Charles Pettit heads up Apex Partners, which has built up a stake in the engineering and capital equipment supplier.

ELB Group has hired a new CEO as it reviews its current structure and prepares for a recapitalisation to get out of the financial hole its Gamsberg Project in the Northern Cape has left it in.

The engineering and capital equipment supplier says Charles Pettit will replace Stephen Meijers with immediate effect. Meijers remains CEO of its ELB Engineering Services division.

Charles Pettit heads up private equity investment group Apex Partners, which has built up a shareholding of about 15% in ELB. The group said his initial responsibilities would be to review the suitability of the current structure and to arrange a recapitalisation following the recent losses that occurred on the zinc project.

A delay in the final performance testing at Gamsberg negatively impacted the timing of cash flows as it held back its final milestone payments. Along with losses incurred on the project, its Engineering Services has been under under severe working capital constraints, forcing it to negotiate additional loan facilities with its lenders, insurers and other financial institutions.

It completed a strategic review of its business earlier this year following the sale of its B&W Instrumentation and Electrical operation.


“Charles will also be free to identify any acquisitions he feels may be compatible with ELB’s current product offering,” ELB said.


Earlier this year, Apex participated in the buyout and delisting of Torre Industries, along with Ethos Private Equity.

Apex took on the group’s Torre Industrial unit, while Ethos acquired Torre Analytical Service, which is being rebranded Synerlytic Group. Pettit was previously CEO of Torre Industries and founded JSE-listed Stellar Capital Partners ELB’s shares didn’t trade yesterday, closing unchanged at R9.90. The announcement was made shortly before the market close.