Butterworth plant closed down

15 November 2003

Butterworth Tannery, the joint venture wet-blue operation between Springbok Trading and Sparta Beef, has been closed. 'It was an untenable situation', Springbok managing director Paul Ward said. 'There were constant problems with electricity, water and theft, and eventually Sparta demanded that either we move production or they would look elsewhere. As far back as April this year we even contemplated moving the entire operation to Welkom, near Sparta's feedlot.' Production has been shifted to Springbok's wholly-owned wet-blue plant, Riverside Tanning, in Uitenhage, and Ward said there were negotiations with Sparta to perhaps make that a joint-venture. He said there was 'no link' between the decision to close Butterworth and Springbok's management of the Exoblue wet-blue plant, like Springbok, part of the Daun group. 'Riverside has the capacity to produce 1,000 hides/day, but it was limping along, waiting for overseas prices to firm. With the Sparta hides, we now only have to find another 8,000 hides/month to fill it. Exoblue, too, has been affected by overseas prices, and while it has the capacity to produce 2,500 hides/day, we have reduced the staff to a 1,300 hides/day operation.'

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