Murray and Roberts Holdings

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Murray and Roberts Holdings Ltd.
Traded as(JSE: MUR)
IndustryConstruction, Engineering
Area served
Africa, Australasia, Europe, North America
Key people
Henry Laas (CEO)
Daniël Grobler (CFO)
Servicesproject engineering, procurement, construction, project commissioning, operations and maintenance
RevenueR 21.40 Billion (2017)[1]
R 284 Million (2017)[1]
Total assetsR 14.20 Billion (2017)[2]
Number of employees
20,642 (2017)

Murray and Roberts Holdings Ltd. is a South African based engineering and mining contractor, located in Johannesburg, South Africa[3] and is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange.[4] Murray & Roberts is South Africa’s leading engineering, contracting and construction services company, with a primary focus on the resources-driven construction markets in industry & mining, oil & gas and power & energy in Africa, Middle East, Southeast Asia, Australasia and North and South America.

The company offers civil, mechanical, electrical, mining and process engineering; and management of concession operations. In addition to the many buildings, Murray & Roberts has been involved in the construction of the Gautrain railroad, the Medupi Power Station, and the Cape Town Stadium.[5]

Company history[edit]

Murray & Roberts was established in 1902 as an emerging house builder in the Cape Colony. For its first 75 years, the company developed under the leadership of its founding families. Douglas Murray inherited Murray & Stewart from his father John in 1928 and co-founded The Roberts Construction Co. in 1934 with his friend and colleague Douglas Roberts. They were later joined by Andrew Roberts, and the three entrepreneurs played a leadership role in the formal development of the South African construction and engineering industry.

Under Douglas Murray the company followed a strategy that maintained geographic focus in the Cape Province, he sought growth through diversification into construction materials and services as well as the industrial sector. The company later expanded geographic focus into the rest of Africa and elsewhere whist focusing on construction. In 1951 the company became public and listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Douglas Murray died in 1964 and was succeeded by long-serving executive Des Baker, who in partnership with Bill Bramwell at Roberts Construction became the architect of a merged and more industrialised Murray & Roberts over a 13-year period between 1967 and 1979. Douglas Roberts finally retired in 1979 and both brothers died in 1982. Following the premature death of Des Baker earlier that year, Bill Bramwell became executive chairman.

Murray & Roberts was formed in 1967 following its merger with Murray & Stewart, but the two companies continued to operate as separate businesses until all operations were fully consolidated in 1979.

Dave Brink joined Murray & Roberts in 1970 as manager of RUC Mining Contracting. He was first appointed an executive director in 1984, followed by his appointment as chief executive in 1985 and chairman in 1994. Brink returned to Murray & Roberts in 1998 as executive chairman and managing director and became a non-executive chairman in 2000 until he retired in 2003. Brink oversaw a period of acquisition and diversification as Murray & Roberts sought growth at a time when South Africa was politically isolated from the world due to Apartheid sanctions and the domestic construction sector was in decline.

The 15-year period between 1980 and 1994 brought significant change to the shareholding and business make-up of Murray & Roberts. In 1984, The Murray Trusts entered a shareholder and voting pool agreement with Sanlam that controlled more than 50% of the issued shares of Murray & Roberts. By 1989, Sanlam had placed its shares into its industrial investment subsidiary Sankorp, which in turn took singular control of the company through the voting pool agreement, influencing board appointments and strategy. Over the period 1990 to 1994, numerous industrial businesses from elsewhere in the Sankorp stable were sold into Murray & Roberts, paid for through the issue of new shares.

By 1995 Sanlam had reduced its shareholding below 35%, a new executive leadership was in place and euphoria around South Africa’s new democracy including the promise offered by the Reconstruction and Development Programme. Five contracting activities had reduced to less than 30% of group business with the major contributors being cement, tyres and transport.

In June 2000 management aimed to transform Murray & Roberts fundamentally over a five-year period to 30 June 2005 by expanding the company into emerging markets.

Over the decade from 2000 to 2010, Murray & Roberts experienced significant growth: the project order book increased exponentially to R42 billion and revenues quadrupled to R32 billion. This period in the Group’s history was strongly characterised by the lead up to the 2010 Soccer World Cup and the infrastructure investment programme launched by the South African Government to replace ageing infrastructure and prepare South Africa for the largest international event ever hosted on the African continent. It was also a time of global expansion as demand for mining, energy and transport infrastructure increased.

Murray and Roberts Cementation at Douglas Roberts Centre, 22 Skeen Boulevard, Bedfordview, South Africa
Douglas Roberts Centre, Bedfordview, South Africa

Operating platforms[edit]

At Murray & Roberts Operation Platforms can be a collection of companies or operating units focused on a particular market segment. Murray & Roberts often participate in large projects together with competitors in the form of joint venture partnerships.

Murray & Roberts today directs its activities into the construction economies of Sub Saharan Africa, Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Americas. Market sectors include building, infrastructure, mining, industrial, energy, power and environmental.

Regional platforms[edit]

Power & water[edit]

Power & Water, which is focused on engineering, procurement and construction management projects, is playing a major role in building two of the world’s largest coal-fired power stations, Eskom’s Medupi and Kusile.

Companies and divisions of power & water[edit]
  • Murray and Roberts Power & Energy, (EPC works, SMEIP works)
  • Murray & Roberts Water, (EPC works)

International platforms[edit]

Construction global underground mining[edit]

Construction Global Underground Mining develops underground mine infrastructure. Its clients’ commodity exposure include gold, copper, diamonds, platinum and various other minerals.

