P&G to invest $175 mln on a factory in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, March 19 Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:32am EDT

JOHANNESBURG, March 19 (Reuters) - Procter & Gamble Co. , the world's biggest household products maker, is to build a $175 million export-oriented factory in South Africa, the latest multinational to position itself for take-off on the fast-growing continent.

Africa has been in the limelight for global consumer firms since Wal-Mart's $2.4 billion acquisition in 2011 of South African retailer Massmart gave the world's largest retailer a foothold in several sub-Saharan countries.

P&G, which already makes nappies for Africa's biggest economy in a factory near Johannesburg, said the new plant would make a range of products including detergents for local markets and export to southern and east Africa.

Construction of the 1.6 billion rand ($174.6 million) plant would start next year with production expected by 2017, the company said.

P&G's expansion in South Africa pits it against domestic firm Tiger Brands and Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever, which has said it plans to double its Africa revenue in next few years.

Swiss consumer foods maker Nestle is in the middle of a 1 billion Swiss francs ($1.06 billion) investment in expanding and upgrading facilities in Africa.