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LATEST CEMENT INDUSTRY NEWS
Thailand: Kan eyes 5% rise in 2015 cement demand
SIAM Cement (SCG) chief executive Kan Trakulhoon believes the Thai economy has bottomed out since August, and forecasts that cement demand - a leading indicator of economic growth - will expand by at least 5 per cent next year.

Kan, who runs the country s |leading chemicals/building materials/paper group, also expressed optimism about the world economy, and in particular the petrochemical industry, whose upswing cycle he expects will now extend from next year to 2018.

Despite reporting a 20-per-cent drop in net profit for the third quarter yesterday, which was caused mainly by non-recurring gains booked in the same period last year, the SCG boss told a press conference that the worst was probably over for the Thai economy, which was now recovering gradually. He said SCG expected cement demand to recover significantly from the second half of next year, thank chiefly to government projects.

"We expect cement demand, which is a leading indicator of the economy, to grow by a minimum of 5 per cent next year. This is our conservative estimate," he said.

SCG expects Thai cement demand to fall by 3 per cent this year, after soaring last year to the record level posted in 1996.

The fall in global oil prices, from about US$110 (Bt3,570) a barrel in the middle of the year to about $85 at present, has also been benefiting the petrochemical business, which contributes about half of the group s revenue and assets, said the CEO.

The spread between the prices of its polyethylene products and naphtha raw materials rose from $691 a tonne in the third quarter to more than $800 in some weeks this month.

Similarly, the polypropylene-naphtha spread has shot up from $716 a tonne to more than $800 during the same period.

Since oil prices are still falling, Kan said SCG might book some Bt500 million-Bt700 million of inventory losses in the current quarter, but stressed that he was "1,000 per cent certain" that the overall results for the group in the quarter would be better than in the previous three months.

SCG reported a third-quarter net profit of Bt7.84 billion, a decrease of Bt1.94 billion or 20 per cent from the same period last year, when it posted a non-recurring gain of Bt1.7 billion resulting from a fair investment value adjustment of sanitaryware and fittings assets, and the sale of assets to Japan s Toto.

The group s sales revenue increased 9 per cent in the July-to-September period, to total Bt124.27 billion, largely due to higher chemical prices.

For the first nine months of the year, SCG recorded a 12-per-cent increase in revenue, to Bt370.83 billion, and a 13-per-cent drop in net profit, to Bt28.51 billion.

Kan said the upcycle of the petrochemical industry worldwide was now expected to last from next year to 2018, or six months longer than the previous estimate of mid-2017.

SCG has not yet reaped the full benefit from the current spike in petrochemical spreads, which began from upstream products, since it currently has more stakes in downstream products than in upstream products, he explained.

Meanwhile, Kan said SCG s board had recently approved the company s planned investment of Bt2.8 billion for the construction of mortar factories in Khon Kaen and Lampang.

The company also expects to conclude a deal to buy a European technology company next month.

The group will put most of its Bt250-billion budget approved for the next five years into Asean investment outside Thailand, "because it is where the growth is", he said, pointing to the 16-per-cent growth of its Asean sales booked for the first nine months of the year.

In the next five years, SCG s non-Thailand assets will grow to 25 per cent of the group s total, from 17 per cent at present, and its non-Thailand Asean workforce from 30 per cent to 47 per cent of overall employees, the chief executive added.

UAECEMENT.COM - Oct,30,2014

Pakistani cement producers report increased profits
Maple Leaf Cement

Maple Leaf Cement has posted profit after tax of Rs.545 million for the June - September quarter, 1Q15. Sales grew 6.2% y/y to Rs.4.5 billion thanks to a 9% growth in dispatches compared to 1Q14. In terms of volumes, the company sold 0.6 million t of cement in the quarter. However, net earnings declined 2% due to increased taxes.

Kohat Cement

Kohat Cement recorded net profit of Rs.683 million for the quarter, up 11% y/y, with sales volumes up 5% y/y. Sales revenue was also up 11% at Rs.2.9 billion, thanks to higher cement prices as well as increased volumes.

An increase in electricity prices caused a decline in gross margins. The company is installing a 15 MW waste heat recovery plant, which is expected to bring operational costs down when it goes online at the end of this fiscal. The resultant energy produced should meet 30% of the company s requirements. The total project cost is put at Rs.2 billion.

Keeping up with technical developments

A recent report in the Express Tribune, suggested that Pakistan s cement industry lacks innovation in terms of cement quality, despite its worldwide popularity. Nabeel Asghar from Technology Upgradation and Skill Development Company (TUSDEC) told the newspaper that there is a dire need to introduce new cement qualities in Pakistan for better efficiency and cost reduction . The company operates a subsidiary, Cement Research and Development Institute, which primarily tests cement for quality certifications, but has started testing samples to introduce blended cements to the market. Asghar suggests that Pakistan is falling behind in this regard. The article also suggests that the industry lacks manpower to enhance quality.

