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Exelco Group Expands into Botswana

Saturday, 11th November 2006
Source: Rappaport. By Jeff Miller.

Belgium-based Exelco NV is expanding its manufacturing operations into Botswana the company reported to Rapaport News. The Exelco Group, which already operates H&A Cutting Works Ltd in Bangkok, Thailand, received their diamond cutting license and has registered the company H&A Cutting Works (Botswana)(Pty) Ltd earlier in 2006. Exelco is a Diamond Trading Company (DTC) sightholder.

Exelco acquired a 10,000 square meter plot of land located in the center of Gaborone, Botswana, in close proximity to the new DTC and Debswana office buildings. Construction is expected to begin in January 2007 and complete in September.

Hugh Van Es, managing director of the Bangkok facility and project manager for Botswana, said, "Our intention is to employ 500 workers and to accomplish a transfer of know-how of our expertise in polishing the Ideal Cut, Triple Excellent Diamonds to Botswana."

In September 2006, Exelco recruited Samuel Mothibi to be the facility's general manager. Lior Kunstler, an Exelco managing partner, said of Mothibi that his solid background in human resources and his experience as general manager for the Standard Chartered Bank would be of an enormous benefit to Exelco when recruiting the first group of polishers in Gaborone.

Initially a group of 30 people will be trained at the Bangkok facility on polishing Ideal Cuts and they will learn about Exelco's corporate values. Once the Gaborone building is operational newly trained workers would be relocated --along with a team of Thai experts-- to become Exelco's core base in Botswana the company reported.

Additionally, the Exelco Group has launched its retail promotional efforts in Japan to tell the conflict-free diamond and beneficiation stories to consumers. Exelco uses an in-store movie to bridge the mine-to-market connection between diamonds in Botswana and consumers in Japan.

A second managing partner, Jean Paul Tolkowsky, said, "Opening a manufacturing facility in Botswana confirms our Group’s vision that manufacturing in (diamond) producing countries, and bringing these diamonds directly through retail to the consumer, is the future of our industry.

"In line with that vision, we intend to become one of the largest employers in Botswana," Tolkowsky said.