Items filtered by date: Wednesday 02 May 2012
PCA revises forecast upwards 02 May 2012
US: Stronger than expected job creation and the beginning of a construction industry recovery mean gains in real construction spending will materialise in 2012, according to a new forecast from the Portland Cement Association (PCA). The PCA says that increases in cement consumption will follow.
The PCA revised its autumn forecast upward, anticipating a modest 3.7% increase in cement consumption in 2012, followed by a 7.6% jump in 2013 and a 14.1% increase in 2014. The forecast includes marginal improvements to non-residential construction, an upward revision to housing starts and an aggressive cement intensity gain, which is the amount of cement used per dollar of construction activity.
"Cement usage is greatest at the early stages of construction with foundation work. The retreat of building starts during the recession had a huge impact on consumption and intensity," said Ed Sullivan, chief economist at the PCA. "A construction start rebound in 2012 coupled with concrete's competitive price compared to other building materials translates to increases."
Sullivan said that, with successive years of economic and employment growth, the structural issues facing the construction industry will diminish. For example, the adverse impact of foreclosures will fade and return on investment for non-residential investments will improve.
The PCA forecasts that all sectors of construction will be positive during 2014-2015, which typically results in large gains in cement consumption.
Japan/US: After a preliminary visit to the island of Pagan, part of the US's Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Japanese investors have announced that they are looking to lease roughly 2000 hectares of public land on the island to mine what they consider 'best quality' pozzolan for a period of 10-15 years and to recycle pre-treated tsunami debris that they plan to bring in from Japan. Pozzolan is a siliceous volcanic ash used to produce hydraulic cement.
However, some CNMI residents are already expressing opposition to what they describe as the 'desecration' of Pagan by turning it into a dumping ground. Others have expressed concerns that the eventual use of the island will go beyond pozzolan mining and tsunami debris recycling.
The Japanese investors, aware of these sentiments, are trying to quell public opposition to their project, saying that the tsunami debris will be pre-treated, non-toxic and non-radioactive. They added that Japanese and international laws prohibit the shipment of highly toxic materials from one country to another. They added that at least 80% of the tsunami debris would be recycled on Pagan and brought back to Japan and other destinations. The tsunami debris would come from the Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures, which are both north of Fukushima where the damaged nuclear power plant is located.
One of the Japanese visitors, Oku Shigeharu, who is chairman of Japan Southwest Islands Security Institute, said that depending on the results of further study of Pagan, the investors are interested in mining all pozzolan deposits on the island for a period of 10 to 15 years. He said they do not plan to lease the whole island but only about 2000 hectares of it, including the pozzolan mining area and a site where tsunami debris will be 'disposed of and recycled.' The investors were also keen to highlight that the CNMI will generate revenue from the multimillion-dollar land lease, from royalty fees as a result of pozzolan mining and through securing new jobs for local residents. "In my personal opinion, maybe pozzolan (mining) can help save the CNMI economy," said Shigeharu."There's at least 100Mt of pozzolan on Pagan," said Pagan (CNMI) Development Corp. chair Juan Demapan, citing a previous study.
The delegation said that it would return to CNMI in three weeks, bringing with them engineers, scientists and other experts to further study and assess Pagan.
New Eurocement contact for KHD 02 May 2012
Russia: The leading Russian cement producer Eurocement has placed an order worth more than Euro80m with KHD for a new cement plant to be built in Stavropol, Russia.
The contract between Stavropolsky Zavod Stroitelnih Materialov, a member of the Eurocement Group, and ZAB Zementanlagenbau GmbH Dessau, a subsidiary of KHD Humboldt Wedag International AG, is for a new cement plant with an annual output of 1.3Mt/yr.
KHD's scope will cover the supply of production equipment, starting from raw material crushing all the way up to cement loading and packing. KHD will also supply automation and control equipment for the new production line. In addition, the companies concluded a separate contract for erection and commissioning supervision services, which is part of the total order volume.
The project will be booked as order intake immediately upon receipt of a down payment.
Treasury Secretary defends Camargo Corrêa bid 02 May 2012
Portugal: Portugal's Treasury Secretary Maria Luis Albuquerque has defended the takeover bid by Brazil's Camargo Corrêa for Portuguese cement maker Cimpor from suggestions that it was against Portuguese national interests and that the price offered by Camargo Corrêa was too low.
"This operation appears to us the best alternative for the company," said Albuquerque, speaking to a parliamentary committee. "It safeguards the national interests in the most attractive form that is possible to secure." Opposition Socialists had demanded that the government answer questions on the takeover.
Camargo Corrêa, Brazil's second-largest construction group, launched a Euro5.5/share takeover bid at the end of March 2012 for the 67.1% of Cimpor that it does not already own. Cimpor's board has said the bid is too low and lacks detail on its plans for the company's future.
Two key Cimpor shareholders, including the state-run bank CGD, have already said they are prepared to sell their stakes under Camargo Corrêa's terms and many analysts expect the bid to succeed. Along with other Portuguese banks, CGD is under pressure to improve its capital position under the terms of a Euro78bn EU/IMF bailout for Portugal.
Albuquerque said that Camargo Corrêa's bid would make Cimpor's shareholder structure more stable, preserve the company's listing in Lisbon and 'bring liquidity advantages to the national economy, allowing Cimpor to refinance its debt."
Oman: Cement sector players in Oman are scaling up their production capacity to meet the ever-rising local demand and also from export markets such as Yemen and various East African nations. Until recently, the Omani cement manufacturers were ‘victims’ of a cheap influx of cement from the UAE.
In 2011, imports met 25% of cement demand in Oman, mainly from the UAE where the weak construction sector had resulted in a excess of cement. Now with rising operational costs, producers in the UAE are no longer in a position to offer cement at lower prices, boosting the prospects of Omani producers.
In the first quarter of 2012 Oman Cement has seen its cement sales increase by 13.8% on a year-on-year basis, driven by lower prices and an increase in domestic construction activity.
Meanwhile, Raysut Cement group's net profit before tax soared by 37% to US$17.7m in the first three months of 2012, from US$12.9m in the same period of 2011. The profit before tax of Raysut Cement Company (RCC) soared by 26% to US$14.5m, from US$11.6m during the same periods. The group as a whole sold 0.06Mt of clinker and 1Mt of cement during the quarter that ended on 31 March 2012 against 0.03Mt and 0.83Mt respectively in the same period of 2011.
Raysut attributed its increase in profit to higher sales volume and better price realisation in spite of competition, both in the domestic and in the export markets. Construction activity in Oman is expected to continue its upswing during the current year.
HeidelbergCement Ukraine sees worrying loss 02 May 2012
Ukraine: HeidelbergCement incurred losses of Euro6.7m in the first quarter of 2012, according to a company report. The loss is nearly three times the amount that the company lost in the whole of 2011, when it lost Euro2.3m. HeidelbergCement Ukraine reported a net revenue of Euro14.2m for the first quarter of 2012.