Millions of South Africans went to the polls in April 1994 to vote for a democratic government. It was also the year that the IDC expanded its investment in Beier Wool.
From 26 to 28 April 1994, millions of South Africans lined up to vote in the country's first non-racial, democratic elections. It was a historic year for the nation, and an exciting time for many who had lived under the yoke of apartheid for decades.
In the same year, Beier Wool, a greasy wool processing company based in Isipingo, Durban, entered into a deal with the Industrial Development Corporation. Under it, the corporation would proffer a suspensive sale credit facility of R18-million and a building loan of R5.9-million to Beier Wool, a long-standing client. The deal incorporated a request from Beier Wool for the IDC to review the repayment terms of an existing agreement. The request was granted.
As it was an existing client, the corporation saw no need for additional security on the two facilities extended to Beier Wool. But this was after extensive consultations with the company by an IDC team. The team found that two of Beier Wool's Isipingo properties were being used as security by First National Bank and Absa. The two banks had offered Beier Wool short-term and overdraft facilities.
A manufacturer of worsted tops and carbonised wool, Beier Wool grew from small beginnings. It was founded by a young German called OTH Beier, who left his native country in 1929 to establish himself as a wool merchant in Durban. In 1931, Beier received an offer from Storm and Company to manage its newly erected scouring plant. He accepted the challenge and within a short time, exports to Europe began. Two years later he concluded an agreement to take over the scouring plant from Storm.
An astute businessman, Beier saw huge potential for industrial development as the economy of South Africa steadily improved, prompting him to diversify and expand his company; Bier Group of companies was formed. Today, the company operates from the South African head office of Beier Industries in Pinetown, Durban, where engineered industrial textile products are made for a wide variety of industries.