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LATEST CEMENT INDUSTRY NEWS
Uzbek court reportedly annuls Eurocement acquisition of Akhangarancement
According to reports, an Uzbek court has annulled Eurocement s acquisition of Uzbekistan s biggest cement producer, Akhangarancement. Eurocement acquired a 75% stake in the company in 2006.

The reports indicate that the Uzbek State Competition Committee filed a lawsuit last week and the court ruling was made on 21 July. It is suggested that there are plans to nationalise Akhangarancement. However, it is also reported that Eurocement will appeal the court ruling.
UAECEMENT.COM - Jul, 28 ,2014

2Q14 cement sales grow in the Philippines
In the Philippines, second quarter cement sales grew 3.2% to 5.519 million t through the April – June period, according to data reported by the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines via various local media sources. Member companies sold 5.349 million t in the January – March quarter, bringing the first half total to 10.718 million t, 6% up on the same period last year.

Higher sales are attributed to an increased budget for the Department of Public Works and Highways. The infrastructure budget was increased by 37% to P404.3 billion to support reconstruction in regions affected by the natural disasters that hit the Philippines late last year.

Last year s total cement sales reached 19.4 million t, up from 18.4 million t in 2012.

The Oxford Business Group published a report earlier this month describing how a public-private partnership scheme is giving a push to construction projects in the country. In June, the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) announced that the total number of approved building permits has grown by a fifth during 1Q14, while the number of construction permits issued for additions, alterations and repairs grew 42% y/y following Typhoon Haiyan. The report also notes the shortage of cement in the Iloilo province, as reported last month.

Interesting to note that in the recent announcement from Holcim and Lafarge of planned divestments to pave the way for their merger, the companies indicated that they are looking into ways to combine their businesses alongside the planned sale of three Lafarge plants. Clearly, the Philippines remains an interesting market.

UAECEMENT.COM - Jul, 26 ,2014

Vietnam considers ban on asbestos in fibre cement boards
Vietnam: The Vietnamese Ministry of Health has proposed that the government should add asbestos, which is widely used to produce roofing sheets in Vietnam, to the list of toxic chemicals subject to a full ban. There are 36 producers of asbestos cement (AC) roofing sheets in Vietnam, with an annual production capacity of 100Mm2 of roofing sheets.

Vietnam has used asbestos since the 1960s and the country is among the world s 10 largest users of asbestos, consuming and importing some 60,000t/yr. More than 90% is used to manufacture AC roofing sheets, while the rest is for the production of car brakes and thermal insulation.

Deputy health minister Nguyen Thanh Long has said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) and international cancer research agencies have warned that all types of asbestos can cause lung, larynx and ovarian cancer, as well as mesothelioma and asbestosis. Asbestosis, a disease of the lungs caused by inhaling asbestos fibres, has been recognised in Vietnam as an occupational disease eligible for compensation since 1976. Ministry research has shown that people living near an area where asbestos is used, or those living under a roof made from asbestos, can also be affected.

The Research Institute of Technology for Machinery under the Ministry of Industry and Trade have developed a non-asbestos roofing sheet production line. Polyvinyl alcohol synthetic fibre (PVA) is used to replace the asbestos, while pulp additives increase stickiness. Prices of non-asbestos roofing sheets are 10 - 15% higher than those made from asbestos
UAECEMENT.COM - Jul, 26 ,2014

Kenya s National Cement to receive US$70 million from the IFC
The IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will provide National Cement Company Ltd, Kenya, with up to US$70 million:

Up to US$55 million in debt from the IFC.

Up to US$15 million will be in the form of equity from IFC and the IFC African, Latin American and Caribbean Fund. This will also include a seat on the company s board.

The funds will help National Cement Company Ltd to expand its operations, increase domestic cement supply and encourage infrastructure development in Africa. In the last six years, cement consumption in Kenya has risen by an annual rate of 13%.

National Cement will use the money from IFC to increase its cement production capacity to 1.7 million tpa – five times its current capacity. The expansion project will generate more than 6000 jobs and aid the smaller local companies that provide services for National Cement, such as those who transport raw materials. IFC will also work with the Kenyan cement manufacturer to enhance production and quality standards, increase energy efficiency and health and safety, as well as local outreach initiatives.

National Cement is part of the Devki Group, which also operates in the country s steel and services industries. Commenting on the agreement, Narendra Raval, Chairman of the Devki Group, stated: “By partnering with IFC, National Cement looks forward to combining our long-standing experience in Kenya s building materials sector with IFC s international expertise in infrastructure and environment management. As National Cement expands, we aim to contribute actively to improving infrastructure and housing in Kenya.”

“Kenya often imports cement at high costs. This investment in National Cement will increase the supply of locally produced cement, providing building blocks for East Africa s infrastructure needs. We would like to send a strong signal of IFC s confidence in a Kenyan company making a difference in the local economy,” added Oumar Seydi, IFC Director for Eastern and Southern Africa.

