$100m coatings plant for KZN

25 July 2007

Mauritius-based Safal Investments, which owns steel-coating facilities in eastern and southern Africa, plans to build a US$100-million plant near Durban in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province.

Business Day reports this week that the plant, to be built in Cato Ridge, is the company’s third investment in the country and will create about 300 jobs for the local community.

Safal South Africa chief executive Ronnie Graham told Business Day that the Cato Ridge plant would produce 150 000 tons of coated steel a year in its first three to four years.

“Strategically, it is a good area because of its proximity to the Durban port, which we believe is still the best for export and import,” Graham told Business Day. “It is also on the main railway line between Johannesburg and Durban.”

The company will buy steel either locally from Mittal Steel, or import it from Japan and India, and then export the finished product to other parts of Africa.

Graham told Engineering news earlier this month that construction on the plant would begin as soon as an environmental impact assessment was completed, possibly by October this year, and that the International Finance Corporation and the Industrial Development Corporation had expressed interest in the project.

Graham also Business Day that Safal was negotiating with four unnamed black economic empowerment companies on the sale of a 30% stake in the project.

According to the newspaper, the company’s other two investments are in the Safrintra steel roof company, which has factories in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth, and in a local steel reinforcing company.

SouthAfrica.info reporter

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