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Improving cement sales show stronger Saudi market
Saudi Arabia s construction market appears to be moving back towards a period of stronger growth following recent upheaval in the labour market, according to new data.

Although cement sales fell by 22.4% in the Kingdom in July due to the impact that the Ramadan/Eid holiday period had on sites, year-on-year sales in August increased by 29.8% in to 3.96mn tonnes according to NCB Capital.

As a result, it said that year-to-date sales "reflect the trend of normalisation" seen since the fall-out from a tightening of visa rules last year, which saw hundreds of thousands of expat workers taking advantage of a visa amnesty late last year and a further 370,000 being deported in the five months after a clampdown was introduced in November.

In an analysis on the Saudi cement market published earlier this year, NCB Capital had predicted that after experiencing lower rates of demand in the early part of the year, the market would pick up again as the year progressed. Currently, year-to-date sales are just 1.6% behind 2013.

However, NCB Capital added that the amount of clinker inventory held by cement firms had now hit an all-time high of 19.7mn, and could reach 25mn by the year end.

"Considering the Ramadan-adjusted sales data and management feedback, we still believe that demand will fully normalise in Q4 2014," it said.
UAECEMENT.COM - Sep,16 ,2014

Raysut Cement strikes Somaliland agreement
Oman s Raysut Cement has announced that it has agreed a deal with Barwaaquo Cement of Somaliland to operate a joint venture in the country.

The pair will build a $7.5mn terminal in the port city of Berbera which will have the ability to store and distribute both bagged and bulk cement set to be delivered from Oman by sea.

It will have a capacity to store up to 12,000 tons of cement by the time it completes at the end of 2015.

Raysut Cement s CEO Eng. Salim Bin Alawi Bin Mohammed Baabood said geographic expansion is one of the firm s main goals as Oman s biggest cement producer looks for alternative sources of revenue.
UAECEMENT.COM - Sep,16 ,2014

ICD buys $300mn stake in Nigerian cement company
Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) has purchased a $300mn stake in Nigeria s largest cement manufacturer, Dangote Cement plc, from majority shareholder Dangote Industries Limited.

Dangote Cement, owned by Africa s richest man Aliko Dangote, is expanding and plans to roll out cement plants across Africa to reach an annual 62mn tonnes capacity by 2017, up from a projected 42mn tonnes this year.

It reported pretax profit of 107.1bn naira ($659.4mn) in the first half, down 0.57% from a year ago, on revenues of 208.9bn naira.

Commenting on the deal, HE Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, executive director and CEO of ICD, said: "We believe Sub-Saharan Africa, and particularly Nigeria, provides fantastic long term investment opportunities. In this case, Dangote Cement provides some excellent investment credentials, being a highly profitable, well capitalised and efficiently run organisation, with a market leading position in the largest African economy and very well positioned to access and act on growth opportunities across the continent."

Shares in Dangote cement, which make up a third of Nigeria s stock market and hit a record high of 250 naira in July, traded flat at 223 naira on Monday, valuing Nigeria s biggest company at about 3.97tr naira ($24.5bn).

Aliko Dangote, chairman of Dangote Cement PLC, said: "Our products may be simple bags of cement but millions of Africans will use them to build a continent that is rich in opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors, like ICD, who support them."

UAECEMENT.COM - Sep,13 ,2014

Reliance Cement expands into Bihar
Reliance Cement Company, part of Reliance Infrastructure, has expanded its operations into Bihar state, located in northern India. According to local press reports, Bihar’s cement market is expected to grow at a rate of 9% over the next few years. The company noted that infrastructure developments, a booming real-estate market and an increase in industrial activity would drive growth throughout the region, which currently consumes around 14 million tpa of cement.

Reliance Cement has a total production capacity of around 5.8 million tpa and currently operates in the Indian markets of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Jharkhand.
UAECEMENT.COM - Sep,13 ,2014

India:Sagar Cements completes sale of its investment in Vicat Sagar Cement
Sagar Cements has completed the sale of its 47% stake in its joint venture company, Vicat Sagar Cement. Sagar had earlier obtained approval from the shareholders through postal ballot for the sale. Sagar and Vicat entered into the joint venture in June 2008 with the objective of setting up a 5.5Mt/yr cement plant in Gulbarga, Karnataka. The first phase of the plant, which was to reach a production capacity of 2.75Mt/yr, was completed in December 2012. Production commenced in January 2013.
UAECEMENT.COM - Sep,10 ,2014

Reliance Cement expands into Bihar
Reliance Cement Company, part of Reliance Infrastructure, has expanded its operations into Bihar state, located in northern India. According to local press reports, Bihar’s cement market is expected to grow at a rate of 9% over the next few years. The company noted that infrastructure developments, a booming real-estate market and an increase in industrial activity would drive growth throughout the region, which currently consumes around 14 million tpa of cement.

