Ladysmith, South Africa – Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (SRSA) has started the second phase of its R2 billion (€122 million) investment to upgrade and expand its tire manufacturing plant at Ladysmith, in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, the company has announced.
The manufacturer of the Dunlop brand, currently employs 1180 people, of which 900 are employed at the Ladysmith plant.
Plans for expansion of the Ladysmith plant started in 2014, as the company completed phase one of its development. This involved upgrading and modernisation of the plant’s capacity.
Phase one, said SRSA, focused on introducing new technology and equipment and aimed at increasing output of “high-quality passenger and SUV tires”
The phase two expansion, valued at R910 million, will focus on the introduction and manufacturing of truck and bus tires for commercial use.
“This Dunlop branded product line is currently being imported into South Africa from SRI plants in Japan and China, as suitable manufacturing capacity is not available locally,” said the company press release on 23 March.
The new investment, it added, will effectively terminate this current import arrangement and establish a suitable local manufacturing base.
According to SRSA, the under-utilised land adjacent to the existing plant, on which the development will take place, was donated to SRSA at no cost by the Emnambithi Ladysmith municipality.