South African Flexiteek distributor Aquadex Africa is expanding its Cape Town-based business on the back of a massive spike in local demand for the Swedish synthetic decking brand over the past two years.
Aquadex has seen year-on-year growth of around 80%, with decking volumes up from just 52sq m in 2015 when the company launched to an expected 2,500sq m for the current financial year.
Aquadex co-director Marie Allen said the company recently bought new business premises in Montagu Gardens close to their main client, Robertson & Caine, and has employed 10 additional staff over the past year. Aquadex has also registered a second company, Aquadex Marine Services, to handle fittings for their key clients.
“All of this has happened in the last year, so it is quite daunting,” Allen said, adding that the company currently imported the Flexiteek planks to their manufacturing plant at a facility in Strand on the outskirts of Cape Town. “We go out and template a boat, then come back and weld all the material together. It takes us about two hours per square metre to make a deck – all hand done. Basically it is a craft,” Allen said.
In addition to servicing Robertson & Caine, Aquadex also supplies to other local boatbuilders, such as Nexus Yachts in the Eastern Cape. The company recently appointed an additional sales representative following the expansion of Flexiteek International which last year acquired rival decking company Wilks.
Allen said the company had benefited from the market’s preference to deal with a local supplier, rather than import from Sweden. Locally manufactured decks were also preferable to imported product due factors such as temperature and transport logistics.
“The first year  we didn’t think we were going to make it – the cash flow wasn’t too good. But then we had a lucky break with a big deck and from there we have never looked back,” Allen said.