Reliance Cement has a total production capacity of around 5.8 million tpa and currently operates in the Indian markets of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Jharkhand.
UAECEMENT.COM - Sep,10 ,2014

Dubai s ICD buys US$300m stake in Nigeria’s Dangote Cement
The Investment Corp of Dubai (ICD) has bought a 1.4% stake in Nigeria s Dangote Cement for US$300m. Dangote Cement spokesman, Carl Franklin, confirmed the sale, but provided no further details.
UAECEMENT.COM - Sep,09 ,2014

Vietnam cement exports rise in first seven months
In the first seven months of 2014, Vietnam earned US$563m from the export of 13.1Mt of clinker and cement, a 24% rise year-on-year in value terms and a 20.4% increase in terms of volume. Indonesia, Taiwan and Malaysia were the largest importers of Vietnamese clinker and cement in this period, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Indonesia imported 1.42Mt of clinker and cement (worth US$69m), Taiwan bought 0.86Mt (US$37.6m) and Malaysia purchased 0.7Mt (US$34.7m). Cambodia was fourth with 0.29Mt (US$15.6m).

Vietnam s domestic cement sales are expected to rise by 9% year-on-year to between 49 - 50Mt in 2014, while cement and clinker exports are likely to hit 16 - 20Mt. The country exported 15Mt in 2013.
UAECEMENT.COM - Sep,05 ,2014

Nigerian cement production capacity reaches 39.5 million tpa
Nigeria s Federal Government estimated the country s installed cement production capacity to be approximately 39.5 million tpa in 2013, rising from just 2 million tpa in 2002.

During the groundbreaking ceremony for UniCem s new 2.5 million t cement production line in Akamkpa, President Goodluck Jonathan noted that the country s increased cement production capacity was a result of the government s Backward Integration Policy. According to a statement endorsed by Umar Sani, Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President, the policy was initiated by the government in 2002 to ensure self-sufficiency in cement production.

The President told local press that the government will continue to formulate policies to support and stimulate the manufacturing sector, which forms the backbone of Nigeria s growth. According to reports, the soon-to-be inaugurated 550 MW Calabar power plant (near Calabar City) will help tackle the energy issues faced by companies operating in Cross River State, and construction work is set to begin on the railway line between Obudu Ranch and Calabar. Furthermore, infrastructural projects such as the dredging of the Calabar River and the construction of a deep-sea port at Ibaka are underway.

UAECEMENT.COM - Sep,05 ,2014

Tanzania: Dangote cement plant on schedule
Work at Dangote cement plant in Mtwara, Tanzania, is on schedule and will be completed end next year. The new plant will produce three million metric tonnes of cement per annum.

The company is investing a half a billion dollars in the project which will turn Mtwara town, into a booming city. In its annual report, Dangote Cement said, it has invested over US$1bn in sub-Sahara Africa during the last fiscal year. "In Tanzania, we have now begun work on a three million tons per annum (3mta) plant at Mtwara that is expected to be operational in late 2015," the report said.

Dangote Cement is achieving "steady progress" building projects in other African countries. In Ethiopia, work is underway to build a 2.5mta plant at Mugher, with plant installation expected to be completed by the end of this year. In Zambia, work is underway on a 1.5mta plant at Ndola, with cement production expected late in the second half of 2014. It noted that the group is reviewing plans for Kenya with a view to increasing the scale of our proposed factory from 1.5mta to 3.0mta.

"This is because we are confident there will be sufficient demand both in Kenya and neighbouring countries. We have secured a prospecting licence and are now in the process of upgrading it to a mining licence," the report says.

"In South Sudan, we have put our plans on hold owing to the unfavourable political and conflict situation that exists in the country at present. Building work is progressing with a 1.5mta grinding plant in Cameroon, with production expected to commence in October. In Congo we are building a 1.5mta plant due to open in 2016."

"Along the coast of West Africa, we plan to build import and grinding facilities to receive and process raw materials supplied from Nigeria, Senegal and elsewhere.

Work in Sierra Leone is nearing completion and we now anticipate it will commence operations in the final quarter of 2014, the report said.

Construction of Dangote Cement s Tanzania plant was inaugurated in May last year and is due for completion in 22 months. The establishment of the cement plant is in line with the Dangote Group s aim of expanding across Africa and increasing its capacity to 29 million tpa by 2015.

UAECEMENT.COM - Aug,31 ,2014

Iran cement exports in doubt to Tajikistan and Iraq
Iran: Iran stopped exporting cement to Tajikistan in June 2014 and its cement exports to Iraq are ambiguous , according to Ebrahim Gholamzadeh, managing director of Iran s Lamerd Cement Company. Gholamzadeh, who had his comments reported by Iranian media, added that no official has followed up the issue and that there is no organized management in exports of cement to Iraq.

