Safety the guiding light as First Cut and GSI confirm merger of interests

First Cut, a leading South African provider of cutting, welding and grinding consumables and equipment, has entered into a merger of interests with respected industry stalwart Gas Safety International (GSI), which provides certified gas safety training and quality gas equipment to a wide range of sectors, to ensure a safe and efficient working environment.  

The agreement becomes effective from 01 November 2021, and will see these two world-class companies – which together have over a century of industry experience – collaborating closely. This merger of interests also opens up pivotal expertise and opportunities across both businesses; as well as leveraging mutual access to customers, suppliers, market sectors and geographic areas.

Managing Director of First Cut Andrew Poole explains: “By joining forces with GSI, we can strengthen and expand our offering even further. Having been in business for some 65 years, First Cut has long been acknowledged as a leading South African distributor of cutting and grinding consumables and equipment – and we have more recently extended our expertise to include a welding division.”

Shared values

 “GSI, as a premier gas safety products and training company, is an excellent, synergistic service provider with which to join forces. The new relationship will strengthen our service offering, providing our customers with even more choice of products and solutions – as well as access to the highly-respected training experience and expertise offered by GSI’s Managing Director, Peter Rohlssen, with regards to gas safety training, consulting and auditing. 

In addition, welding safety training, consulting and risk auditing will be offered by GSI’s Welding Engineer Robert Lawrence,” Poole explains.

GSI Managing Director Peter Rohlssen adds: “I have been very pleased that through this agreement with First Cut, we have achieved a true ‘meeting of minds’. We share the same company values of honesty, integrity and reliability – which have given rise to a tremendous inter-brand chemistry. The trust between both companies is also a strongly cohesive force, which will enhance our businesses and inter-company synergies even further,” he says.

“I will remain at the helm as Managing Director of GSI, which will continue as a separate brand, entity and team ‘as is’; while working collaboratively with First Cut to expand and explore mutually strategic and advantageous opportunities. This includes ensuring that through this merger, the legacy I have built up since founding GSI back in 1985 will continue – so that the enormous knowledge and experience will be preserved, and our client base will also continue to be serviced.”

Expanded choice, access, footprint and service

Rohlssen notes that First Cut has a very strong reputation as a respected and trusted brand with a long-standing client base and expertise; as well as an enviable portfolio of international suppliers, a wide national footprint and well-developed infrastructure. 

“All this represents huge value for GSI, as it expands our geographic footprint and service offering enormously,” he says. 

Poole adds: “This merger of interests will provide First Cut and our clients with access to GSI’s coaching, training, guidance and risk auditing services. Furthermore, our recently established welding division will also be strengthened – not only through Peter’s expertise, but that of his team. The whole strategy fits together beautifully!”

The two companies’ clients will also benefit from this merger of interests, as Poole explains: “We will be combining a portfolio of excellent international suppliers, and this will allow us to boost our joint offering: providing our customers with an even wider choice, and importantly, with our combined ability to deliver the appropriate solution for their applications and requirements.”

The ‘North Star’ of safety

Both Poole and Rohlssen are adamant that stringent safety is critical when it comes to working with gas – irrespective of the sector. 

“We improve gas safety through our strict adherence to compliance regulations; as well as providing clients with the benefit of our significant industry experience via our gas safety training and risk audits,” explains Rohlssen. “Gas safety standards must be applied in any sector where gas is used, including welding. It should however be noted that the applications are certainly broader than the industrial sphere alone: including the mining, medical, pharmaceutical, agricultural and domestic markets.

 As such, GSI adheres to stringent compliance standards and conformance in line with both South African and international standards at all times. Their training and product portfolio is also fully aligned to SANS 10238, and suppliers comply with European standards, many of which are included in SANS 10238.

“In addition, our gas safety training material is accredited by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA). We are the only company locally to have achieved this, and it means that engineers who attend our courses can earn their requisite continuing professional development (CPD) points,” he advises.

 “This again demonstrates how First Cut’s and GSI’s thinking is supremely aligned. From First Cut’s perspective, we too adhere firmly to strict quality and safety regulatory compliance. Safety is indeed the ‘North Star’ or ‘guiding light’ – as well as the key differentiator for our two companies. It is what defines and directs us: we share a mutual dedication in this regard, and will not ever compromise on it. 

A dynamic and exciting new chapter has begun with effect from the 1 November for both First Cut and GSI.  We look forward to working closely, growing our mutual offering to clients, and going from strength to strength – ‘writing’ many more chapters of success as we follow our ‘North Star’ of safety together !” Poole concludes.