that offered new growth prospects. Afrimat is one of them. It has been in business for 45 years, and describes itself as an "open-pit mining company" that also provides all kinds of building materials, including bricks, cement and industrial minerals. It also contracts out services to the construction industry. The bottom line: during a decade when most other construction companies felt the pain of a meltdown, Afrimat’s share price rose 1,200%. Over five years it is up 140%. And it keeps diversifying. In October 2016, it got into the iron-ore sector when it made a bid for the Diro iron-ore mine (since rebranded as Demaneng) near Sishen in the Northern Cape. The mine was in business rescue at the time. Afrimat CEO Andries ...

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