Murray & Roberts

Murray & 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] The Group delivers its capabilities into three global primary market sectors the resources, industrial, energy, water and specialised infrastructure market sectors.

Murray and Roberts Holdings Ltd.
IndustryConstruction, Engineering
South Africa
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 21.9 Billion (2021)[1]
R 540 Million (2021)[1][5]
Total assetsR 19.70 Billion (2021)[2]
Number of employees
10 000 est. (2021)

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 historyEdit

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.

In the last decade from 2010 to 2021, the Group has been reshaped into a multinational engineering and construction group, with a substantial global footprint. Limited investment in the South African economy over many years have spurred this shift.

The Group's international scope now includes market sectors with robust fixed capital investment fundamentals. These market sectors will benefit from substantial stimulus earmarked for infrastructure-led economic recovery, which also seeks to sustainably meet the needs of a growing and urbanising global population. The resources, industrial, energy, water and specialised infrastructure sectors present the best opportunities for growth, diversification and differentiation for our business platforms, as specialist contractors in their regions.

Over the next three years, Murray & Roberts expects the majority of the Group's revenue to be derived from its two international business platforms, which have established credible positions in regions and sectors with sustainable growth prospects.

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

Operating platformsEdit

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, Europe, Southeast Asia and the Americas. Market sectors include resources, industrial, energy, water and specialised infrastructure market sectors.

Regional platformEdit

Power, Industrial & WaterEdit

The Power, Industrial & Water platform operates predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa. Its service offering includes feasibility studies, detailed engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and repairs and maintenance work.

Companies and divisions (South Africa)Edit
  • Murray & Roberts Power & Energy
  • Murray & Roberts Water
  • Wade Walker
  • Wade Walker Solar
  • OptiPower Projects

International platformsEdit


The Mining platform's service offering spans the project life cycle, including feasibility studies, specialist engineering, vertical and decline shaft construction, mine development, specialist mining services such as raise boring and grouting, and contract mining, as well as open pit mining.

Companies and divisionsEdit
  • Cementation Canada – North Bay, Canada
  • Cementation USA – Salt Lake City, USA
  • GCR Mongolia – Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  • Merit Consultants International – Vancouver, Canada
  • Murray & Roberts Cementation – Johannesburg, South Africa; Kitwe, Zambia; Accra, Ghana
  • RUC Cementation Mining & InSig – Perth & Kalgoorlie, Australia
  • Terra Nova Technologies – Santee, USA
Bentley Park Training Centre, North-west South Africa

Energy, Resources & InfrastructureEdit

The Energy, Resources & Infrastructure platform's extensive service offering spans the full asset life cycle, including specialist engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning, and operations & maintenance. Services are provided on new build facilities (greenfields) and operating facilities (brownfields). In response to challenging oil and gas market conditions, the platform has broadened its market focus to include resources (metals & minerals) and specialist infrastructure markets (historically serviced), which mitigates the impact of market cyclicality

Companies and divisionsEdit
  • Booth Welsh – Ayrshire, Scotland
  • CH-IV – Houston and Baltimore, USA
  • Clough – Perth, Brisbane and Sydney, Australia; Houston, USA and Calgary, Canada; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
  • e2o – Perth, Australia and Houston, USA
  • JJ White - Philadelphia, USA

Gallery of projects involving Murray and RobertsEdit


Concor HoldingsEdit

Concor Holdings was delisted on 30 June 2006 when 100% of its share capital was purchased by the Murray & Roberts Holdings Ltd. It changed its name when it merged with Murray & Roberts Construction (Pty) Ltd.[6] Whilst under the control of Murray & Roberts, Concor Facility Management and Concor Property Development was closed whilst Concor Roads was merged with Concor Civils. Concor Technicrete was sold as a going concern.[7]

The Concor and Murray and Roberts construction divisions were sold to a black owned consortium, led by Southern Palace Group[8] in late 2016 and renamed Concor Construction in May 2017.[9][10] Concor is now certified a Level 1 BEE Company.


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 complementary 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 an 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 acquired 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 Clough for about R4bn. Clough's turnkey services range from complex front-end engineering design, construction, installation and commissioning to long-term operations and maintenance.

OptiPower ProjectsEdit

On 1 September 2019, the Power, Industrial & Water platform acquired OptiPower Projects, whose capabilities are largely in the construction of MV and HV power lines, construction of MV and HV substations and construction of overhead and underground fibre optic networks, for a consideration of R38 million. The acquisition of OptiPower Projects has given the Power, Industrial & Water platform the capability to undertake work in the transmission, distribution and substation subsectors of the power market. This acquisition is a business combination.

Terra Nova TechnologiesEdit

On 1 May 2019, Cementation Americas, which forms part of the Underground Mining platform, acquired 100% of TNT for a total consideration of R635 million. The acquisition of the TNT business was structured through an acquisition of assets of TNT USA Inc. and a 100% share purchase of TNT Chile Limitada.

TNT provides services to the global mining industry (both surface and underground) and design, supply and commission overland conveyors, crushing/conveying systems, mobile stacking systems, including dry stack tailings and heap leach systems, crushing and screening plants and in-pit crushing and conveying systems. TNT also provides process equipment for mining projects. The acquisition of TNT complements the engineering and construction services of Cementation Americas and the Underground Mining platform.

JJ White IncEdit

In October 2021, Murray & Roberst acquired J.J. White Incorporated for US$28,25 million. JJ White, founded in 1920, is a private, fourth-generation multi-trade engineering and contracting business, headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. JJ White specializes in industrial maintenance and related construction services that covers a full range of mechanical and electrical disciplines.

The acquisition is part of the Group's strategy to diversify and expand the service offering of its Energy, Resources & Infrastructure business platform in North America, similar to its recent market sector diversification in the Asia-Pacific region, which has seen significant order book growth over the past three years. This investment presents strong growth potential and opportunity for market share expansion.

San Jose Mine rescueEdit

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.[11]

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 behaviourEdit

In June 2013, Murray & Roberts agreed to pay R309 million levied by the Competition Commission[12] as one of 15 construction companies fined 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.[13]

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."[14] 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.[14]


  1. ^ a b "Full Year Financial Results | Investors | Murray & Roberts".
  2. ^ [1], Murray & Roberts Statement of Financial Performance FY2021
  3. ^ [2], Murray & Roberts Group Overview
  4. ^ [3], Murray & Roberts Listing on JSE
  5. ^ [4], Murray & Roberts Construction Capability
  6. ^ Creamer, Terence. "M&R to sell construction units to Southern Palace-led consortium for R314m". Engineering News.
  7. ^ "Technicrete – Manufacturing concrete products in the mining and construction industries in South Africa".
  8. ^ "Southern Palace Group".
  9. ^ Reporter, Creamer Media. "Southern Palace Group-Led Consortium Acquires Murray & Roberts Infrastructure & Building Businesses". Engineering News.
  10. ^ Breytenbach, Mia. "Southern Palace outlines vision for radically transformed M&R infrastructure unit". Engineering News. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  11. ^ South African Press Association (13 October 2010). "SA company lauded for Chile rescue". News24. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  12. ^ "TimesLIVE". Sunday Times (Johannesburg). Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  13. ^ Allix, Mark (7 November 2013). "Murray & Roberts 'pursues' former executives implicated in collusion". Business Day. South Africa. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  14. ^ a b Nicholson, Zara (15 July 2013). "Rigged tenders escape sanction". Cape Times. Retrieved 21 August 2014.

External linksEdit