Unilever South Africa to invest R1bn in new plant, expansion

Unilever South Africa on Wednesday said it would invest more than R1 billion in a new plant and on the upgrade and expansion of existing operations.

The new home care plant - worth in excess of R800 million - will produce popular brands like Omo, Skip, Handy Andy, Domestos, Comfort and Sunlight and will be built in Anderbolt, Boksburg, adjacent to Unilever South Africa's main distribution centre.

The company said construction will commence shortly and that the plant would incorporate "Unilever's latest manufacturing technologies" to improve service levels to its retail customers and create a low-energy, zero-waste and environmentally efficient plant.

The first production is expected off the lines in 2014.

This investment forms part of the fast-moving consumer goods producer's multiyear, multibillion-rand sustainable living strategy, Unilever SA chairperson Marijn van Tiggelen said.

"The R800-million project is one of Unilever's largest investments globally and underscores our commitment to the long-term future of South Africa and the continent as a whole," he said.

Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Chief Supply Chain Officer Unilever, added: "We have a long history in South Africa and we have a strong commitment to its future, its growth and economic development. This new factory is another example of Unilever's vision in action - to double the size of our business whilst reducing the environmental impact. Not only will it enable us to grow our presence in the region, but it also highlights our determination to sustainability as it will use the latest technology and insights to create a low energy, zero waste and environmentally efficient factory."

Unilever will also invest about R200 million to upgrade and expand its existing plants, as it works towards its aim of doubling the business size and reducing its overall environmental footprint.

The investments are supported by the Department of Trade and Industry's 12-I Tax Allowance Incentive scheme and follows on the opening of the Unilever Savoury dry foods factory in KwaZulu-Natal by Minister Rob Davies during December 2011.

Image: Getty

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