Industrial and commercial communications operator Metacom has acquired 100% of Stellenbosch-based hardware development company, Multenet. Metacom MD Réan van Niekerk says the purchase makes Metacom “the strongest player in South Africa in our market niche, serving financial, industrial and commercial clients who need reliable, secure, low-cost communications”.

Van Niekerk says Multenet “is the only company we know of in South Africa that produces similar products to Metacom’s. But, while they have focused exclusively on device development, we have used our products as a base on which to build a robust, high-quality managed communications service.

“Multenet’s product range is very wide, and they’ve explored a number of new technologies we are interested in, as well as being good at extremely lean manufacturing processes,” says Van Niekerk. “They’ve invested significant energy into developing their intellectual property, which will be a great asset to Metacom; and their products will complement and extend the Metacom range.”

Existing Multenet clients will now also have access to Metacom’s full range of products and managed network services. Metacom integrates a wide range of wired and wireless technologies, including GSM, satellite, short-range radio and fixed-line systems such as ADSL, Diginet, fibre, frame relay and X25.

Outgoing Multenet MD Henry de Ruyter, who founded the company as a subsidiary of Control Instruments in 1999, says there are “a number of synergies between the two companies. Multenet is smaller, but our IP, customer base and product base will add real value to Metacom.”

De Ruyter himself is retiring, but will stay on as a consultant to help manage the transition and transfer knowledge: “I’m happy that what we have built up will be well used as Metacom grows.”