Displaying items by tag: Brazil
Russian refractory manufacturer Magnezit Group has struck a deal this week with Vamtec to sell product in Brazil. What such a cooperation agreement will actually entail, as ever, remains vague but it is an interesting time for a cement equipment supplier to enter the market. The majority of refractories sales are to the iron and steel industries but cement and lime holds the biggest minority market. Industrial research analysts Roskill placed the cement and lime share at 13% in a recent market report.
Competitor refractory producer RHI placed Magnezit in the same Euro0.5 – 1bn revenue bracket with producers such as a Magnesita, Inerys, Krosaki and Shinagawa. Magnesita is the most relevant company out of that list because it is headquartered in Belo Horizonte in Brazil. It is a global company but some of its major mines and production sites are based in Brazil. In 2013 its revenue grew by 8% to US$937m despite static refractory sales volumes led by falling steel production. In 2013 its refractory revenues came mainly from South America. So far in 2014 it appears to have increased its refractory sales volumes, despite a declining marking in Brazil and South America as a whole, by moving into new markets.
A similar situation has been reported by RHI in the region so far in 2014 with falling steel production hitting refractory revenue. RHI originally planned to build a refractory plant in Rio de Janeiro in 2011 but this was amended in late 2012. In this environment it seems that Magnezit may be testing the market rather than planning a full-scale incursion into Brazil.
For the first half of 2014 the Sindicato Nacional Da Indústria Do Cimento (SNIC) has reported that cement sales were 34.5Mt in Brazil, a rise of 2.8% compared to the same period in 2013. Despite this modest growth, Brazilian cement producers will see this as disappointing following years of higher growth prior to 2013.
However, events may not be that gloomy in Brazil after all. The prospect of CRH's impending purchase of three cement plants and two grinding plants from Lafarge and Holcim in Brazil with a cement production capacity of 3.6Mt/yr may stir up the market. For starters CRH may audit the suppliers the new plants are using and decide whether they want to continue using them. The acquisition will add a new player to compete with the existing producers in the high producing states of Minas Gerais and Rio De Janeiro. Competition authority Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica (CADE) set up the terms for what Lafarge and Holcim would have to sell in December 2014, so now that a buyer has been found the move may go smoothly. Needless to say this presents an opening for any, say, Russian-based refractory producers looking for new clients!
Russia/Brazil: Refractory materials producer Magnezit Group has signed a cooperation agreement with the Brazilian company Vamtec, a diversified manufacturer and trader of materials for metallurgical and cement plants. The agreement specifies distribution and promotion of Magnezit Group's products and services in Brazil. It also includes research collaboration in the metallurgical industry.
"During recent years we have carried out a number of changes in the company, including the construction of a plant for the production of magnesia clinker in Satka, Chelyabinsk region and the purchase of a new deposit in Krasnoyarsk Territory. Cooperation with Vamtec will let Magnezit Group find new possibilities for growth and continue efficient development of business in the South American market," said general director of Magnezit Group Sergei Odegov.
Vamtec SA was founded in the 1980s. It carries out development, production and promotion of materials and services for steel making industry, non-ferrous metallurgy, foundries and other industries.
Brazil: Votorantim Cimentos said that the proportion of alternative raw materials used in Brazilian cement is one of the best in the world, according to data from the Brazilian construction industry association SNIC. In 2013, 91% of all the cement commercialised in Brazil had some additive in addition to the clinker derived from limestone used in cement production.
"Brazil has one of the highest clinker substitution rates in the world. This is due to industry research and the development of technologies to incorporate natural substitutes and even steel industry rejects into cement manufacture", said Edvaldo Rabelo, executive director of energy, sustainability and safety for Votorantim Cimentos. "The addition of alternative raw materials ensures a product as strong and durable as cement made with pure clinker and generates gains such as reductions in gas emissions, water consumption and the burning of fossil fuels in the production process."
Votorantim Cimentos Research and Development manager, Silvia Vieira, said that the company plant in Porto Velho, Rondônia is considered a model in climate change initiatives. In operation since 2009, the plant saw alternative raw materials as a means of reducing operational costs. Located in the north of Brazil, there is a lack of limestone for clinker production and the high cost of transporting it from other mines is prohibitive. "This led us to think about producing calcined clay pozzolan at the plant and increasing the proportion of substitutes. After research, the involvement of scientists to establish technical specifications and diverse tests, we developed our own furnace for producing the material," said Silvia.
CRH has made good on its intentions. This week it stumped up Euro6.5bn to buy assets from Lafarge and Holcim in four continents. The move follows preparation since at least May 2014 when the Irish building materials group announced a divestment programme. In October 2014 it announced that it would sell its brickwork division.
CRH is finding the cash through a mix of existing cash, debt and equity placing. Interestingly, back in 2012 an Irish stockbroking analyst who was interviewed reckoned that the company could spend up to Euro3.5bn on acquisitions whilst remaining within its banking agreements. Throw in the recent sales and planned divestments and the planned acquisition from LafargeHolcim doesn't seem like too much of a stretch for CRH.
If completed, the purchase will see CRH take on 24 cement plants with a production capacity of 36Mt/yr. As a back of the envelope calculation suggests the sale price of Euro6.5bn isn't far off the occasionally used price of US$200/t for western cement production. The deal also includes aggregates, ready mixed concrete and asphalt assets.
