18 March 2013
Procter & Gamble (P&G) is to invest more than R1.6-billion in a new manufacturing plant in South Africa as the global consumer goods group moves to make the country its manufacturing hub for southern and eastern Africa.
“South Africa is the most advanced economy in Africa and represents an attractive investment destination with good infrastructure,” Dimitri Panayotopoulos, P&G’s vice-chairman in charge of global business units, told a media conference held jointly with Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies in Johannesburg on Friday.
Panayotopoulos said the new manufacturing plant would operate according to the highest sustainability standards and would become one of the largest P&G facilities in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, producing a range of products for export to southern and eastern Africa.
African manufacturing hub
“We aim to make South Africa P&G’s manufacturing hub for the markets of southern and eastern Africa,” he said, adding that the new investment would create over 500 additional jobs at P&G.
Construction is expected to begin in 2014 on a greenfield site which P&G will acquire in the near future, with production expected to commence in 2016 or early 2017.
In 2009, P&G built a R500-million manufacturing plant for Pampers nappies in Johannesburg, creating hundreds of jobs and attracting a further R6.6-million in investments from suppliers.
‘Vote of confidence in South Africa’
Davies, also speaking at Friday’s press conference, said the company’s latest investment bore testimony to the role that business was playing in South Africa’s economic development, was a vote of confidence in the future of the country.
“Since P&G entered the South African market, it has contributed to creating environmentally and socially responsible economic growth and, in particular, more South African jobs,” Davies said.
“Such investment clearly demonstrates the confidence in South Africa as an investment destination and South Africa as the gateway into the African continent.”
Davies said that Africa’s economic integration was imminent, with the continent moving to address the challenges posed by fragmented markets, insufficient trade diversification and low levels of intra-African trade.
He said that creating larger regional markets would increase specialisation and competition, while boosting manufacturing by offering improved economies of scale in industrial production.