By Our Reporter
The Orion Transformers factory and service center was founded in 2015. It was recently commissioned by H.E President Yoweri Museveni.
The company’s main operations include the manufacture, repair and servicing of transformers. They also specialize in the manufacture of oil-immersed transformers and produce three different types of cores namely; cooper, aluminum and amorphous. The factory is equipped to manufacture various transformer capacities from 16kva to 2.5mva and to repair capacities up to 7.5mva.
Additionally, they produce switchgears and panels together with their recent expansion into power line construction in Wakiso District and other surrounding districts like Tororo.
Currently, the company’s total investment value is estimated at Shs 24 billion and directly employs 75 people.
In terms of service and after sales care, 95% of their operations involve repairing transformers, with agencies such as UMEME being the biggest clients. However, in terms of new transformer sales, industrial clients are 60% of their market.
On what was the major factor in their decision to invest and start producing in Uganda, Mr Hanlin, the General Manager, says Uganda has had a politically stable environment, which increases investor and consumer confidence and results in improved business environments and growing capital inflows. “Economic growth and political stability are deeply interconnected,” he adds.
Furthermore, he adds, the transformer market in Uganda has been characterized by one-off imported orders that often resulted in the supply of low quality transformers that don’t have any on-the- ground support or after-sales care.
“We saw this market failure as an opportunity to change the paradigm of the supply of transformers. More importantly, we decided to invest in top quality facilities in the region before starting the sales process and this positively impacted our entry into the Uganda electrical industry and cemented our position as leader,” he adds.
On the BUBU policy, which the government is implementing, Mr says it would be pivotal in transforming Uganda into a middle-income country.
“We all need to support the manufacturers in Uganda so they improve and increase the standard of skills and product we are already have and can have which in turn grows the economy. I especially appeal to government agencies, which are the largest consumers of transformers in Uganda, to choose to make use of the transformers made in Uganda,” he says.
Indeed, Orion Transformers is one of the investors that are benefiting from this policy in the sense that a 25% tax is now levied on all transformers being imported into the country, which Mr Hanlin says encourages the locals to buy the cheaper locally… manufactured products instead of buying from abroad.
Indeed, Mr Hanlin is positive about Uganda’s economy, which he says is growing fast with an attractive investment client, and as such there are plenty of foreign-owned businesses. “So emphasis should be made on the ‘Made in Uganda’ tag as the BUBU policy also applies to businesses with foreign investors as well as local investors.
Commenting on the BUBU Expo of which Orion was one of the major sponsors, Mr Hanlin says the expo was the first of its kind and a multitude of manufactures in Uganda exhibited a variety of their products and widened their exposure.