The purchase marks a change in CRH's buying strategy both in terms of scale and distribution. Much of CRH's previous acquisitions have been minority shareholdings that make it difficult to accurately report the company's position in the cement industry. For example, in our Top 100 Report CRH was reported to have a production capacity of 6.49Mt/yr for majority shareholdings with another 19.9Mt/yr for minority shareholdings. The new cement capacity being purchased blows this away because it more than doubles CRH's total capacity and it appears to be all majority owned. CRH thinks that this will propel it to become the world's third biggest building materials manufacturer after LafargeHolcim and Saint-Gobain, leapfrogging Cemex and HeidelbergCement in the process. Strangely there is no mention of the huge Chinese players in the top five manufacturers in CRH's acquisition presentation.
CRH has avoided buying plants in southern Europe but it is relying on the slowly improving growing UK market, where CRH will pick up four plants, to balance the risk. Elsewhere in Europe, the three Holcim plants in France have been suffering from continued low construction rates in that country and the two Lafarge cement plants in Romania are unlikely to have recovered from a production fall in 2013. Outside of Europe growth has been poor in Quebec in 2013 and 2014, where CHR is buying two plants from Holcim. Both Lafarge and Holcim have also seen a slowdown in Brazil. However, the Philippines does seem like a better bet for CRH, with solid cement volumes growth seen by Lafarge in 2013 and the first three quarters of 2014.
With CRH now looking like a company that wants to produce cement rather than one that owns parts of companies that produce cement, all eyes are on the construction markets. 14 of the 24 cement plants CRH are buying are in Europe. Buying at the bottom of a sustained production slump makes sense because the asking price will be low. However, has the bottom been reached yet?
Brazil: Aumund has established its fourth global service centre with an integrated warehouse in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The centre is intended to improve the availability and operation of customers' equipment through maintenance. The central location is designed to serve customers in South America, where 10% of Aumund's equipment is supplied and installed. The centre follows the engineering firm's other service centres in Germany, the US and China.
The new centre's service team consists of 10 personnel, including supervisors, inspectors and technicians for field service activities. All inspectors are trained in Aumund's PREMAS maintenance framework. In addition to keeping spare parts in stock the new service centre will also service and repair equipment manufactured by Schade Lagertechnik GmbH and Samson Materials Handling Ltd.
Aumund Brazil started operations in 1975 with a sales office in Rio de Janerio. In 1993 the company moved to Jundai in São Paulo state and then to the city of São Paulo in 1997.
Brazil: The Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica (CADE) has approved, with conditions, the merger of Holcim and Lafarge in Brazil. CADE has stated that the companies would have to sell 31% of their installed capacity. The plants to go are based in the States of Minas Gerais (Pouso Alegre, Arcos, Matozinhos, Santa Luzia) and Rio de Janeiro (Cantagalo, Santa Cruz), which have a total of 3Mt/yr of cement production capacity.
Brazil: Colombia's Cementos Argos has decided not to 'do battle' for cement-sector assets in Brazil that currently belong to the European giants Lafarge and Holcim. The Colombian multinational has informed the Superintendencia Financiera that it does not see such a purchase as being likely to generate the value its investments would expect.
Thus, Argos puts an end to three months of expectation regarding a possible debut in Brazil for the company. The assets in Brazil's Sudeste region are up for grabs so that the merger can meet with anti-monopoly requirements and amount to some US$1bn. Argos had been in consultation with local financial giant Itau concerning a possible bid. The Colombian cement group's foreign eye will most likely focus now on Mexico, another nation mentioned fondly by company president Jorge Mario Velasquez.
India/Brazil: UltraTech Cement is re-evaluating its decision to bid for the Brazilian assets of Holcim SA, according to local media. The Aditya Birla group company had submitted non-binding bids for the cement assets in October 2014. Any binding bids are due in January 2015.
The Brazilian assets on sale include three integrated cement plants and two grinding stations that share a total capacity of 3.6Mt/yr. There is also one ready-mix plant. Now, rather than investing in those assets, the UltraTech plans to focus and expand its domestic cement production, according to local media, but an UltraTech spokeswoman said that company does not comment on market speculation.
The decision to re-think the Brazilian investment may stem from weak demand conditions in the market. The Brazilian economy has seen sub 2% growth in the last 11 quarters. For the three months ending 30 September 2014, the Brazilian economy actually contracted by 0.24%.
Brazil: Holcim and Lafarge are actively negotiating an agreement with Brazil's anti-trust council, Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica (Cade), to gain approval for their merger.
The deal involves divestitures of 31% or 3.6Mt/yr of Lafarge and Holcim's joint cement production capacity in Brazil. The assets could be sold to single company or several bidders. Holcim is still bound to pay Cade a US$197m fine that was imposed due to cartel practices. Lafarge paid US$16.7m to Cade in 2007 to end the investigation into its practices.
Egypt/Brazil: Egypt's Arabian Cement has entered a joint venture for a cement grinding plant with Brazil's Cementos La Union. The project is worth US$28.8m.
Arabian Cement's board of directors approved the venture with Cementos Relampago, an affiliate of Cementos La Union, 'to establish a cement grinding plant in Northwest Brazil with a total capacity of 230,000t/yr.' The US$28.8m investment cost will be financed 50% through debt and equity. Arabian Cement's contribution would be US$8.76m, representing 60% of the total paid-in capital.