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Consol’s R1,9bn green plant opens
Consol’s R1,9bn green plant opens

Consol’s R1,9bn green plant opens


Business Day - Nov 18th 2011, 08:39

Consol Glass has officially opened its R1,1bn new environmentally efficient, world-class plant in Nigel near Johannesburg, mainly producing bottles for alcoholic beverages. 

But the full cost of the greenfields project is R1,9bn, allowing the group to add five more furnaces, to meet glass demand for decades.

The facility’s primary furnace has been fully operational since mid-September, meeting immediate market demand.

The product lines were all new, bottling drinks ranging from Smirnoff Spin and Brutal Fruit, to Hunter’s Dry and Savannah cider, the group said yesterday.

About 20% of production would be exports of both filled and empty bottles to the US, Europe and Africa. "We produce about 110000 tons (of glass) a year – or about 1,6-million units a day," group MD Mike Arnold, said.

This adds about 12% of new capacity to the group, or about 530-million glass containers a year. Mr Arnold said total annual glass demand for domestic bottling was slightly more than 1-million tons a year.

Consol, Africa’s largest glass packaging manufacturer, with about 80% of market share in SA, already has the capacity to produce nearly all of this.

But with rapid projected growth in demand, competition is heating up. This week, JSE-listed diversified packaging maker Nampak , said it might invest as much as R4bn over the next six years in new glass furnaces in SA, and elsewhere in Africa. "We have identified glass as one of the core businesses going forward," Nampak CEO Andrew Marshall said on Wednesday.

Mr Arnold said the Nigel factory was designed to produce Consol’s entire range of products, employing nearly 200 people. It had already injected about R50m into the surrounding community.

Consol said recycling was a key focus at the plant. 

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