UAECEMENT.COM - Jul, 26 ,2014

Lafarge Surma Cement signs clinker supply deal with Metrocem
Lafarge Surma Cement Ltd, the only fully integrated cement manufacturer in Bangladesh, has reportedly signed a supply deal with Metrocem Cement wherein Lafarge Surma Cement will supply Metrocem with clinker to produce a Portland Composite Cement brand for Lafarge Surma.

The Metrocem Group has been operating a grinding plant since 2003. Like most other cement manufacturers in Bangladesh, it imports clinker from abroad. Bangladesh doesn t have sufficient quality limestone deposits to support a home-grown industry, so Lafarge brings limestone in from its quarry in Meghalaya in India via a 17 km conveyor belt to its plant in Chhatak.

Lafarge Surma Cement Ltd is a joint venture between Lafarge and Cementos Mollins.
UAECEMENT.COM - Jul, 24 ,2014

Egypt: Sinai Cement begins preparations for coal usage
Sinai Cement Company (SCC) has contracted engineering company FLSmidth to provide the equipment for it to start working using coal, the company revealed this week.

The cement manufacturer added it would also partner with local contractors and suppliers to equip the factory to use coal as an alternative energy to natural gas and Mazut fuel oil.

The industrial sector, represented by the Federation of Egyptian Industries, has shown signs of accepting recent increases in automotive petroleum products prices, including fuel, diesel and natural gas. The sector said it will bear the cost of the energy price increases taking into account the current economic situation “that doesn t allow for any alternative”.

Following the fuel price hike announcement, the government has raised gas prices for cement factories to USD 8 per million British Thermal Units (BTUs) compared to USD 6 previously. The price of fuel oil increased from EGP 1,500 to EGP 2,250 per tonne.

Despite the Ministry of Environment s opposition, the interim government approved in April the industrial use of coal as an alternative energy source. The move came to address the energy shortage, pending the endorsement of the Environmental Impact Assessment.

After issuing the decision, the government said it would impose a tax on coal usage and work on amending laws tightening penalties for violating environmental standards and regulations.

Minister of Industry Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said importing coal would not start until the environmental standards and regulations for the industrial use of coal have been finalised and ratified.

However, cement factories have already started taking steps towards this. In a bid to shift to coal usage, the Arabian Cement Company commenced testing coal in June in thermal power generation. It aims to shift to this energy source for 50 per cent of its factories needs.

Suez Cement Company also announced plans on Sunday to invest EGP 300 million to convert two of its four plants to use coal. The conversion process for each plant will cost around EGP 150 million.

UAECEMENT.COM - Jul, 24 ,2014

Egypt: Misr Cement (Qena) BOD to look into coal conversion
The Board of Directors of Misr Cement (Qena) (MCQE) will hold a meeting on July 20 to discuss the company s project to convert from fuel to coal, an alternative fuel project, and to issue a final decision on the main mill.

The BOD will also discuss the company s financial results for June 30, 2014.
UAECEMENT.COM - Jul, 21 ,2014

New line will triple Cemento Andino’s cement production capacity
Venezuela: Cemento Andino s Trujillo plant in Venezuela is set to undergo a US$240m capacity expansion. The plant currently produces around 600,000t/yr of cement. The construction of a new production line is expected to triple Cemento Andino s capacity. The project will take around two years to complete, generating around 500 direct and 1000 indirect jobs.
UAECEMENT.COM - Jul, 21 ,2014

India: IITs team up to develop eco-friendly cement
Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, along with two other IITs and two institutes from Switzerland and Cuba, are working on eco-friendly cement which has the potential to reduce cement-related carbon emissions by as much as 40 per cent.

Armed with the 4 million Swiss francs (around INR 268 million) funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), researchers from IITs - Madras, Delhi and Mumbai - and the Central University of Las Villas, Cuba, led by the team from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, are working to develop the eco-friendly limestone-calcined clay cement (LC3).

This new blend substitutes up to half of the usual portland cement with the abundant clay and limestone, which promises to reduce cement-related CO2 emissions by up to 40 per cent.

If used globally, LC3 could help bring down future emissions by several notches by reducing energy consumption during processing, which, in turn, would have a major impact on climate change.

The initial results in India demonstrate that this cement can be produced using technology that is widely available in the India, and that the cement can be used by construction workers without any additional training required to handle the material.

Besides these institutes, the application of the technology is led by Technology & Action for Rural Advancement (TARA).

Agreements for research collaboration have been concluded and the research programmes have been kicked-off at the centres involved.

The Indian team is led by Shashank Bishnoi of IIT-D. The other researchers involved are Biswajit Bhattacharjee from IIT-D, Prakash Nanthagopalan from IIT-B, Manu Santhanam, Ravindra Gettu, Radhakrishna Pillai and Sivakumar Palaniappan from IIT-M, and Arun Kumar, Soumen Maity and Palas Kr. Haldar from TARA.

IIT-D and TARA have already demonstrated the feasibility of the new blend with field applications and laboratory tests after which the larger team initiated Phase 1 of the project for scaling-up research and application.

The funding from the SDC will enable EPFL and its partners to do the necessary research and testing for the introduction and standardisation of LC3 so that it makes it to the market as quickly as possible.