UAECEMENT.COM - Oct,30,2014

Fauji Cement records 3% increase in first quarter profit
Pakistan s Fauji Cement has released its key financial data for the first quarter of the 2014 – 2015 financial year, ended 30 September 2014. The company announced a 3% y/y increase in net profit, which stood at Rs.602 million, compared to Rs.582 million recorded in the corresponding period in 2013 (earnings per share (EPS) increased to Rs.0.45).

During the reporting period, net sales totalled Rs.4.17 billion, an increase from Rs.3.87 billion recorded in the first quarter of the 2013 – 2014 financial year. The rise was attributed to a 4% y/y increase in cement prices to Rs.516 per 50 kg bag and a 3% y/y increase in cement dispatches to 0.59 million t. However, the cost of sales rose from Rs.2.6 billion in 1Q14 to Rs.2.84 billion in 1Q15. Other income fell from Rs.51.52 million to Rs.45.32 million in the period under review.

Furthermore, gross margins fell by 1% y/y to 32% during the first quarter due to inflationary pressures.
UAECEMENT.COM - Oct,30,2014

Egypt: Misr Beni Suef Cement to build coal mill
Misr Beni Suef Cement has reached an agreement to build a coal mill worth US$27.9m in 12 months.

"The project will be funded through self-financing and loans," said Misr Beni Suef. The company expects the project to be completed by the end of 2015. Egypt is currently struggling with blackouts and the government has cut natural gas supplies to plants, which has prompted cement companies to switch to coal.

Egypt s natural gas production has been declining for years. Production in January 2014 was down by 10% from January 2013, according to the most recent government figures. In September 2014, the Egyptian government began to allow coal imports despite environmental concerns from the high pollution coal emits.
UAECEMENT.COM - Oct,25,2014

Cement and clinker statistics: Canary Islands, Spain, Morocco
Canary Islands

Around 39 336 t of cement was sold in the Canary islands in September 2014. According to the Canary Islands Institute of Statistics (ISTAC), this brings the accumulated sales figure for this year to 343 141 t.

In Lanzarote, 3099 t was sold in September alone, representing a decline of 16.2% y/y and 11.3% m/m. However, sales reached 33 462 t in the January – September period, an increase of 13.1% on January – September 2013, when 29 573 t of cement was sold.

Morocco

According to figures released by Association Professionnelle des Cimentiers du Maroc, cement sales totalled 1.306 million t in September 2014, down 10.78% on the 1.464 t sold in September 2013. In the first nine months of this year, sales reached approximately 10.655 million t. This is 5.73% lower then the corresponding period in 2013, when 11.302 million t of cement was dispatched.

Cataluña

The volume of bulk solids handled by the Port of Barcelona grew by 7% y/y in January – September 2014, with cement and clinker volumes up 24% y/y. Overall, the port saw the traffic of goods increase by 7% y/y to 34.9 million t in the first nine months of this year.

Although the region’s cement association, Ciment Català, has not released consumption figures for September yet, consumption fell by 17% y/y in August 2014. However production rose slightly as exports of cement and clinker increased by a staggering 131.9% y/y to 229 946 t. In Spain as a whole, domestic consumption improved by 6.1% y/y in September 2014 but dropped by 1% y/y in the first nine months of 2014.

UAECEMENT.COM - Oct,25,2014

US cement market grows 2.8% in August
Cement shipments in the USA were up 2.8 per cent in August 2013 when compared with August 2013, according to preliminary data from the US Geological Survey (USGS). While southern Texas, Georgia and Florida all noted double-digit increases of 27, 24 and 11 per cent, respectively, dispatches in southern California and Arizona fell by one and eight per cent, respectively.
UAECEMENT.COM - Oct,24 ,2014

Egyptian NCCD to build own cement plant
Egypt: Egypt s National Company for Construction and Development (NCCD) plans to build its own cement plant as the price of locally-produced cement is high, according to NCCD s chairman Mahmoud Hegazy. The new plant will cover the cement requirements of NCCD s subsidiaries. The state-run firm is currently evaluating the best timing for the project.
Global Cement - Oct,20 ,2014

Indocement plant tour: Citeureup
Originally, Indocement produced mostly OPC, but in 2006 it introduced PCC cement – a composite cement that uses cementitious additives along with clinker and gypsum.

Following robust market growth, Indocement formulated its long-term strategy to increase capacity, triggering sustainable growth in line with the market and preserving high quality standards.

