Debajit Shome, Union Colours’ marketing director for Africa, says construction of the R200m greenfield development in Durban will commence in early 2018 and the factory will be operational towards the end of the year. “The plant, which will operate under the CZNA member company, Topwell Chemicals’ banner, will have a production capacity of 3 000 tons per year and feature state-of-the-art equipment. It will be used as springboard for exports of organic pigments to the rest of the world. In fact, as much as 90% of the projected annual output will be for the overseas market,” states Shome, adding, “Local users of organic pigments will also benefit as the lead times for supplying their needs will now be substantially reduced.”
He said the CZNA Group had chosen South Africa as its export hub because the Group had tremendous confidence not only in South Africa, but also regarded the African continent as the global epicentre for future economic growth.
“South Africa has the necessary brand equity and is centrally located for world exports. CZNA has tested the local waters; so to speak, by acquiring an established pigment production plant in Gauteng in 2015 and we now have extensive knowledge of the South African industrial environment and legislation. The Gauteng plant required a R60m investment and it will continue production to supplement the output of the new Durban factory which will be headed by Bo Zhu, as managing director, and myself as marketing director.
“The SA Paint Manufacturing Association has provided invaluable assistance and industry information that influenced our decision to invest heavily in South Africa, and the new Durban plant will fully support SAPMA’s lead-free paint campaign. The KwaZulu-Natal investment is only the start of much bigger plans. Union Colours is planning to invest a further R500m or more in South African production if operating conditions remain favourable,” Shome stated.
The CZNA Group, holding company of Topwell and Union Colours, currently produces over 68 000 tons of organic pigments per year with a capacity of 100 000 tons which is expected to increase to 130 000 tons in the foreseeable future.