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Lafarge and Holcim announce reorganisation plans ahead of proposed merger
Lafarge and Holcim have announced reorganisation plans ahead of their proposed merger. These plans have been designed to create a lean organisation with empowered countries, regional management platforms, and group functions for the combined company . As such, LafargeHolcim would be balanced between a decentralised structure and strong central functions, with the later organised around countries, regions and corporate functions. There will be an equivalent number of personnel in the central functions in France and Switzerland. The merged company s research and development centre would be based in L Isle d Abeau, near Lyon in France.

The reorganisation project would comprise 380 net job losses at Lafarge and 120 at Holcim. The newly merged company would employ around 115 000 people.

The 120 or so job losses at Holcim would be group functions in Switzerland. The company will launch a social consultation process with employee representatives in order to reduce the impact on roles that are affected by the reductions.

At Lafarge, 166 of the 380 net job losses would be in France (Paris and Lyon), and the rest would take place at the group s worldwide locations (i.e., in sites located in Atlanta, Beijing, Cairo, Kuala Lumpur, Montreal and Vienna). Lafarge presented the reorganisation plans to employee representatives on 19 May. Social support measures will be negotiated with employee representatives, and these will mostly include solutions based on internal mobility, early retirement and (in France) voluntary departures. The planned merger would not impact employment at Lafarge s operational functions in France, which account for 4500 staff.

The merger is expected to close in July 2015, subject to the acceptance of Holcim s public exchange offer by Lafarge shareholders. The reoganisation plans would take effect in early 2016, following the completion of all relevant social consultations in France and Switzerland.

UAECEMENT.COM - May,23,2015

Vietnam: Vicem monthly sales down 3.1% YoY
State-owned Vietnam Cement Industry Corporation (Vicem), the country s leading cement producer, said it sold about 2.24Mt of cement and clinker in April, down 3.1 per cent from a year ago.

Of the volume, 1.74Mt of cement and clinker were sold in domestic market while 450,000t were exported. In the first four months, Vicem s cement and clinker sales declined 4.9 per cent YoY to 7.38Mt. Of the total, 5.88Mt of cement and clinker were sold in domestic market, up 4.7 per cent YoY while 1.5Mt were exported, down 42.5 per cent.

The corporation produced 5.24Mt of clinker and 5.59Mt of cement between January and April, rising 4.6 per cent and five per cent YoY respectively, including 91,600t of clinker and 105,100t of cement in April.

As of April, Vicem had 1.56Mt of cement and clinker inventory, including 1.27Mt of clinker, equivalent to 25 days of production.

Vicem targets to produce 1.59Mt of clinker and 1.94Mt of cement in May. It also aims to sell 2.19Mt of cement and clinker this month.

Last year, Vicem s clinker production edged up 0.7 per cent YoY to 16.5Mt, while its cement output rose 10.3 per cent to 18.46Mt.

UAECEMENT.COM - May,23,2015

Malaysia: Lafarge Malaysia reports first quarter pre-tax profit growth
Malaysia: Lafarge Malaysia s pre-tax profit for the first quarter of 2015, which ended on 31 March 2015, rose to US$27.6m from US$26.9m in the same quarter of 2014. Its revenue improved to US$193m from US$188m in the prior year due to higher cement and concrete sales in the domestic market on the back of market growth. The company expects the construction sector to continue to grow in 2015 driven mainly by the continued progress of key infrastructure projects and ongoing commercial and residential development.
UAECEMENT.COM - May,23,2015

Hydroelectric forecast as highest value power generation sector in the Americas
Timetric s Construction Intelligence Center (CIC) estimates that the major economies in the Americas will invest more than US$792 billion in power generation projects over the next few years. This will lead to a capacity increase of 380 GW. Of the countries analysed by CIC, the USA is forecast to invest the most, with projects valued at nearly US$388 billion. Canada comes in second place at US$90.3 billion and Brazil is third with US$90 billion.

In terms of power sectors, hydroelectric is estimated to have the highest value of projects planned at US$200 billion. Of the 13 countries analysed, Brazil leads the way in terms of hydroelectric power project value. Wind accounts for US$190 billion of the forecast US$792 billion, and nuclear is next with US$141.5 billion. Apart from hydroelectric and oil, the US heads each of the power generation sectors in terms of value.

