ColorMatrix, an international supplier of liquid colour and additives for plastic products, opened its first African facility, in Cape Town, on Thursday.
The company, which is a subsidiary of PolyOne Corporation, had chosen the country to launch its African operation as a South Africa-based business, which would give it credibility in other African countries, said ColorMatrix MD for Europe, Middle East and Africa, William Ravenna.
On choosing Cape Town, Ravenna explained: “We did look at Johannesburg and the real reasons [we chose Cape Town] were safety, an excellent port nearby where we could bring in materials easily, and it’s simply a nice place to set up.”
Ravenna said the company had already been supplying customers in South Africa for 12 years. “We have quite a big business base here in South Africa and so we very much view South Africa as a gateway to these other growing markets and it’s a growing market itself.”
The new facility in Montague Gardens had a floor space of 1 800 m2 comprising office space, a colour laboratory and warehouse space. Initially five employees would be housed at the facility, these being a customer services manager, two account managers, a technical service engineer and the South African GM, Dennis Williams.
Having staff on the ground in the country would allow the company to immediately improve support to its customers operating in the polyethylene terephthalate packaging, polyvinyl chloride extrusion and injection moulding industries. Improved support would especially be seen in faster colour development processes, as well as quicker and more efficient provision of the full range of products and services. Key would be the technical service engineer who would work on-site with customers, assisting with product trials, production start-ups and providing ongoing production support.
“In terms of the full service package approach that ColorMatrix has to the market place, we are very definitely not in the commodity sale business. We understand that cost is always going to be important to a customer but the way we market our specific range of products is to see how we can supply our expertise, our products and our systems [so] that . . . we can provide a full service package approach and deliver that value to them,” said Williams.
Speaking at the opening of the facility, Western Cape Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Minister Alan Winde said he believed ColorMatrix had made a good investment by opening the facility in Cape Town. “This part of Africa is a great place to be seen as a springboard, to base yourselves, and then to look at sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of Africa. Of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world at the moment, six of those ten are in Africa. So we do believe you’ve made the right choice.”
Winde added that in the last three years the total foreign direct investment in the Western Cape had amounted to R30.1-billion. This had been made up by 80 projects and had created more than 6 900 direct jobs. The most number of projects, which was 15, had come from the UK with the US having brought in 13 projects.
“In line with the Western Cape government’s first strategic objective - creating growth and jobs - we are doing all that we can to make it easy to do business in our region. This investment by ColorMatrix is evidence of our success in this regard,” said Winde.