SMD History

SMD is the longest standing and most established marine electronics company
in Africa today. Whilst SMD as we are today, was officially formed in 1957,
our roots go even further back to as far as 1939, when Mr. Horace Dainty
(our original founding partner) formed a company with his co-investors
(Smith & Matson) and linked their surnames together to form “SMD Manufacturing Company”.
SMD RT422B Pamphlet

During the war period, SMD’s efforts were primarily geared towards manufacturing
of communications equipment for both UDF and British forces and during this time
designed and manufactured specialised radio equipment such as the M17 radio. 
After the war, Dainty quickly revitalised SMD manufacturing and development
operations in the old SMD factory in Pinetown, Durban where SMD won a tender
from the CSIR to develop the WADLEY RECEIVER, which led to the developed RA17 for RACAL (UK)
and also manufactured hundreds of thousands transistor radios under the
EVERREADY name to the local market.

SMD FSR26 Pamphlet

Then in 1957, SMD registered SMD Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd as a
separate marine division to service the naval and merchant ships
(headed up by Mr. Duncan Compton-James). In the early 1960’s a number
of things happened:

  • SMD formed a Joint Venture with RACAL and established RACAL-SMD
  • BARLOW Group acquires SMD Manufacturing Company and becomes Barlow Manufacturing Company
  • RACAL increased their stake in RACAL-SMD and establishes their full presence in South Africa, namely
  • (RACAL ELECTRONICS SOUTH AFRICA). Thus ultimately becoming the SAAB GRINTEK of today.
RACAL SMD Factory 1963


During this time, Duncan Compton-Jones purchased the full equity in
SMD Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd  and moved operations to Cape Town
where our head office is based today! During the 1990’s Duncan Crompton-Jones
sold his shares in SMD to his senior staff member,Mr. Arend de boer who also became the CEO.

  • In 2012, Grupoarbulu (Spain) acquired an 80% share in SMD, making SMD a part of one of the world’s
  • leading marine electronics companies.
  • In 2014 Arend de boer retired as CEO and is succeeded by Mr Brian Chambers as MD.