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Proud history proven performance

Colas operates state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities at its three branches, producing bitumen emulsions, cutback bitumen and polymer modified binders. Colas also operates a modern fleet of binder distributors, microsurfacing units and delivery vehicles to service the requirements of the South African road surfacing industry.

The current Colas group in South Africa is a combination of the three original bitumen emulsion companies established here in the late 1920s and early 1930s, namely Colas, African Bitumen Emulsions and Vialit. Colas, a subsidiary of Shell, started operations in 1928 in Bellville, Cape Town, while African Bitumen Emulsions was started in 1932 in Durban by a British shipping company, Cory Mann George, and Vialit was started in 1931 by the Bruckmann brothers in Maitland, Cape Town. In South Africa, the name Colas was changed to Petrocol in 1968. The companies expanded activities to Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, East London, Bloemfontein, Oudtshoorn, Tzaneen and Hectorspruit. In the late 1950s factories and depots were opened in Nairobi, Kenya and in Ndola, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). After many years of independent operation, they were later incorporated into the Murray and Roberts group when Vialit was purchased from Engen Petroleum in 1997.

Murray and Roberts sold the binders business to Colas France in 2000, and thereafter Colas France made large capital investments in the local company, including renewal of the sprayer, slurry and delivery fleet, as well as revamping and equipping all the emulsion factories with the latest state-of-the-art computerised continuous manufacturing units. The polymer modified binder blending units at some of the factories were also modernised to improve production capacity, and additional branches were opened in Kampala, Uganda and in Beira, Mozambique.

Many of the smaller branches in South Africa were closed in the early part of 2000, as economies of scale dictated production and supply from the three main branches located in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. The branches in Port Elizabeth, East London, Bloemfontein and Hectorspruit became depots and are now supplied by the main branches in their region.

Between 2005 and 2016 Colas have shown its commitment in maintaining its position as a world class market leader through its investments and continuous improvement of the fleet and manufacturing facilities. Today Colas operates state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities at its branches, producing bitumen emulsions, cutback bitumen and polymer modified binders. Colas also operates a modern fleet of binder distributors, microsurfacing units and delivery vehicles to service the requirements of the South African road surfacing industry.

In May 2013 the Colas Bitumen branch was established to optimise bitumen procurement, storage and supply to Colas branches within South Africa. In the same year Colas acquired a 50% stake in Dust-a-Side, an international company specialising in total dust management of open cast and underground mines. In 2016 Ringgold invested in Colas South Africa and the employee trust initiative was also launched. This assisted Colas South Africa to improve its B-BBEE status to a level 4 contributor.