“The Americas include the highly developed economies of the USA and Canada together with the developed but economically struggling economies of Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil and the developing Latin American countries. All need to balance low carbon power generation with immediate energy demands to sustain their economies,” explains Neil Martin, Manager at Timetric CIC. “Fossil fuel is being phased out for power generation in the region accounting for 18.5% of the value of projects in the planning pipeline. Renewables account for almost 64% of projects value, with hydroelectric and wind power leading in new power generation projects for the Americas.”

UAECEMENT.COM - May,19,2015

Philippines: Siam Cement posts 12% revenue growth in the Philippines
Siam Cement posts 12% revenue growth in the Philippines

Philippines: The Philippine operations of Thailand s Siam Cement Group (SCG) recorded a double-digit growth in revenues in the first quarter of 2015 due to stronger demand. SCG s products being sold in the Philippines include building materials, ceramic tiles, sanitary wares, and paper.

SCG said that its revenues reached US$43m in the first quarter of 2015, 12% higher than the US$38m in the same period of 2014. The rise was attributed to growing demand in the sanitary wares and paper market in the Philippines.

"SCG in the Philippines currently focuses on penetrating the market as well as building the SCG brand to strengthen its position and recall among Filipino consumers," said SCG president and CEO Kan Trakulhoon.

For the Southeast Asian region, SCG s total revenues reached US$3.35bn in the first quarter of 2015, down by 10% year-on-year due to lower chemical prices as a result of declining oil prices. In line with its aim of developing more high-value added products and services to meet customer needs, SCG has set aside US$147m for investments for research and development in the Southeast Asian region in 2015.

Given the overall positive economic outlook in the region, SCG intends to continue to expand investments. "We are confident that the region s overall economy is continuing on an upward trend and is extremely favourable. Thus, SCG s investments regionally will continue to grow," said Trakulhoon.

UAECEMENT.COM - May,19,2015

Indian : JSW Cement plans to triple capacity by 2018
According to reports, India s JSW Cement plans to more than triple its cement capacity to 20 million tpy by 2018. The company, which is part of the JSW Group, with interests in steel and energy, plans to grow through acquisitions and greenfield projects, with The Hindu reporting that the company will add 10 grinding units in different parts of the country in the next 3 years. Business Standard reports that the company plans to invest between Rs.8000 and Rs.9000 crore.
Though the Indian cement industry has been a little subdued of late, anticipated infrastructure projects should boost demand from October this year. JSW Cement expects capacity utilisation to grow to 70% in FY15/16. Its plants in Maharashtra and Karnataka are said to be running at full utilisation already, while those in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are operating at just 50 – 55% capacity utilisation.
The Hindu reports that JSW Cement is planning two or three grinding units in West Bengal, Vijayanagar (Karnataka), Dolvi (Maharashtra), Odisha and Tamil Nadu, with a capacity of 1.2 million tpy. This comprises an expansion of existing facilities in Vijayanagar and Dolvi and new units in the other locations. Work on the expansion projects is reportedly set to begin within 3 months.
JSW Cement could also be a contender for Lafarge assets being disposed in Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh.
UAECEMENT.COM - May,19,2015

Tunisia: sustained growth
The cement sector is seen as the driving force of the manufacturing industry in Tunisia. In fact, companies based in Tunisia are meeting market demand and exporting even greater quantities to neighbouring countries, Libya and Algeria. Since 2011 – and despite the economic recession during the post-revolution period – the demand for cement continued to increase thanks to private consumption and the domestic market.

Cement production

Tunisia s cement industry dates back to 1936 when the first cement plant came online (C.A.T.). Today, there are nine cement plants in the country: one produces white cement while the rest produce Portland cement (grey). The most recent of these is Carthage Cement, which came online in 2013.

The total installed cement capacity is about 13.5 million tpy (2014). This is set to rise to more than 16 million tpy once ongoing projects are complete. Given the economic situation and favourable environment, new projects are being studied in order to create more cement plants and to meet additional demand from both the domestic and export markets.

The cement industry is composed of three public companies (more than 5 million tpy) and six private companies, which belong to multinational groups such as Prasa and Cimpor. They are all either located near to raw material resources or close to areas of high consumption.

In 1998, the state adopted the policy of disengagement from competitive activities and a restructuring plan for the national economy. This has led to interest from investors, who appreciate the business climate (legal framework: fiscal and non-fiscal advantages), low labour costs and an abundance of clinker.

