Oct 04, 2018: Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (SRSA), the tyre manufacturer has officially launched its new truck and bus radial (TBR) factory in Ladysmith, KwaZulu Natal.

The factory, which will see truck and bus tyres manufactured in South Africa, is a R970-million new addition to the company’s plant in the province and forms part of the second phase of Sumitomo’s multibillion-rand investment to upgrade and modernise capacity. This brings the manufacturer’s total investment in the Ladysmith facility to more than R2 billion since 2014.

“SRSA’s total investment in employment, utilities and procurement has doubled since 2014, which has had a direct impact on the town and has served as a catalyst for community development and entrepreneurship,” said SRSA CEO Riaz Haffejee.

He said that 19 employees at the new factory had been sent for training in Japan where they were able to develop their technological methodology in order to transfer their knowledge to the shop floor staff in South Africa.

Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI) CEO Ikuji Ikeda, said one of the reasons for the investment was the potential in the African market generated by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement which he said would support SRI’s business initiatives.

The production at the plant commenced in July this year and while the tyres will be designed in Japan, they will be tested and manufactured in South Africa - for Africa. The facility is certified to test the tyres to European compliance standards.

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