Unilever South Africa plans to invest R1 billion in the construction of a home care products plant and in upgrading and expanding existing plants.
The new plant will produce brands such as Omo, Handy Andy, Domestos, Comfort and Sunlight and will be built adjacent to Unilever SA’s main distribution centre in Boksburg.
Unilever SA chairman Marijn van Tiggelen said: “This factory forms part of a multi-year, multibillion-rand investment by Unilever SA to cater for our growth.
“It will enable us to better serve South African consumers with innovation and green technology, as well as improve service levels to our retail consumers.”
Unilever SA would use R800 million to build the plant and R200 million would be invested in upgrading and expanding existing plants.
Van Tiggelen added that this R800 million project was one of Unilever’s largest investments globally and underscored the company’s commitment to the long-term future of South Africa and the continent.
Construction on the new site would begin in the first half of this year, with the first products expected to roll off the lines in 2014.
Unilever said the production plant was being built to accommodate future growth and onshore production of certain products that were being imported at present.
“We are observing higher levels of consumption in the home care category, and consumers are responding positively to the innovations we are bringing to the market,” Unilever said.
The new factory would enable the company to continue to innovate. It would include high-speed packing lines, which would allow efficient packing and increased productivity.
Green technology would help to reduce, reuse and recycle water, energy and waste.