Companies and divisions of GUM[edit]
  • Cementation Canada and USA (Design and construction of underground facilities including shaft, ramp accesses, mine development and raises, as well as large diameter raisedrilling)
  • Cementation Sudamerica
  • Murray and Roberts Cementation
    • Murray & Roberts Cementation South Africa
    • Murray & Roberts Cementation Botswana
    • Murray & Roberts Cementation DRC
    • Murray & Roberts Cementation Ghana
    • Murray & Roberts Cementation Namibia
    • Murray & Roberts Cementation Tanzania
    • Murray & Roberts Cementation Zambia
Bentley Park Training Centre, North-west South Africa
  • RUC Cementation Mining Contractors (Operates the largest fleet of large diameter raise-boring machines in the world and also carries out a variety of challenging shaft sinking and ramp and lateral development projects well, The company's ability to deploy a broad range of raiseboring, shaft sinking and mechanised development.)
    • RUC Cementation Mining Contractors Australia
    • Cementation Hong Kong
    • Cementation Indonesia
    • Cementation Mongolia

Construction Australasia oil gas and minerals[edit]

Construction Australasia Oil & Gas and Minerals consists of the Group’s direct investment in wholly owned subsidiary Clough. Clough is an integrated engineering, procurement and construction contractor focused on oil and gas in Australia and Southeast Asia.

Companies and divisions of CAOGM[edit]
  • Clough
  • Murray and Roberts Marine (Gravity quay walls, Piled wharves and jetties, Ship lifts and slipways, Breakwaters and shore revetments, Import and export terminals)

Gallery of projects involving Murray & Roberts[edit]


Concor Holdings[edit]


Established in 1953, Genrec is one of the largest engineering companies in Africa. In 1974 Murray & Roberts, decided to diversify its operations, and acquired 30% of Genrec shares. In 1988, Murray & Roberts acquired the controlling share holding and in 1992 Murray & Roberts acquired 100% equity, delisted the Group and split activities into separate profit centers.


Subsidiary Murray & Roberts RUC, acquired Cementation Africa with effect 1 July 2004. Murray & Roberts sees the mining sector in Africa as one of the areas where it can substantially grow and expand its business over the long term. The complimentary nature of the two companies was important, with the merger giving Murray & Roberts Cementation an estimated 60% market share of the hard rock underground mining construction and contracting sectors in Southern Africa.


Established in 1919, Clough is a publicly listed Australian based engineering, construction and asset support contractor providing full project life cycle solutions primarily to the upstream oil and gas sector. In November 2013, Clough shareholders voted in favour of a proposed scheme under which Murray & Roberts, through its Australian wholly owned subsidiary, Murray & Roberts Pty Ltd, would acquire all the ordinary shares in Clough it did not already own.

Murray & Roberts obtained its own shareholder approval to buy the remaining 38.4% of the shares in the oil and gas company Clough for about R4bn. The Group's turnkey services range from complex front-end engineering design, construction, installation and commissioning to long-term operations and maintenance.

San Jose Mine rescue[edit]

Murray & Roberts participated in the rescue operation of 33 miners who had been trapped underground in the 2010 Copiapó mining accident in the San Jose Mine near the town Copiapó in the north of Chile. Murray & Roberts has a controlling shareholding in two mining contracting companies in Chile; Terracem, which is a specialist raise drilling company, and Cementation Sudamerica, which focused on major vertical shaft and underground mine infrastructure work. Its partner in Chile is a local company, Terraservice.[6]

One of the company's large diameter raise drilling machines, the Strata 950, was used by Terracem in the rescue operation. Rotary Vertical Drilling System (RVDS) technology, co-developed by Murray & Roberts, was applied to accurately drill a pilot hole to reach the trapped miners, where the hole was to be opened up to 660mm to rescue the miners. The Strata 950 had just completed a shaft for Codelco's Andina Mine and had already been transferred to the San Jose Mine where drilling would commence.


Anti competitive behaviour[edit]

In June 2013, Murray & Roberts agreed to pay R309 million levied by the Competition Commission[7] as one of 15 construction companies find a total of R1.46 billion for anticompetitive behaviour. The commission found that the company had committed a total of 17 transgressions of the South African Competition Act. In November 2013 it was reported that Murray & Roberts was pursuing former company executives implicated in anticompetitive behaviour.[8]

The Competition Commission found that Murray & Roberts, along with another 14 South African construction companies, had “an agreement in terms of which firms which were not interested in the projects or winning the tenders, or were not allocated to a project, would submit cover bids to ensure that those interested in particular bids, won them.”[9] By this process the colluding companies were able to rig bids so that they could charge higher prices and ensure that participating colluding companies got bids that were preselected by those companies beforehand and without the government or any other third party knowing.

The company was not penalised for a number of the projects the company was caught engaging in anticompetitive behaviour in because many of them occurred more than three years before the Competition Commission investigation.[9]

Projects that were affected included:

Bridge collapses[edit]

Injaka Bridge[edit]

Grayston Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge[edit]


  1. ^ a b Murray & Roberts Statement of Financial Performance FY2017
  2. ^ [1], Murray & Roberts Statement of Financial Performance FY2017
  3. ^ [2], Murray & Roberts Group Overview
  4. ^ [3], Murray & Roberts Listing on JSE
  5. ^ [4], Murray & Roberts Construction Capability
  6. ^ South African Press Association (2010-10-13). "SA company lauded for Chile rescue". News24. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  7. ^ "TimesLIVE". Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  8. ^ Allix, Mark (7 November 2013). "Murray & Roberts 'pursues' former executives implicated in collusion". Business Day. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  9. ^ a b Nicholson, Zara (15 July 2013). "Rigged tenders escape sanction". Cape Times. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-07-16. Retrieved 2013-07-16.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]