Just seven weeks after its South African head office and distribution warehouse were destroyed and its stock-holding of machines and parts stolen Stihl South Africa is up and running again.

The company has moved to new premises and has received more than R90 million in stock from Stihl branches around the world to enable it to resume supply to its local dealer network.

Immediately after the riots in July Stihl’s German parent company put together a task team to co-ordinate efforts to replenish the South African company, supplying emergency stocks by air from around the world, and following those up with seafreight shipments to build up a proper inventory.

This effort culminated last week in a visit by global Stihl executing member Norbert Pick to thank the local head office staff for their efforts, and to assess the company’s current situation and  the way forward.

Pick emphasised that Stihl will maintain full operations in South Africa. “South Africa is an important growth market for the group. We will therefore take all measures and make any necessary investments to rebuild Stihl South Africa.”

He did however stress that it is imperative for the country to ensure the safety of its people and business investments if it hopes to secure further direct foreign investment in the future.

Meanwhile, recipients of machines stolen during the looting spree are in for a nasty surprise when they take those machines to a Stihl dealer for repairs.

With typical Teutonic detail, Stihl knows the individual item number of each and every machine stolen, and has set up a program into which a dealer can put the number of any machine presented for repair, which will instantly identify whether it was stolen or bought legitimately.

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