Since 2007, cement production has increased about 3% per year (except in 2011). Therefore, the domestic market is sufficiently supplied with cement. Exports have also increased. For instance, the quantity exported in 2014 was about 1.26 million t (Portland cement) against 0.580 million t in 2013, a 118% increase.

However, the problem is that exports are neither regular nor stable because both state and cement producers give priority to the local market and would like to maintain their market share. Furthermore, a preliminary license was required to export cement until October 2014 when this decision was repealed.

Cement price

Until the end of 2013, the cement price was managed by the state. The price was fixed and there was no competition between companies because cement was sold for the same price according to its category.

However, in January 2014, the State decided to stop subsidising energy and in accordance with the government policy of liberalisation of the cement industry, prices became free. At present, companies are struggling to sell their product into/out of Tunisia. The average price is between TND150 and 170/t (TND1 = US$0.52). This is one of the lowest prices in the Mediterranean region.

Recently, the government has decided to allow producers to sell cement directly to the consumer in order to decrease prices and stop speculation caused by traders.

Respecting the environment

The cement industry is known to be a big consumer of energy, responsible for 11% of the country s total electric consumption and one third of energy consumption in the industrial sector.

The cost of energy represents around a third of the production cost per tonne. For this reason, cement plants invest to diversify resources and rationalise energy usage. Some companies use natural gas in order to reduce both cost and pollution. In other cases, cement plants use petcoke or heavy oil and they have committed to respect the environmental rules according to the Tunisian standards.
UAECEMENT.COM - May,17,2015

World Bank: zero net emissions by 2100 is possible
The World Bank has released a new report laying out three steps for a smooth transition to a low-carbon future, asserting that solutions to reduce global warming exist and are affordable, if governments take action today. However, the longer action is delayed, the higher the costs will be.

“Choices made today can lock in emissions trajectories for years to come and leave communities vulnerable to climate impacts,” said World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change Rachel Kyte. “To reach zero net emissions before the end of this century, the global economy needs to be overhauled. We at the World Bank Group are increasing our focus on the policy options.”

The report outlines actions to achieve zero net emissions by 2100 by shifting from using fossil fuels for energy production to clean energy that decarbonises electricity, followed by a general move to electrification that could displace polluting fuels, in tandem with increased energy efficiency and better care and development of carbon sinks through forest and land management. Governments need to plan for the end goal, rather than short-term milestones, the World Bank says.

Putting a price on carbon is also described as an efficient way to raise revenue while encouraging lower emissions, but it needs to be bolstered by additional, complementary policy packages that incentivise green technologies and low-carbon choices.

Finally, the World Bank emphasises the need for support to those most affected by the transition, both the public and businesses.

UAECEMENT.COM - May,17,2015

Egypt expects US$30bn coal investments in the next five years
Egypt: Investments worth US$30bn in the coal industry are expected to be conducted within the next five years, according to Egypt s investment minister Ashraf Salman.

Salman said that there is full coordination between the ministries of environment, electricity and investment to adhere to international environmental standards when using coal. Egypt s cabinet announced new rules on coal use in April 2015, which stipulate that coal imports can only take place after approval from the ministry of environment. The new rules are an amendment to a law on environmental affairs and allow the use of coal for cement, iron and steel, coke and aluminium production and in power plants.

Salman said that using coal as an energy source would decrease the dependency on natural gas as a primary energy source and petroleum products in steel and cement production. Despite the energy crisis, which has caused frequent and numerous power outages for years, the cabinet s approval of new coal use has caused controversy both within the government and outside.

UAECEMENT.COM - May,15,2015

90% of Egyptian cement plants agree to use coal
Egypt: 90% of cement plants have agreed to use coal to increase their cement production, according to Egypt s Industrial Development Authority.

The authority is facilitating plant upgrades to enable coal use and ensuring that the necessary quantities of coal can be supplied, according to the head of the Industrial Development Authority, Ismail Gaber. He added that Egypt needs more than 32Mt/yr of cement to meet the needs of the domestic market.

In light of the population increase, the demand on energy has significantly increased in Egypt in recent years. The government agreed to include coal in the cement industry energy system in April 2014. Prior to that, coal was used only in the iron and steel, coke and aluminium industries. It is now also allowed to be used for electricity and cement production.

UAECEMENT.COM - May,15,2015

Cement makers Holcim and Lafarge win U.S. antitrust approval to merge
Holcim Ltd, a Swiss company, and Lafarge S.A., which is based in Paris, on Monday won U.S. antitrust approval to merge after they agreed to divest assets, the Federal Trade Commission.

