Bridgestone South Africa

Bridgestone invests R700 Million over five years

Jan 01, 2005

Bridgestone to invest R700m in Brits plant over five years

Bridgestone, the world's largest manufacturer of tyres and other rubber products, is to invest around R700 million in upgrading and expanding its Brits tyre manufacturing plant in North West Province over a five-year period.

The new investment takes Bridgestone's total investment in its South African operation (including the original purchase of Firestone South Africa by Bridgestone Japan) to R1,5 billion.

The Brits plant, which builds passenger, light commercial vehicle and truck steel belt tyres for the local market, has already benefited from some R210 million improvements over the past two years. A further R450 million will be spent in the next three years.

The new investment is being funded by Bridgestone South Africa (the new name of Bridgestone Firestone South Africa).

Takashi Wada, chairman and CEO of Bridgestone South Africa, said today that the new investment would be used to improve facilities in the Brits plant as well as to fund a major extension to the factory, which would accommodate a new, state of the art production line for run-flat tyres. It would also create around 70 new jobs in the short term.

The improvements would give Bridgestone increased capacity (by some 26 per cent in 2006 over 2003) and place it among only three Bridgestone plants in the world with the state of the art technology to produce run-flat tyres. The other plants are in Japan and Poland. By 2006, another two such plants will have been built in Japan.

Work has already commenced at Brits on the extension, which amounts to over 19 000 square metres and will include a new warehouse (the existing factory covers over 35 000 square metres together with a 5 400 square metre warehouse). Building is expected to be completed in April and tyre production is scheduled to start in September, including development of the run-flat tyres.

The run-flat tyres will be produced for the local market as well as for original equipment fitment to cars produced locally for export to other countries.

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Bridgestone South Africa

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