Mario Levi Manufacturing SA, Uitenhage, have finally confirmed that they are to increase capacity to 2,400 hides/day with a R50 million expansion project, which is expected to be completed by January next year. The company processes from wet-blue to cut parts and the expansion applies to the entire production.

Managing director Tony Stottelaar said the new investment, all on their existing property, is the result of a joint venture between Mario Levi Manufacturing’s owners, Mario Levi SpA and Conceria Ambra Srl, and leather merchants Saftan International.

Where the other South African automotive leather tanneries concentrate mostly on full grain leathers for the luxury car market, Mario Levi have concentrated primarily on corrected grain automotive leathers for other sectors of the market, where there is considerable growth internationally as car companies offer leather upholstery as standard in more and more models.

The expansion follows additional business Mario Levi SA have tied up with some OEMs they had not previously been supplying. Stottelaar said the bulk of the new business was for export.