Accordingly, in the first phase of the cement capacity expansion programme, two new cement grinding facilities were successfully installed and commissioned in Cirebon to add 1.5 million tpa cement milling capacity. In view of the promising growth prospects of Indonesia, it was decided to proceed with phase two of the cement expansion in Citeureup, where excess clinker was still available, to increase the cement grinding capacity by 1.9 million tpa. This was achieved by installing a vertical roller mill from FLSmidth and optimising existing grinding facilities.

The project scope is based on the objective of increasing the overall cement production capacity along with operational improvements to the existing cement production lines to achieve the optimum operational efficiency and related benefits. The prime objectives of the project are as follows.

Enhance the overall cement production capacity by 1.9 million tpa (1.4 million tpa added with new VRM plus 0.5 million tpa from optimisation of plants 5, 7 and 8).

Operational improvements to the existing cement production lines. For example, installing covered storages for additive materials along with stackers and reclaimers, process and quality improvements and product transport system, etc.

Increasing cement packing capacity by 2.3 million tpa.

UAECEMENT.COM - Oct,20 ,2014

New production line at Italcement ’s Devnya Cement begins operations
With the activation of the new kiln, operations have begun on the new production line at the Devnya Cement plant, Italcementi Group’s Bulgarian arm, located near the port of Varna in eastern Bulgaria. Italcementi entered the Bulgarian market in 1998 with the acquisition of Devnya Cement, followed in 1999 by the acquisition of Vulkan Cement. In 2013, the Group reported revenue totalling €59 million in Bulgaria.

The completion of the Devnya project will allow the Group to consolidate its operations in Bulgaria, where it also operates the Vulkan grinding centre in Dimitrovgrad, and boost its export capacity due to the plants proximity to the port of Varna West, which allows the company access to all the countries on the Black Sea and on the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea.

“This operation, which flanks the Rezzato revamp in Italy, completes the strategic investment programme to strengthen the Group in Europe,” said Carlo Pesenti, Italcementi Group Chief Executive Officer. “With one of the largest investments in Bulgaria in the last 25 years, we have improved the industrial efficiency of our production facility and ensured alignment with the best technologies to safeguard the environment. The new plant will enable us to respond to demand on the domestic market and from the neighboring areas in Eastern Europe.”

The revamp of the plant began in April 2012 and required an investment of more than €160 million. Once the current tests and commissioning stage have been completed on all the systems, the plant will be fully operational by early 2015. The new facility is fully equipped with best available technologies and uses a dry process line, which can produce around 4000 tpd of clinker, for an annual output of around 1.5 million t of cement. This makes the facility one of the largest plants of its type in Europe.

Special attention has been given to energy efficiency at the plant, which is also equipped to use alternative fuels such as RDF and biomass, and to environmental impact mitigation systems, which ensure a significant reduction in carbon emissions. The Group’s commitment to Sustainable Development policies, which also underpin this investment, has won Devnya Cement Ministry of the Environment recognition as ‘Green Business 2014’. The plant has also received awards in the ‘Investor of the Year’ and ‘Investor in Human Capital’ categories.
UAECEMENT.COM - Oct,19 ,2014

​VDMA delegates to visit Angola and Kenya
Under the umbrella of the VDMA Construction Equipment and Building Material Machinery Association, eight cement plant engineering companies will send representatives to Luanda and Nairobi in the week beginning 17th November to host symposia for local building material manufacturers. The symposia will offer attendees the opportunity to learn about technical solutions “made in Germany” and to discuss local features and individual requirements.

Believing in Africa

“With our symposia, we hope to create opportunities for our customers,” said delegation leader Bernhard Pagenkemper, Head of Sales at Haver & Boecker, explaining the aim of this commitment in sub-Saharan Africa. “It is worth believing in Africa: every country offers opportunities for our companies to sell something.” In addition to Haver & Boecker, the delegation includes representatives from Aumund, Claudius Peters, Hazemag & EPR, Gebr. Pfeiffer, Christian Pfeiffer, Toni Technik and ThyssenKrupp.

Angola and Kenya are developing well

Angola and Kenya are enjoying economic growth and increasing cement consumption, but the construction material industries of both countries have a long way to go to catch up. Until 2013, cement was the most-imported product in Angola by some margin. Cement imports were banned at the start of this year in order to kick-start domestic production. Experts estimate production in the country to be around 5.5 million t, while demand is 8.5 million tpa. The government plans to increase capacity to 12 million t by 2016, so that the surplus can be exported to other countries in the region. The political situation can be expected to remain stable at least until the next election in 2017, and infrastructure and construction projects are being financed with profits from the oil business.

