Dunlop - []

According to Sumitomo Rubber South Africa has invested R2bn to expand and upgrade its KwaZulu-Natal based Dunlop manufacturing plant in Ladysmith.

The company is a leading manufacturer of passenger and commercial tyres in South Africa. It currently employs 1,180 people and 900 of these are employed at the Ladysmith plant.

“Our R2bn investment consolidates our commitment to the South African and KwaZulu-Natal provincial economy, as well as the Ladysmith community.

“As one of the largest employers in Ladysmith, this will deepen our impact on stimulating job creation through increased manufacturing production and industrial development competitiveness,”  says Sumitomo Rubber South Africa CEO Riaz Haffejee in a statement.

Haffejee said the direct job creating impact and employment spinoffs, as a result of the completion of the first phase of the project, are already being realised.

“Employment levels are already being increased due to Phase One. The first of nearly 120 new employees needed over the next few years have already been recruited. Phase Two will attract a further 300, lifting the Ladysmith plant to over 1,200 employees on completion of the second investment phase,” he said.

Plans for expanding the Ladysmith plant commenced in 2014, with R1,1bn being allocated by parent company Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI) in Japan for the development of Phase One.

This initial phase directed investment and deployed resources into the upgrading and modernisation of the plant’s capacity, and focused on introducing new technology and equipment aimed at increasing the manufacturing output of high quality passenger and SUV tyres.

The value of the Phase Two expansion stands at an estimated R910m and focuses on the introduction and manufacture of truck and bus tyres for commercial use.

This Dunlop branded product line is currently being imported into South Africa from SRI plants in Japan and China due to the unavailability of suitable manufacturing capacity locally.

“The new investment will effectively terminate this current importation arrangement and establish a suitable local manufacturing base,” says the company.