KZN business scoops 2019 Exporter of the Year Award

Thursday, 31 October 2019

"Sumitomo Rubber South Africa clinches KZN Exporter of the Year - Africa"

Image: From Left to right: Ian Pillay Group Manager: Sales (International Business) and Riaan Rix Group Manager: Sales (International Business)

Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (Pty) Ltd has won at the KZN Exporter of the Year Awards – for the second year in a row. Announced on 17 October at the awards banquet held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban, the KwaZulu-Natal tyre manufacturer, better known as Sumitomo Dunlop, received the prestigious award of KZN Exporter of Year 2019 in the Africa category.

“2019 has been a challenging year for Sumitomo Dunlop. Apart from the tough economic conditions in the domestic market, which showed its third consecutive contraction in tyre market volume, we have also been commissioning and ramping up production after our investment into the factory upgrade and extension over the past few years. As a result, the export market has become even more important to us,” said Riaz Haffejee, CEO of Sumitomo Rubber South Africa. “This was also the year of our 130-year celebration of the Dunlop brand and to win the KZN Exporter of the Year Award is a such a great honour. This win further affirms that we are on track to be the number 1 tyre manufacturer in Africa.”

Currently exporting into 48 countries in Africa, Sumitomo Dunlop has a fast-growing retail footprint with close to 500 branded franchise stores. These cater for the tyre fitment needs of consumers and commercial fleet owners providing access to safe, quality tyres.

The Sumitomo Dunlop brand has continued to invest in the local economy, creating jobs in the region while increasing tyre output and export capacity. The upgrading of the existing Ladysmith passenger car, SUV/4X4 and light truck tyre facility improved access of our premium tyres into the continent. Officially launched in October 2018, the establishment of a world-class, 180 000m² custom built truck and bus radial tyre manufacturing plant, further expanded our offering, making inroads into this vital market.

“Africa holds great expansion and investment potential,” says Haffejee. “Sumitomo Dunlop continues to invest in innovative technologies, research and development to ensure that we continue to deliver quality tyre products to the market, prioritising safety on the roads.”

The company’s commitment to economic growth, skills development and safety have been recognised by both industry stakeholders and the public. At the inaugural KZN Investor Awards in September, Sumitomo Dunlop walked away with the KZN Investor 2019 Award, also winning the Most Impactful Investor and Major Capital Investor Awards. The Dunlop brand was again voted the #1 Tyre Brand by consumers in the 2019/2020 Ask Afrika TGI Survey – the seventh win since 2011.

The 2019 Exporter of the Year Awards, now in its 19th year, aims to recognise and celebrate exporters in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, highlighting the success of local businesses and stimulating the growth of the economy by encouraging other businesses to strive for similar achievements. The 2019 Awards were hosted by The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry in partnership with Transnet Port Terminals, a key enabler of exporters and the country’s leading terminal operator responsible for commercial import and export operations.

Sumitomo Dunlop was up against impressive competition in the Africa company category, with Sappi Southern Africa and Imperial Armour amongst the finalists.

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