“I am a man of simplicity and live that as well. I have taste for luxury but live simple to accommodate the masses. For example, I use big cars for bigger tasks and when it is time for me to use small cars I do. This does not really influence my being. Rather, this is how we should live our lives. We should live in such a way that whoever is working with or around us is comfortable”, Mr. Kwabena Adjare Danquah told The Vaulz Magazine in 2018.
Metalex Company Limited was started in 1986 by Mr. Kwabena Adjare Danquah with one machine that produced 50 tonnes of the regular length corrugated roofing sheet in its initial days. Currently, the company produces 650 tonnes of different types of roofing sheets, tiles and other products from 12 machines. Situated in a suburb of Accra, the company started as a retailer of aluminium roofing sheets but later became a manufacturer of aluminium, clay and plastic roofing materials. Metalex owns other factories which produces clay roofing products and plastic roofing products.
On completion of high school, Danquah joined his father’s retail business and in 1981, with a loan of US$5,000 from his father, he started a small business selling steel filing cabinets. In 1983, Danquah became a salesman and stockist for Ghana Aluminium Products, the largest manufacturer of roofing materials in Ghana. Through his retail business he built up a good understanding of the industry and then decided to move into manufacturing by establishing Metalex to produce roofing sheets. Danquah travelled to the UK to seek equipment to manufacture aluminium roofing sheets. Realizing that the equipment could be produced much more cheaply in Africa, he sought the assistance of a South African engineer, who eventually manufactured the necessary equipment for him. This completed the firm’s transition into manufacturing.
From a tiny shop with only 15 workers in Tantra Hills, a suburb in the North Western part of the city of Accra, the company now has over 500 workers and two manufacturing centres in the heart of the city’s industrial and storage hub, the Spintex Road.
In its bid to become the biggest producers of roofing materials on the continent, Metalex has established a subsidiary in South Africa called Comet Steel, which is also into the manufacture of roofing sheets, metal gates, window frames and other metal products.
The founder of the company, Kwabena Danquah, is the CEO of the company, while his son Yaw Danquah is the General Manager. Metalex is the only roofing company in Ghana that covers aluminium sheet, clay and plastic products.
Diversification also contributes to the success of the company. Metalex also owns a clay brick facility that allows it to offer alternative solutions for customers together with its plastic roofing manufacturing facility with steel coils and frames imported from South Africa.
Metalex initially entered into a joint venture with Macsteel, a South African company which manufactured and supplied steel coils, under this contract, Metalex was forced to buy the products irrespective of price. When the relationship with Macsteel collapsed in 2004, Kwabena Danquah entered into a 50-50 joint venture with Comet Steel of South Africa to establish Macsteel Ghana.
The company currently exports products to West African countries including Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali and Togo. Metalex plans to establish a facility in Liberia and expand supply to other countries in West Africa.
Kwabena Danquah also owns the Obuoba Group, a collection of companies which include a hotel, a roofing entity, alcohol distillery and an FM station (Obuoba 97.1).
The future of the company is expanding into education. The aim is to allow the ordinary person on the street to come at par with a PhD holder. Metalex will begin to train people on the streets to acquire skills in artisanship through its institute called Metalex Institute of Technology and Tourism.
Currently, the institute has introduced a one to five day intensive courses for such people including block layers, electricians, steel benders, plumbers and others.
Metalex Institute of Technology and Tourism intends to equip the hundreds of thousands of the youth who are and will benefit from the government’s free Senior High School policy but will not be able to progress to the tertiary stage of their education pursuit. This will help to bridge the gap to enable them acquire skills to work and earn a decent living.
Kwabena Adjare Danquah’s businesses are said to be worth over US$500m according to Goodman AMC’s Ghana Wealth Report.
Timeline of events in Metalex History
1986: Began at Tantra Hills, Accra with production of regular length corrugated roofing sheets.
1988: Moved to Spintex Road, Accra.