In 1913, British United Engineering was established in Port Elizabeth, offering services to the shoe industry with machinery and supporting equipment. British United Engineering’s first product range included tack and nails for the then lucrative shoe and hardware industries. The company also specialised in manufacturing knives, cutters and other implements used in the footwear, clothing and printing industries.
In 1935, the Engineering Department was expanded and began to offer services in general engineering and plant maintenance. In 1965, the site in Cottrell Street, Korsten was purchased because of the ever-increasing demand for general engineering, tool and die manufacture and metal pressings for the motor industry.
An American company called the Emhart Corporation took control of the British Company in 1980. Unfortunately, due to political pressure, they eventually disinvested in 1987. BU Engineering changed its name to Formex Engineering and was sold to the Gutsche Family Investment Trust. The company became a major pressing supplier to the local vehicle manufacturers and assemblers. During 2003 Formex was sold to HCI who are the current owners.
In 2005, Baisch Engineering was purchased. Based in Johannesburg, Baisch Engineering was involved in the manufacturing of multi V pulleys for the OEM market. In 2006, a door module plant was set up in East London to supply the Mercedes Benz C-Class line. Neither of these two businesses are part of Formex Industries any longer.
In 2006, the current site in Markman Township was purchased from GM. During 2013, all operations from the Korsten Road site were transferred to Markman to consolidate operations and activities.