LADYSMITH, South Africa (March 28, 2016) — Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. (SRI) is planning to add capacity for radial truck and bus tires at its plant in Ladysmith to meet rising demand for such tires in African markets.
SRI has budgeted $55 million to cover the installation of production equipment for TBR tires at the plant it acquired from Apollo Tyres Ltd. in 2013. SRI said it expects the new capacity to come on stream in mid-2018.
Having capacity closer to these markets will allow the tire maker to strengthen its tire sales business in Africa and accelerate the pace of the group's global growth and development, SRI said. The plant operates under the auspices of Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
Kobe, Japan-based SRI did not disclose the scale of capacity it's planning to install at Ladysmith nor the effect on employment. The 44-year-old factory's daily capacity for car and light truck tires is put at 10,000 units, with 1,121 hourly employees.
This latest investment is on top of $100 million SRI committed in 2014 to to expand overall capacity — to 12,200 tires a day by 2016 and 14,500 tires a day by 2017 — and upgrade capacity for high-performance tires.