GURGAON, India (May 22, 2012)—Apollo Tyres Ltd. has opened a component preparation unit at its Ladysmith, South Africa, tire plant, a $35 million project that will result in tire production capacity hikes at two factories.
The company said the 70,000-sq.-ft. expansion at its Apollo Tyres South Africa (Pty.) Ltd. subsidiary, including the addition of a calendaring machine and triplex extrusion line, will remove bottlenecks, improve quality and productivity, and enable the capacity expansions. The project will result in a 20-percent hike in commercial vehicle tire capacity at Apollo's Durban, South Africa, factory, and 30-percent rise in capacity at the Ladysmith facility for passenger and light truck tires.
Speaking at the opening, Apollo Chairman Onkar S. Kanwar said South Africa's tire makers face a high manufacturing and wage costs, and the threat of cheaper exports.
“Despite the challenges of the overall economy, at Apollo we will continue to invest in our people, plants and processes to strengthen Apollo Tyres South Africa for expansion into the African continent. South Africa has enormous potential and all of us need to work together to realize it,” he said.
Since the acquisition of the former Dunlop Tyre facilities in South Africa, Apollo has invested about $85 million to upgrade machinery and increase manufacturing efficiencies in both plants. Substantial investments have also been made in people development and skill building in local communities, the company said.