Iran exported around 18Mt/yr of cement in the previous Iranian calendar year, which ended on 20 March 2014. In the past Iranian year, Iran exported cement to 24 countries, including Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Georgia, Oman, India and China.
UAECEMENT.COM - Aug, 28 ,2014

Venezuela considers central administration of country s cement firms
Venezuela: The Venezuelan government is considering centralising the running of all the state-run cement firms in the country under a single entity, Corporacion Socialista del Cemento. In 2009, the state took over the three main cement companies, and while the aforementioned firm owns Industria Venezolana de Cemento, Fabrica Nacional de Cementos, Cemento Andino and Venezolana de Cementos, each company currently operates autonomously.
UAECEMENT.COM - Aug, 28 ,2014

Nigeria: Lafarge WAPCO profits up 29 percent
Lafarge Cement WAPCO has announced a profit before tax of NGN17.74 billion for its half year ended June 30, a 29 percent rise from its NGN13.80 billion ($85 million) in the corresponding period of the previous year.

The company, which last month merged with South Africa’s Lafarge subsidiary, also enjoyed a 12 percent in revenue for the first six months of 2014. Revenue rose to NGN55.35 billion ($341 million) from NGN49.48 billion ($305 million) in the preceding year.

The company said it achieved growth in sales despite low demand for cement caused by the rainy season which slowed construction activities, as well as Nigeria’s delay in the passage of its 2014 budget.

However, analysts say they expect to see further improvement in cement companies’ unit sales in the second half of the year given the capacity ramp-up and strong cement demand.

The Chairman of Lafarge Wapco, Olusegun Osunkeye disclosed last month that the 60 percent French-owned Nigerian Subsidiary would pay the Lafarge group $200 million in cash and 1.4 billion in new shares to buy Lafarge’s wholly owned South African unit and other of its Nigerian businesses in order to combine them under a new name Lafarge Africa.

The consolidation is seen by analysts as a threat to the dominance of Africa s largest cement giant Dangote cement.

French giant Lafarge owns 60 percent of Lafarge Wapco, 100 percent of the Atlas cement company and 58.6 percent of Ashaka Cement Plc (both Nigerian listed companies). It also jointly owns United Cement Company of Nigeria with Swiss-based Holcim. And of course, the French cement company owns 100 percent of the Lafarge South African business.

UAECEMENT.COM - Aug, 25 ,2014

Layoffs possible at Lafarge Zambia
Zambia: Lafarge Zambia is considering laying off some 30% of its workforce of 670 employees, according to a memo circulated by a group of unionised workers. The company, which owns cement plants in Ndola and Lusaka, has allegedly not yet paid its unionised workers a promised salary increase, according to local reports. Instead of increasing these wages, Lafarge Zambia s CEO Emmanuel Rigaux announced the layoffs.

"We are appealing to the government to intervene on our behalf so that we are paid our salary increment and also to find out why they are pruning staff," said employees of Lafarge Zambia. The workers also allege mistreatment by management and say that Lafarge sold most of its shares to Holcim because it is "scared" of competing with Dangote.

"The CEO takes advantage of the greediness and selfishness of our own Zambian managers to exploit us," said the employees. "Most Zambian managers are destroying their fellow citizens by protecting the greediness of these foreign investors. The management make billions but they treat the employees poorly."

According to a sales report from Lafarge dated 12 August 2014, Rigaux said, "The recent trend in our costs though is not favourable, partly as a result of negative currency impact. We must take action to contain our costs and ensure the sustainability of our business, including the review of our headcount. As we are entering the active phase of our capacity expansion projects both in Ndola and Chilanga and new competition is emerging, we must be fully mobilised to better serve our customers and maintain our undisputed leadership, including our cost leadership."

GlobalCement - Aug, 20 ,2014

Ash Grove Cement Company appoints Randy Vance as President and COO
Ash Grove Cement Company has announced the promotion of J. Randall (Randy) Vance to President and COO, effective immediately. Mr Vance is promoted from his position of three years as Senior Vice President of Administration and CFO. In his new role, he will assume responsibility for manufacturing and sales of Ash Grove’s cement operations and will continue to lead the finance, accounting, risk management, information technology and HR departments.

Mr Vance, who joined Ash Grove from Interstate Bakeries Corporation, said: “It is a privilege to be selected to lead such a talented and dedicated team. Our focus on safety, quality and customer service is exceptional in the cement industry. I am eager to continue to grow our business as a supplier of choice.”

"Since joining Ash Grove, Randy has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills that fit well in the Ash Grove culture,” said Charles T. Sunderland, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. “Randy brings a breadth of business experience to Ash Grove, which gives us confidence that he will be a catalyst in guiding the company’s performance.” Sunderland will continue in his present role. The company has launched a search for a new CFO.
UAECEMENT.COM - Aug, 19 ,2014

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Arab Union for Cement and Building Materials
 The Nineteenth Arab International Cement Conference and Exhibition 
 11-13th November 2014, Le Centre International de Conférences de la Palmeraie, Marrakech, Morocco
 16th Asia CemenTrade
 9th Middle East CemenTrade


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