Dunlop to invest R1.7bn in SA plant upgrade
Facility to strengthen the company’s 20% share of the local original equipment tyre market
Dunlop will spend R1.7bn to upgrade its SA plant, in a project backed by its Japan-based parent company, Sumitomo Rubber Industries.
The investment includes new plant equipment and machinery and comes after Sumitomo Rubber SA’s multibillion-rand investment in 2018 in a 180,000m² facility at the plant to make truck and bus tyres.
The company announced the investment at the 50th anniversary of its Ladysmith plant, which opened in October 1973. Sumitomo Rubber SA manufactures Dunlop tyres and also distributes the Sumitomo and Falken tyre brands.
“The plant will be able to run a wider set of products, producing more tyres that meet and exceed OE [original equipment] specifications, and that are safety-tested for all South Africans” said Sumitomo Rubber SA CEO Lubin Ozoux. “At the same time, it gives us the opportunity to continue our investment in our local community and municipality, creating a vibrant environment for us all to thrive.”
Dunlop holds about 20% of the local original equipment tyre market and has agreements in place with Toyota, Nissan, Isuzu, Hino, Tata, Scania and UD Trucks.
Sumitomo Rubber SA has a presence in 23 African countries, supplying car, van and SUV tyres to Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“SA has an 88-year history of tyre manufacturing, and this plant is Africa’s largest tyre producer. The investment ... serves as a clear signal of the confidence that international investors have in SA and reflects the progress we have made with the SA Automotive Master Plan,” Minister of Trade Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel said during a visit to the plant on October 2.
“This investment will provide a boost to local production, strengthen the factory’s output, and support local jobs ... It also marks a significant step towards achieving President [Cyril] Ramaphosa’s R2-trillion target for new investments over the next five years,” Patel said.
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