Driven by growing need in emerging economies including India, it is felt that the global demand for cement is set to double by 2050.

UAECEMENT.COM - Jul, 19 ,2014

Egypt: Misr Cement (Qena) BOD to look into coal conversion
The Board of Directors of Misr Cement (Qena) (MCQE) will hold a meeting on July 20 to discuss the company s project to convert from fuel to coal, an alternative fuel project, and to issue a final decision on the main mill.

The BOD will also discuss the company s financial results for June 30, 2014.
UAECEMENT.COM - Jul, 18 ,2014

Namibia: Biofuel option for cement-maker
Namibia s Ohorongo Cement plant has come up with an environment-friendly innovative solution with a competitive edge: Blackthorn.

Blackthorn can grow to as high as seven meters (23 feet) and forms impenetrable thickets. It won t let any other species grow in the vicinity, much to the chagrin of local famers.

It is now harvested turning the bush into wood chips used for fuel by Ohorongo Cement, Namibia s only cement manufacturer, giving it a potential edge over some of its competitors on the world market.

Biofuel accounts for 30 per cent of Ohorongo s energy needs; eventually the company wants to raise this figure to 80 per cent.

In the long term, we will be very competitive," said manager Gerhard Hirth. Not having to rely on coal and oil imports, the company was able to keep energy costs down while making a positive contribution to the environment.

We have the technology and the raw materials to produce high quality cement. We manufacture it economically with staff we have trained ourselves who are really very good workers," he said.

Hirth, a German national, comes from Ulm. The family firm Schwenk Zement KG has been in the cement business for the last 160 years. "Nonetheless," he said, Africa was new - and different.

Hirth has invested USD 340 million in Namibia. As well as deploying modern technology, he also chose a logistically favorable location from which his high quality building material can be freighted to Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The plant produces 600,000 tonnes annually, of which 500,000 is destined for the Namibian market. The rest is exported. Namibia is only a small cement producer, neighbouring South Africa is a much bigger player turning out 16.5 million tonnes a year.

UAECEMENT.COM - Jul, 15 ,2014

OCL India commissions Rs 615 crore cement unit in West Bengal
OCL India, an associate of Dalmia Cement Bharat, on Monday commissioned its Rs 615 crore cement manufacturing unit in West Midnapore, West Bengal.

Spread over 154.43 acres, the unit is built on the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation established Godapiasal Industrial Park. This is OCL India s first unit in the state. In addition to the Bengal unit, the company has cement plants at Cuttack and Rajgangpur in Odisha with a combined production capacity of 5.35 MTPA.

Incidentally, the grinding and mixing unit was formally operationalised at an event attended by chief minister Mamata Banerjee, according to a company release.

Good locational advantage in terms of road and rail network, enriched infrastructural support like that of uninterrupted power supply, supply of water for industrial and potable purposes, other basic facilities like sewerage and drainage etc. and incentives available as per The West Bengal State Support for Industry prompted OCL India to set up its plant in Bengal, the company release added.
UAECEMENT.COM - Jul, 15 ,2014

Holcim has no plans to change the ownership of Bamburi Cement
With the pending merger of Holcim and Lafarge, Holcim has answered confusion in Kenya over the future ownership of Bamburi Cement, in which Lafarge has a 58.6% controlling stake. “We have no intention of making a take-over offer for BCL,” Holcim said. “The proposed combination would be structured as a public exchange offer filed by Holcim for all outstanding shares of Lafarge on the basis of a 1 for 1 exchange ratios with an agreement to have equal dividends on a per share basis between announcement and completion…The proposed combination will not effect any changes to the ownership of BCL.”

Lafarge and Holcim this week announced planned divestments to get their merger through competition regulators, with the only planned divestment in Africa being Holcim’s assets in Mauritius
UAECEMENT.COM - Jul, 13 ,2014

New cement plant begins construction in Ghana
A ground-breaking ceremony has taken place for the new Cimaf Ciments de LAfrique cement plant in Tema, Ghana. The €60 million plant is expected to be completed within 18 months and will produce 1 million tpa. President Mahama spoke at the ceremony, saying he hoped that, on completion, the new plant would stabilise prices in the country, which appear to be rising in response to a rumoured shortage of cement on the market. The President dismissed the rumours and discouraged panic buying.

The Ghanaian construction industry is profiting from the country s economic growth, which stands at approximately 7% pa.

The new cement plant is owned by the Moroccan Addoha Group and is Morocco s first industrial investment in Ghana. The plant will employ 1200 people, directly and indirectly, and will be managed by Ghanaians.

The Addoha Group has also signed an MoU with Ghana s government for the construction of 10 000 housing units over seven years, which will help to meet the housing shortage in the country. Other projects, such as schools, clinics, etc. are also in line for the future.

UAECEMENT.COM - Jul, 13 ,2014

Saudi Arabia: Al Jouf Cement announce new branch
The board of Saudi Arabian cement producer Al Jouf Cement have given the go-ahead today for opening a new branch in Jeddah, as part of the company’s expansion strategy.
UAECEMENT.COM - Jul, 11 ,2014


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