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December newsletter – PG Bison announces R2 billion in capital investments

PG Bison Gerhard Victor

PG Bison, a proudly South African company, and the leading manufacturer of wood-based panel products has announced an R2 billion capital investment to be rolled out over the next three years. The announcement was made at the 2020 South Africa Investment Conference on 17 November 2020. The capital projects include a major capacity expansion to PG Bison’s existing facilities in eMkhondo (Piet Retief), Mpumalanga, as well as an additional new medium density fibreboard (MDF) plant at the same location.

PG Bison is committed to the future of South Africa and we believe that these investments will support President Cyril Ramaphosa’s vision of growing domestic manufacturing as part of the economic recovery plan, and also increase our ability to service market demand for our products and help to establish stronger local supply solutions,” says PG Bison CEO Gerhard Victor.

PG Bison is part of KAP Industrial Holdings, a diversified industrial group consisting of industrial, chemical and logistics businesses that employs more than 19 000 people. One of the group’s strategic objectives is to be an industry leader in its chosen markets and Victor believes that its continued investment into PG Bison is evidence of this strategy.

In the wake of COVID-19, we’ve seen increased appetite for import replacement, and an uptick in people investing into their homes as remote work becomes the norm,” says Victor. “We have been investing in upgrading our eMkhondo operations since 2017, through a multi-stage capital investment programme to help us increase our production capacity and ensure that we can sustainably supply the long-term local market demand.

PG Bison is investing an additional R560 million into a new front-end dryer for its particleboard plant. This will significantly increase capacity, moving the eMkhondo plant to more than 1 000m³ per day of particleboard production. This additional investment comes on the back of the R600 million already spent on a new Siempelkamp Contiroll press and forming line. The project is due for completion by December 2021.

The next stage in the company’s plans is to build a new additional MDF plant. The project will commence in 2022 and the first board is expected off the line in the middle of 2023. The capital investment project and the localisation opportunities it will create, has been positively received by government at all levels. We are confident that with the support that has already been expressed by government, that this project will be successfully implemented and create further growth for all our customers and suppliers in the value chain. A total of R1.42 billion will be invested in this new plant.

Currently, we produce 400m3 per day at our MDF plant in Boksburg. With the new additional plant coming online, we will ramp this up by 200% with an additional 800m3 per day of MDF. This will give PG Bison a total installed capacity on MDF of 1 200m3 per day between our two MDF plants,” says Victor. “We believe the effects of these investments will be significant, contributing to the creation of direct and indirect jobs, as well as skills and enterprise development and further local partnerships.”

PG Bison has successfully implemented various other upgrade projects at the eMkhondo (Piet Retief) facility over the past three years, which have included a new forming line and latest technology Siempelkamp Contiroll press as a first phase, and installing and commissioning its sixth melamine faced board (MFB) press, which came online on 21 August 2019.

The company is a large employer in the region and has created hundreds of sustainable jobs in its rural operations across the country. “We support South African growth and believe our capital projects are in line with the vision for the South African Furniture Master Plan and Forestry Master Plan,” says Victor. “We see these capital equipment investment projects as a means of investing in the future of PG Bison as well as the future of the country and the industries we serve.

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