Masonite Africa reborn as Evowood

January 12, 2017

New brand, new markets for Evowood, formerly Masonite … (left to right) Hilton Loring (commercial director of Evowood), Quintin Terreblanche (director, Jacobs Capital), Nkosinathi Nhlangulela (director, Black Bird Capital) and Louis Marais, Evowood CEO.

Masonite Africa Limited, the South African market leader in hardboard and softboard for over 70 years, has been rebranded as Evowood.

The rebranding marks a new beginning and reflects the rejuvenation and reinvigoration of a company that was acquired by the proudly South African consortium of Jacobs Capital and Black Bird Capital in August 2016.

A condition of the sale agreement stipulates that the newly constituted company can only trade under the global Masonite™ brand until the end of January 2017.

“We understand how well known the Masonite™ brand is, and we will be co-branding our products for a short period. We want to ensure that our key partners – wholesalers, retailers and manufacturers – realise that they are not only buying the same quality products but supporting a brand that promises far more in the future,” said commercial director, Hilton Loring.

He believes that the rebranding goes beyond a simple name change. “The shackles are off and this company is evolving from being one that has been starved of investment by its global parent to one that has been freed up to reach its full potential through its new shareholders’ R300 million investment in processes, products and improved service.”

Loring says that, in much the same way as ‘hoover’ has become the generic term for a vacuum cleaner, he believes that ‘masonite’ has largely become the standard term for hardboard.

“It’s our vision that, as Evowood, we will take this company from what is mostly a hardboard manufacturer to a fully-fledged timber company participating in a broad range of categories. We believe that we have both the capacity and the capability to expand this company.”

In order to set the platform for this vision, Evowood has also created a number of sub-brands under the company logo:
•    Evosure: High quality hardboard and speciality hardboard products;
•    Evosoft: High quality softboard and fibre products;
•    Evodoor: High quality hardboard door skins and imported speciality skins.

Loring says that, up until now, the company has operated in just 10% of the market. It can now look to participating in a far broader spectrum of the timber market. It can now leverage additional local opportunities as a 51% black owned company and explore additional export markets as capacity is built back into the business.

Newly appointed chief executive officer, Louis Marais, concludes: “We’ve carefully thought about the image that we wanted to create for this business going forward. With key investment by our shareholders, we are now able to explore latent ideas and opportunities that will see us evolve into a truly South African company with a sustainable future.”

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*First published in SA Forestry magazine, Dec 2016

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