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Tenders open for liquidated leatherworks

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Sutherland Tannery, which is situated in Plessislaer, struggled for years to survive, despite the soaring increase in cheaper imports of leather

Peter Maskell Auctioneers is inviting tenders for the purchase of the contents of the established and once profitable Sutherland Tannery in Pietermaritzburg, which is in liquidation.

The closing date for tenders is noon on February 28. Assets will be offered on a piecemeal basis or as a lot, subject to conclusion of a new lease agreement with the property’s landlord.

Pietermaritzburg was once the hub of the South African footwear industry with almost 20% of the sector’s employees based there. South Africa once made about 30million pairs of shoes annually.

Sutherland Tannery, which is situated in Plessislaer, struggled for years to survive, despite the soaring increase in cheaper imports of leather, particularly from Brazil and India.

Ten years ago, the tannery optimistically embarked on a resurrection programme and announced plans to produce 800 dyed crust split leather and 50 full grain hides daily. But in a democratic South Africa now trading with the world, the import odds were stacked against the company and it declined from business rescue to liquidation.

The tannery specialised in the production of split leather – the core of Sutherland’s business. “Splits” are created from the corium left once the top-grain has been separated from the hide, known as the drop split. Splits are often used to create suede footwear.

Full-grain leather, the other Sutherland speciality, is the strongest and most durable leather and derived from the grain pattern of the hide.

Viewing of the tannery is by appointment.

For a full list of the assets and tender documents, call Seone Maskell on 0828090188 or 0333971190, email seone@maskell.co.za or see www.maskell.co.za.

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