IDZ gets seven new investors

6 December 2006

THERE are seven new investors in the East London Industrial Development Zone's new Automobile Supplier Park, it was announced on Wednesday, 6 December.

They will inject R395-million into the industrial development zone (IDZ), bringing the total investment to R755-million since its inception. The announcement was attended by Buffalo City officials and councillors, representatives from the Border Kei Chamber of Business, the provincial government and the Amathole District Municipality, and other business partners.

Speaking at the announcement the zone's chief executive officer, Simphiwe Kondlo, said the new investments would more than double the value of investment committed to the IDZ, while almost tripling the number of companies that would be settling there.

"These investors are part of the automotive cluster that has been developed by the [zone] in an attempt to further strengthen the province's capabilities in the automotive industry. The most exciting part is that we are talking about investments that are at an advanced stage of establishment," he said.

"We are talking about companies whose premises have already been constructed, companies who are already starting to bring their equipment into their factories within the zone."

In the past 18 months the IDZ had attracted almost 10 investors, including the newly announced ones. "Three of those companies are already operating from the zone, that is a definite signal that as an economic development initiative, it is starting to reap the reward," Kondlo said.

The seven new investors were mostly first-tier automotive component suppliers to DaimlerChrysler South Africa's W204 model to be launched in 2007. The Automobile Supplier Park, the biggest project undertaken by the zone, was constructed to meet the demands of DaimlerChrysler's new Mercedes Benz C-Class model.

"It was in July this year that we awarded the contract for the construction of the Automobile Supplier Park. Now, just five months later, factories are up and machinery is starting to go in and the [park] is almost ready for business," Kondlo said.

The new investors would create 600 jobs in the automotive industry, one of the country's strongest performing sectors.

Talking about the zone's benefits, the Border Kei Chamber of Business executive director, Les Holbrook, said that he was happy with the new investors. "This shows that investors have confidence in the city and we are behind the IDZ in its effort to create employment for the city."

Buffalo City municipal manager Gaster Sharpley congratulated the zone for attracting new investors into the city. "There are a lot of challenges facing the zone but we are very happy that our IDZ is committed to developing the city. I would like to pledge our support to its growth and its efforts to bring more investors into the city."

The new investors, all in the automotive industry, are Johnson Controls, Feltex Automotive Trim, Feltex Fehrer, Futuris Feltex, Carcoustics, Eurofit and TI Automotive. They all do business with car manufactures like DaimlerChrysler South Africa, BMW, Toyota, Ford, Nissan and Volkswagen.

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IDZ chief executive Simphiwe Kondlo with some of the new investors
IDZ chief executive Simphiwe Kondlo with some of the new investors

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