From humble beginnings, our Liquid Colours story is one of ambition, dedication and drive in an ever-changing industrial climate demanding flexibility and adaptability to succeed.

We trace our Liquid Colours genesis back to the founders’ deep-seated passion and admiration for the majesty, beauty, character, power and athleticism of thoroughbreds and horse racing.

What started out as a dream to breed and race horses, steadily and progressively evolved into a successful family-owned group of companies, highly respected for producing thoroughbred-quality colourants and pigment dispersions catering to a variety of industries.

More than half a century on, Liquid Colours and our holding company Speed Bird Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd., have retained aspirations to build champion-stock products, and we have, over the years, diligently made our mark on both local and international turfs.

Motivated by a collective love of horse racing, the Peters family went into a partnership agreement with the intention of breeding thoroughbred horses. Later that year, the partnership was replaced with the establishment of an aptly-named company – Thoroughbred Enterprises (Pty) Ltd. One horse was purchased, and in 1970, had a foal.


It was decided that Thoroughbred Enterprises (Pty) Ltd. should be the vehicle for the family dream – rather than the destination. Breeding was taken over by the shareholders in their personal capacity. The Peters family started manufacturing and trading paint from a garage. The paint was branded Tepyl Paints, i.e. a name generated from the initials of the company, ‘Thoroughbred Enterprises (Pty) Ltd.’ They moved operations to a small factory in Germiston on the East Rand of Johannesburg that same year. The first couple of years saw the rapid growth of the company, and the facility was moved to bigger premises in Edenvale, Johannesburg.


Thoroughbred Enterprises (Pty) Ltd. acquired a 25% stake in Custom Colour (Pty) Ltd., the fledgling company, which is today Performance Colour Systems (Pty) Ltd. This share was later sold in 1985.


Alrode Plant


Alrode Alf McCreadie Group Financial Director


As the company expanded, so too did the need for new manufacturing facilities. A factory was purchased in Alrode, Johannesburg, and operations were moved to this new facility. During the same year, the family founded a chemical and pigment trading company, Pigment Preparations (Pty) Ltd., which is known today as Chemipol Solutions (Pty) Ltd.


Branching out into the broader colourant markets through ever-evolving expertise, Thoroughbred Enterprises (Pty) Ltd. started an ink manufacturing company called Hi-Tech Inks (Pty) Ltd., with a 50% shareholding.


Universal Colourants


Old Ciba Plant In Alrode


Warehouse Alrode Facility


Alrode Pigment Preparations Vehicle


Old Triple Roll In Alrode Roger And Seth


Tepyl Paint Cans


Thoroughbred Enterprises (Pty) Ltd. acquired further properties in Founders View South, Edenvale, Johannesburg. These premises were developed, and the final plant was moved in 2001. These premises still house some of the group’s operations. Liquid Colours (Pty) Ltd. was birthed to focus on the formulation, development and production of liquid colourant pigment dispersions. Thoroughbred Enterprises was simultaneously closed, and Tepyl Paints was re-branded to Liquid Colours. This marked a change in the business’s operational strategy, with Liquid Colours primarily focussing on the manufacture of liquid pigment dispersions. Specialised coatings were only made for specific clients on request.


In line with the multi-faceted expansion within Thoroughbred Enterprises (Pty) Ltd., the company consolidated its interests into a holding company named Speed Bird Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd., with all group companies 100% owned.


Founders View Plant Under Construction




Given its years of experience and expertise in the plastic colourant and additive industry, Speed Bird Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd. pioneered its own masterbatch company trading as Polymer Colour Systems (Pty) Ltd., with a 50% shareholding.


Driven by growth and the identification of a gap in the market for agricultural applications, Speed Bird Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd. purchased a 50% share in Kannar Earth Science (Pty) Ltd. – an environmentally-conscious company, sustainably manufacturing seed coatings and allied products for the agricultural industry.


Delivery Vehicles


Hi-Tech Inks (Pty) Ltd. expanded internationally, opening plants in Tanzania, India, and the United Arab Emirates/UAE. In 2010, the company was sold, and today, Hi-Tech Inks holds a market leading position, with production capacity geared to cater to a growing and demanding global market.


In order to fortify their space within the colourant industry, expand operations and product reach, Performance Masterbatch and Custom Colour (Pty) Ltd. were purchased from AECI Limited. Polymer Colour Systems (Pty) Ltd. strategically joined these dual operational forces to strengthen, support and fulfil the business’s long-term manufacturing objectives.


Shareholders Liquid Colours


Three leading brands – Performance Masterbatch, Custom Colour and Polymer Colour Systems (Pty) Ltd. were officially amalgamated to successfully create a powerful new market force named Performance Colour Systems (Pty) Ltd. Performance Colour Systems has since expanded in its own right, and has gone on to become one of the largest suppliers of masterbatches in Africa.


Bringing colour coating excellence across a range of industries, Duco Speciality Coatings was purchased from AECI Limited, to cater for the automotive refinish and light industrial coatings sector.


The organisation was restructured, and today, all companies are 100% owned by Speed Bird Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd. – a recognised name, synonymous with the multi-industrial manufacture of superior-quality colourants, through our stable of subsidiaries.