Altron sells Parktown HQ as new R300m campus takes shape

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Altron’s planned reception area.
Altron’s planned reception area.

JSE-listed technology group Altron has set aside R300 million to complete its new Woodmead office campus announced last year.

This was revealed by Mteto Nyati, Altron’s group chief executive, in a telephone interview with ITWeb last week.

The interview followed last week’s announcement of the company’s annual results for the year ended 29 February and its final dividend announcement.

Last year, Altron signed a rental contract with Growthpoint Properties for a 29 000 square metre head office in Woodmead.

The contract will begin in November 2020 and will bring all nine of Altron’s operating companies under a single roof.

The office is currently being used by Deloitte, whose contract ran out at the end of March.

Deloitte will move its offices to Waterfall, with new head offices that will be developed at a cost of more than R1 billion.

Building connections

Before the Altron Group moves in, Growthpoint says it will invest a significant amount to modernise, customise and connect eight buildings to Altron’s requirements.

“For our move to the new campus that we communicated earlier, we have consolidated our locations in Gauteng to Woodmead. That move will enable us to reduce floor space that we are using from 47 000 square metres to about 29 000 square metres,” Nyati said.

“In the process of doing that, we still need to upgrade and fix that building. So we will be spending a fair amount of capital in making sure the buildings are ready for occupation. In terms of the capital outlay – the fixing and the renovating of the business – we are looking at probably R300 million.

“That’s where we are going to put all of our operations. We’ve got about eight operations and we’ve decided to consolidate all of them in one location and this will help us save costs in regards to rentals and we are also ensuring the campus is in line with new ways of working,” he noted.

In August 2018, Altron unveiled a new brand with what it dubs the “One Altron Strategy”, looking to bring the firm under a single identity, making it easy for customers to do business with it.

Some of Altron’s subsidiaries include Altron Arrow, Altron Bytes Systems Integration, Netstar, Altron Karabina, Bytes Secure Solutions and Bytes UK.

According to Nyati, Altron has already sold its Parktown location where the company is currently domiciled.

He added the company has also already sold some of the buildings where Altron Bytes Document Solutions is residing.

“This is all in preparation for the move, at the beginning of the next financial year, to Woodmead. An integral part of the One Altron Strategy is doing good, while doing good business. To this end, we have focused on reducing our impact on the environment, through our anticipated move to our new, certified green offices in Johannesburg.

“This is expected to reduce our carbon footprint by 25% in 2021. Furthermore, Altron has adopted a sustainability framework which is aligned to the group’s strategic value drivers.

“In order to embed our ethical values, an increased focus on governance has been achieved through the adoption of a formalised corporate governance framework and realignment of the group’s strategic risk efforts.”

What Altron’s waiting area will look like.
What Altron’s waiting area will look like.

Encouraging collaboration

In a statement issued to ITWeb, Altron says the space planning has been based on an agile working environment with a high saturation of WiFi connectivity to allow Altron employees to work anywhere within the campus or outside in the gardens.

It notes the design of the campus makes use of the green space available within the campus as well as a “spine”. The company explains that the role of the “spine” is to connect all the buildings together in a “boulevard-type environment” to promote the culture of a One Altron.

It adds the spine comprises a number of collaboration spaces as well as meeting rooms.

The office layout is a mixture of permanent seating and agile working areas with very few offices, says the company, noting that offices will only be allocated to Altron exco and opco MDs, with the balance of staff sitting in an open plan environment.

To counter the concern about privacy and the need for confidentiality, Altron says a number of collaboration areas have been designed to hold confidential or private discussions as well as make private phone calls.

Building three will be the main reception which also includes Altron head office and the staff restaurant.

“The use of technology but still retaining the ‘human touch’ will be evident throughout the campus. Altron solutions and technology will be utilised within the campus, showcasing what Altron can provide to its clients,” the company notes.

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