Midlands oil firm expands

2012-09-06 00:00

OPERATING from a solid base laid by three generations, Hilton-based Busby Oils has recently undergone major expansion.

The family-owned business is a major producer of pharmaceutical-grade eucalyptus oil.

The group recently launched a new consumer range aimed initially at pharmacies.

It has also brought on stream a new distillation plant near Greytown, expanding its footprint in the Midlands.

Busby is a major supplier of pharmaceutical-grade eucalyptus oil in bulk to major pharmaceutical companies in the domestic market and the U.S. and Europe.

Eucalyptus oil is known for its antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties and is used in the pharmaceutical and perfumery industries.

“Its uses are varied, from skincare to medicines, and it is used extensively for colds and flu remedies,” CEO Jarrett Pech told The Witness.

Pech is a chartered accountant who joined the business in 2002 after working in Johannesburg for a JSE-listed company.

He said the company had grown tremendously in recent years.

Busby owns a value-added processing factory in Camps Drift. It has generated about 150 jobs as a result of its activities and business divisions. It sources oil from Mpumalanga, Greytown and Richmond.

Pech said Busby’s experience in Richmond counts as a land transformation success story.

Having bought a farm in late 2002, Busby faced a land claim in 2004, but settled it successfully in 2007. The community took ownership of the plantations and has produced oil for Busby ever since.

“This allows us to look at further black empowerment initiatives,” Pech said.

He explained that the retail brand of 100% pure eucalyptus oil was launched after the firm had noticed a gap in the market.

“For years people have asked, ‘why can’t we buy your oil off the shelf?’

“We saw a gap in the market for a quality product at competitive prices, backed up by awareness and education about how to use the product.”

Busby, which produces about 150 tons of oil a year or about two percent of the world market, has been transformed by Pech’s entry into the business in 2002.

Pech’s grandfather Richard Lunt, who was a sawmiller, became a pioneer in the eucalyptus oil industry in the 1960s. In 1972 Jarrett Pech’s parents, Peter and Sylvia, took over, and Peter, a scientist, developed the product into pharmaceutical-grade eucalyptus oil.

Jarrett Pech took over in 2007.

“It was a static business with massive potential,” he said.

He has worked hard on growing the business while improving the Busby product.

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