Branaa to become Zenda20 November 2006
Branaa SA (Pty) Ltd were due to start finishing from crust during October. The company, which opened in 1997, have until now been a cutting operation only, importing finished leather from their parent company in Uruguay. General manager Romualdo Varela said the company had 'confidence in South Africa' and had also been 'encouraged by OEMs to extend their local operations and local content, which benefits OEMs in terms of the Motor Industries Development Programme (MIDP). Branaa's customers in South Africa are BMW, Audi, Ford/Mazda and Nissan. He declined to give details of the finishing plant's capacity or planned production. The entire operation moved to new premises earlier this year - barely 300m from their old premises - to accommodate the new finishing department. To begin with, Branaa will import crust from Uruguay and Argentina, but he said sourcing local crust was 'one of the issues on the table', and that the company would wait to see how business evolved. He said the problems at Eagle Ottawa SA, which is now in the process of closing, had not influenced Branaa's decision to expand their local operations one way or the other. 'By the time Eagle Ottawa began experiencing major problems, the decision to begin finishing here had been taken', he said. From December this year, Branaa will change their name internationally to Zenda. 'The major reason was to give the company a corporate facelift', Varela said. 'Also, the Branaa family, which owns the group, wanted its name less in the limelight. However, there has been no change of ownership or anything else. It's just a name change.'