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08. April 2008

South Africa - Indian firms eye Coega

Johannesburg - Three major Indian companies have expressed an interest in investing in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) said.

This follows news earlier this year that Indian companies are considering investing R16 billion in projects at the Coega IDZ outside Port Elizabeth.

As operator of the Coega IDZ, CDC last year started focusing on securing increased investment from the Indian sub-continent as companies from that region begin to expand their global footprint.

CDC business development manager Belu Mabandla and CDC chemicals specialist Duane Mouton recently returned from a two-week-long working trip to India and Thailand, where they met with 22 companies in the metals, chemicals and automotive sectors.

"Five of the companies showed an exceptional interest in locating to the IDZ," said Mabandla.

Of those, three were at a feasibility stage and would be making an investment decision as to their location of choice by the end of the next financial year, she said.

These companies are involved in producing duct lines, which have applications in the telecommunications industry, in auto parts production and in property development for the IDZ's services precinct.

The other two possible investors are a steel and foundry mill and an iron ore pellet and ferromanganese plant, the CDC said in a statement.

"We're expecting visits by senior delegations from four of the companies by the end of the month. We'll then engage further on how the CDC can assist them in managing the process of locating to the IDZ," said Mabandla.

Meanwhile, the Coega IDZ and South Africa are seen as a launch pad to the African continent by Chinese investors.

In January the CDC said 15 companies from both China and India were interested in locating their investments at Coega.

At the time the CDC said one of the projects under consideration was large enough to occupy nearly half of the automotive cluster, once all phases had been completed.

Christopher Mashigo, another business development manager at CDC, said the level of interest from China was beyond his expectations.

"Four to six visits are planned with Chinese companies this year for site visits and discussions regarding the project," said Mashigo.

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