The companies agreed to divest plants, terminals and a quarry to gain approval of their $25 billion deal, the FTC said.
UAECEMENT.COM - May,12,2015

Nigeria s Dangote Cement to start production in Tanzania in August
May 4 Nigeria s Dangote Cement said it will begin production in Tanzania in August, as sub-Saharan Africa s leading cement producer eyes new markets on the continent.

A $500 million factory it is building in southern Tanzania, with an annual capacity of 3 million tonnes, will double the country s annual output of cement to 6 million tonnes.

However, Dangote faces challenges in accessing coal and natural gas as sources of cheap power to run the factory, its owner, Aliko Dangote, Africa s richest man, told President Jakaya Kikwete at a meeting in Dar es Salaam over the weekend, according to a statement released by the president s office.

Tanzania, East Africa s second-biggest economy, has made big natural gas discoveries and has coal reserves of up to 5 billion tonnes, but lacks infrastructure to deliver the energy to major factories.

Dangote s factory is being built in the Mtwara region but there is no infrastructure to connect the plant to gas from nearby offshore natural gas fields.

Dangote applied last year for a licence to build a 75 megawatt coal-fired plant in Tanzania that would power the cement factory.

Initially it will power the plant from electricity on the grid.

The Nigerian company plans to roll out plants across Africa to reach an annual capacity of 62 million tonnes by 2017, up from an estimated 42 million tonnes last year.

Its Tanzanian plant will supply the domestic market and export to landlocked countries in the region. It will be competing with other Tanzanian cement producers including Tanzania Portland Cement, owned by a subsidiary of Germany s Heidelberg Cement AG ; Tanga Cement, majority owned by Afrisam Mauritius Investment Holdings Limited; and Mbeya Cement, owned by France s Lafarge SA
UAECEMENT.COM - May,12,2015

A new low-carbon solution for the construction sector is commercialised
Solidia Technologies, USA, and Larfarge, France, have signed an agreement to commercialise a new technology, after Solidia developed a new binder which through a different chemical reaction and at lower temperature, will generate less CO2.

It will enable a significant reduction in the environmental foot-print of precast concrete by up to 70%. It will allow lower CO2 emissions in the cement production process and use CO2 in the manufacturing of precast concrete so the Solidia CementTM hardens through the addition and absorption of CO2.

Commercial launch will begin in markets in North America and in Europe for the manufacturing of concrete elements such as paving stones, roof tiles and concrete blocks.

Under the terms of this agreement, Lafarge will have the right to commercialise this technology worldwide. In partnership with Solidia, Lafarge will offer a complete solution
UAECEMENT.COM - May,8,2015

Cementtech 2015 underway in Beijing, China
CHINA:Conference proceedings were officially opened by Qiao Longde, conference chairman and president of the China Cement Association and China Building Materials Federation, who welcomed international delegates to the three-day event.

An address by Ma Rong, Associate Counsel, Resources Conservation and Environmental Protection Department, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), highlighted the importance of embracing available energy opportunities, stating the domestic industry should turn waste into a treasure to benefit the circular economy.

Following on, Philippe Fonta, director of the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI), thanked its five Chinese members for the environmental improvement made so far. He also underlined that 2015 is an important year for China and the world as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change‎ COP21 will be held in Paris, France, in December.

Presentations continue under the themes of climate change, environmental and energy efficiency and low-carbon practice, among others.

Running parallel to the conference is the Cementtech 2015 exhibition at the China International Exhibition Center (CIEC) – a vast international arena tailored to promoting the development of efficient and environmentally-friendly cement production.
UAECEMENT.COM - May,6,2015

Ambuja Cements releases results for the January – March 2015 quarter
India s Ambuja Cements Limited experienced a 9% y/y fall in cement sales volumes in the quarter ending 31 March 2015. Muted demand for the building material impacted the company s net sales, which declined by 8.1% y/y.

Although improved operational efficiencies helped to somewhat offset cost increases, this, together with lower sales volumes, contributed to a 13.4% y/y decline in operating EBITDA.

Net profit before tax dropped by 26.9% from Rs.583 crores in January – March 2014 to Rs.426 crores in January – March 2015. Net profit after tax totalled Rs.318 crores, down 38.8% y/y. This has been attributed to lower net profit before tax and a write back of tax provisions in the corresponding quarter in 2014.
UAECEMENT.COM - May,6,2015

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