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Europe: Lafarge and Holcim have formally notified the European Commission (EC) of their proposed merger in order to obtain regulatory approval. With this notification, Holcim and Lafarge have now completed all necessary notifications with regulatory authorities worldwide.
During pre-notification discussions, which Lafarge and Holcim have had with the EC, the list of proposed assets for divestment in Europe has been slightly amended. Compared with the list of assets presented on 7 July 2014, the two companies now propose to retain Lafarge's Mannersdorf plant in Austria and to divest all of Holcim's operations in Slovakia.
In the rest of the world, the proposed list of assets remains the same, with the exception of the Philippines, as announced by the boards of directors of Lafarge Republic Inc. and of Holcim Philippines Inc.
In parallel to the regulatory process, Holcim and Lafarge are in ongoing negotiations with potential buyers of the assets that are proposed for divestment.
Pakistan: Kohat Cement has posted a net profit of US$6.63m in the quarter that ended on 30 September 2014, up by 11% year-on-year compared to US$5.98m during the corresponding period of the previous year. The company attributed the results to better income on cash placements and lower financial charges.
During the first quarter of the 2015 financial year, sales revenues increased by 11% to US$28.1m amid higher cement prices and a slight increase in volumetric sales, which were up by 5% year-on-year. However, Kohat Cement's reduced gross margins restricted earnings growth. The gross margins in the first quarter of 2015 were recorded at 35.5% against 38% in 2014, down by 250%. The decline in gross margins was caused due to the increase in electricity prices by more than 50%.
The quarterly statement also revealed that the company is in the process of installing a 15MW waste heat recovery (WHR) power plant, which is expected to reduce production costs. The plant, which will meet 30% of Kohat Cement's energy requirements, is expected to come online by the end of the 2015 financial year. The project will cost US$19.4m, 80% of which will be financed through debts.
Written by Global Cement staff
28 October 2014
Canada: McCinnis Cement's US$1.1bn cement plant, which is under construction in Quebec's Gaspe region, could be cancelled if work is suspended in order to conduct environmental hearings.
Lafarge Canada and two non-profit groups mounted a legal challenge in the summer of 2013 after Quebec's environment minister authorised the project without an environmental assessment hearing. In a legal filing McInnis said that the project is subject to old environmental rules that were in place when it was first proposed more than 20 years ago.
Successive provincial governments have confirmed many times that the project is not subject to current rules that require such hearings.
South Africa: PPC's lawyers have moved to silence the company's former CEO, Ketso Gordhan, to stop him making 'offensive statements' about PPC and have threatened to make Gordhan pay with a possible damages claim. Gordhan has been locked in a battle with the PPC board to regain his job and has been at the centre of a shareholder revolt that could see the entire board removed.
PPC's attorneys told Gordhan that the company had been faithful to the terms of Gordhan's departure and had 'refrained from divulging the true reasons behind his resignation' which, if revealed, would be 'extremely embarrassing and detrimental to his career.' The lawyers demanded that Gordhan respond within a day to confirm that he would desist from making such further statements. Tshisevhe Gwina Ratshimbilani Incorporated (TGR Attorneys), on behalf of PPC, said that Gordhan's resignation agreement, which was signed five weeks ago, required him to stick to the company's internal brief and public announcement regarding the reasons for his resignation.
Written by Global Cement staff
28 October 2014
Jamaica: Caribbean Cement Company Ltd (CCCL) has commenced supply of a new 240,000t clinker order to Venezuela. The US$20.5m contract will run over an 18-month period and will help boost export revenues from the Rockfort cement plant.
The new order from Caracas extends a previous agreement that saw CCCL ship 100,000t of clinker between December 2013 and April 2014 in a US$8.5m deal. The new contract is said to signal 'business as usual' at the works, which recently saw the replacement of Brian Young as board chairman by Christopher Dehring.
In September 2014, CCCL recorded clinker exports of 80,373t, compared to 6757t in September 2013. Cement exports also increased during the January – September 2014 period, from 178,643t in 2013 to 191,556t. In addition, CCCL noted a 10,000t rise in domestic sales to 458,644t as the construction market recovers.
"The recent trend in the domestic market is expected to continue as well as improvement in the export earnings," said Caribbean Cement's chairman Dehring and director Hollis Hosein.
"In addition, we have entered into a new agreement to supply 240,000t of clinker to Venezuela, starting shipments in October 2014. We, therefore, remain cautiously optimistic that these favourable results can be sustained."