The sector also sees significant potential in eastern African countries. In Kenya, for example, cement consumption rose by 6.8% in 2013 compared to the previous year, putting it at 4.2 million t. Here, too, various large-scale projects and increasing private need for building materials is pushing up demand.

German companies can provide training and services

This presents a good business opportunity for the German mechanical and plant engineering companies, but as Pagenkemper says, “We want to do more than just help the countries with deliveries; we want to train the people in how to use the machines and to establish proper service.” The Germans hope that this long-term commitment will distinguish them from the Chinese competition, which is ubiquitous in sub-Saharan Africa.

The symposium in Luanda will be held on November 18; that in Nairobi on November 20. The events are being organised in cooperation with the local German Chambers of Commerce abroad.

The Angola/Kenya initiative is the cement sector s seventh joint delegation trip under the VDMA flag, following in the footsteps of events in Chile, Peru, Brazil, Algeria, Libya, Russia, India and Iran.

UAECEMENT.COM - Oct,15 ,2014

First female cement plant director appointed in Spain
Lafarge Spain has appointed Maruxa Suárez as Director of the Villaluenga de la Sagra cement plant in Toledo. This is the first time that a woman has been named as director of a cement plant in Spain.

Suárez joined Lafarge in 2004, working in the company’s environmental department in Madrid before moving to the Villaluenga de la Sagra plant. Before being promoted to Director, she served as Head of Production at the plant. She succeeds Mariano García Hoyos, who has taken up the role of Industrial Director at Lafarge Malaysia.

Suárez holds a degree in chemical science from the University of Córdoba and a degree in biochemistry from the University of Seville, as well as a Masters specialising in biotechnology.
UAECEMENT.COM - Oct,15 ,2014

Mexican and Colombian imports to help meet Nicaragua project
Imports from Mexico and Colombia can ensure the supply of cement for the Gran Canal Interoceanico project in Nicaragua, according to the president of the High Council of Private Enterprise, José Adán Aguerri.

He added that steps were being taken to further research supply options in the wider region, including the Caribbean, with the help of the private sector. However, the area faces supply shortages, which are expected to require further capacity building by cement companies. For example, Cemex Latam Holdings SA, announced in recent months a US$55m investment over the next three years in the installation of a new grinding mill to increase its cement capacity from 0.44Mta to 0.88Mta.
UAECEMENT.COM - Oct,11 ,2014

Asia Cement anticipates pick-up in Thai demand
Thailand-based producer Asia Cement said it expects a pick-up in demand from late this year and into 2015 due to the government’s stimulus package and the launch of infrastructure projects.

The Italcementi-group company forecasts Thai consumption for full-year 2014 to be on a par with last year’s figure of 34Mt. A five per cent increase is projected for next year.

Managing director of Asia Cement, Roberto Callieri, told the Bangkok Post that while Asia Cement had faced challenging times since the political situation in Thailand flared up, it was looking forward to seeing the stimulus package boost the economy and cement demand.

The company has a capacity of 7Mta with most of its cement sold locally, while the remainder is exported to neighbouring countries, mainly Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam.
UAECEMENT.COM - Oct,11 ,2014

Indonesia: Chinese companies to build cement plant in Indonesia
Two Chinese companies signed an agreement on 25 September 2014 to invest in an Indonesian cement plant as part of investment cooperation measures that were agreed by China and Indonesia in 2013.

State Development and Investment Corp (SDIC) and Anhui Conch Cement Company will fund the project for the plant located in West Papua Province. After the construction is completed, the plant will have 3Mt/yr of production capacity, serving Indonesia and neighbouring countries, including Papua New Guinea. SDIC and Anhui Conch will have stakes of 51% and 49% respectively.
UAECEMENT.COM - Oct,08 ,2014

India: Zuari plans new Gulbarga plant
Zuari Cement has announced that it will set up a 3.2Mt/yr cement plant in Gulbarga through its subsidiary Gulbarga Cement Ltd (GCL). The company also plans to set up 50MW captive power plant. The site for the new plant is 28km from Gulbarga city on the Gulbarga–Bangalore highway.

According to Nabil Francis, Managing Director of Zuari Cement, on completion of the project, the company will have a total capacity of 10Mt/yr and will become one of the largest cement manufacturers in South India. "The capacity expansion will strengthen our presence and strengthen our market expansion plans in the southern, western and the north east markets," he said.

The foundation stone for the plant was laid on 30 September 2014 by Francis along with Ramesh Suryanarayana, Director of Business Development, in the presence of Surendra Pattar, Site Manager, and other senior Zuari Cement executives.

Francis said the Gulbarga unit is designed to double its capacity in the future as part of the plans to cater for growing demand in northern Karnataka and neighbouring Maharashtra.
UAECEMENT.COM - Oct,08 ,2014


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