50-year-old Nashua sets sights on AI, energy and cloud

Nashua, a wholly-owned business within JSE-listed electronics group Reunert, marked fifty years of operation at an event in Johannesburg this week.

Reunert is comprised of three clusters – electrical engineering, applied electronics and ICT,

Nashua South Africa was established in 1973 as a subsidiary of the USA-based Nashua Corporation, known for liquid toner copiers. Nashua was bought by the Barlows Group in 1983 and a decade later, with the unbundling of Barlows, Nashua was acquired by Reunert in 1993.

Barry Venter, Nashua CEO, said since meeting the demand for photocopier and analogue printer solutions back in 1973, the company has evolved into a comprehensive workspace solution provider targeting the SME market, with cloud, AI connectivity and energy earmarked for more investment.

It operates in five countries in the SADC region and has 42 franchises. According to Reunert’s latest annual report, the sales of complementary products in the franchise channel grew from R200-million in 2017 to R518-million in 2022, representing a 21% compound annual growth rate.

Nashua could not escape the ramifications of global electronic chip shortages in the second half of last year. Its primary multifunctional printer supplier, could not meet demand in the third and fourth financial quarters.

However, the division was able to pick up pace with complementary solutions rolled out into energy generation, storage, surveillance, security control and document and workflow management segments. The Reunert report adds: “… despite the cluster’s performance being hampered by supply chain challenges causing shortages and delayed deliveries from international product suppliers, revenue increased.”

Nashua targets the SME market with office automation and ICT solutions, including connectivity, surveillance and access control, print and print solutions, as well as workplace solutions.

In 2022 the company introduced currency management solutions, a fintech offering designed to help customers with cash management, fraud detection and accounting. It also launched Mobicred, a revolving credit facility, as well as Intelligent Parcel Lockers and Intelligent Day Lockers for employees to manage their valuables using an app.

This reflects the extent to which the workplace has evolved – something Venter remarked on. “This workspace is not restricted to the office environment, it’s extended to sport fields, it’s extended to schools and into other markets… our solution stack can do this for us.”

SuperSport Schools Initiative

Nashua is associated with the development of several sports and is an enabling partner and founding sponsor of the SuperSport Schools initiative, which started as an app for streaming school sports and evolved into a TV channel. In 2021 Nashua began installing AI automated camera technology at schools to provide content via the mobile app, which to date has over 300 000 subscribers.

In addition to its vested interest in brand-building CSI initiatives, Nashua’s executive management team is devising a strategy for the next fifty years and looks to intensify its interest in cloud, AI and energy sectors going forward.

“The strength of this brand is not the big, huge corporate animal, it’s actually 42 SME businesses that stretch across Southern Africa, but with real community involvement,” said Venter. “That’s what I believe has built the success of today.”

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