Displaying items by tag: Brazil
Brazil: Brazil's antitrust watchdog Cade has ordered six cement makers named in a price-rigging case to pay a combined US$934m in fines within one month in a landmark decision that also orders asset disposals, according to Reuters. Under the terms of the decision announced on 29 July 2015, the watchdog gave the companies a one-year deadline to reduce their installed capacity in the cement and concrete industries through asset sales. The decision was published in the government's official gazette.
According to Cade, which first issued a ruling in the case in May 2014, Votorantim Cimentos, Intercement Brasil, Itabira Agro Industrial, Cia de Cimentos Itambé, Holcim Ltd and Cimpor Cimentos de Portugal colluded on pricing to force rivals out of the market. The ruling, which followed an eight-year inquiry, followed cost overruns that dogged Brazil's preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup as well as dozens of road, port and infrastructure projects across the country. The companies control about 75% of the domestic market for cement and concrete.
A series of studies by Cade showed evidence that several takeovers and asset swaps among cement companies during the 1990s and the 2000s were made to prevent rivals from entering the market. The largest players in Brazil's cement industry tend to have strong market control in specific regions, increasing the potential for collusion. The number of cement producers in Brazil shrank to about 10 in 2011 from almost 25 in the early 1990s.
Under terms of the ruling, Votorantim must pay US$450m in fines and Cimpor US$89.2m. Cade fined Intercement Brasil US$72.4m, Itabira US$123m and Holcim US$153m. Itambé must pay US$26.4m. Some of the companies are challenging Cade's ruling in the courts. Cade also imposed sanctions on ABCP, Brazil's Portland cement group and SNIC, which represents local cement plants.
Brazil: Votorantim Cimentos intends to temporarily suspend production at its cement plant in Ribeirao Grande, Sao Paulo from August 2015. The plant will operate as a distribution centre from this time. The decision has been blamed on current Brazilian financial climate.
A total of 128 workers are to lose their jobs, of which 83 have already been suspended, according to Valor Econômico. The company has also confirmed it is working with the workers union for the region to try to relocate the dismissed workers.
Brazil: According to the Esmerk Latin American News, Brazil's economic defence body Cade has ended its administrative inquest against Votorantim Cimentos, Cia de Cimento Itambe and Cimpor Cimentos do Brasil. The investigation was into the alleged breech of economic order through actions such as the refusal to sell certain types of cement to independent firms from 2008 onward. The illicit operations were alleged to have affected companies in Rio Grande do Sul and in the south east and central west regions.
Brazil: According to Valor Economico, estimates from the cement industry association Sindicato Nacional da Indústria do Cimento (SNIC) point to a retraction in domestic cement demand in 2015, the first market dip in the last 10 years.
Some estimates point to a 10 - 12% decrease, eventually 15% if there is no pick up in demand. There was a 1% increase in cement demand in 2014, as the sector was pushed by construction activities and abundant credit offers at favourable rates. Cement sales in 2014 grew by 1.4% to 70.9Mt and imports fell by 20.4% to 817,000t. Apparent cement consumption in 2014 grew by 1% to 71.7Mt.
The SNIC has said that consumption could fall to around 60Mt in 2016. Installed capacity is 90Mt/yr and 10Mt/yr of extra cement production capacity is expected in 2015.
Brazil: Magnesita Refratários has announced an agreement with ACIS, a cement maintenance and operations service company based in China and Saudi Arabia, to extend its services offering Magnesita's refractory products supporting greenfield projects around the world. ACIS and Magnesita will target Chinese cement original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), which are building projects in countries primarily outside of China. The cooperation started on 1 July 2015 and shall continue for three years, with a possible extension.
"Partnering with ACIS which is recognised within the cement industry for its technical and service capability, is an important step for Magnesita's continued growth within the industrial market. This alliance with ACIS will help clients control costs utilising Magnesita's high-quality refractory products as new cement plants are commissioned," said Magnesita CEO, Octavio Lopes.
ACIS will create a commercial team in China tp focus on clients and the development of new projects while Magnesita's technical assistance team will work closely with ACIS to provide application and engineering support.
Brazil/Portugal: SeeNews Portugal has reported that Portuguese holding company Semapa Sociedade Invest Gestao SGPS' Brazilian subsidiary NSOSPE Empreendimentos e Participacoes (NSOSPE) has acquired a 50% stake in Brazilian cement maker Supremo Cimentos.
The US$94m purchase agreement was announced on 29 April 2015. NSOSPE is jointly-owned by Semapa and Portuguese construction materials supplier Secil. Following the closure of the transaction, Semapa and Secil indirectly own the entire share capital of Supremo Cimentos.
Brazil: Reuters has reported that Brazilian industrial conglomerate Camargo Corrêa is looking to sell a stake in Intercement for up to US$1.2bn in order to make new overseas investments, according to a report in newspaper Folha de S Paulo.
Camargo Corrêa plans to sell 10 – 18% of Intercement for between US$648m and US$1.17bn. The industrial conglomerate is one of several in Brazil with executives accused of paying bribes for contracts with state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro, known as Petrobras, threatening its access to public works contracts and driving up borrowing costs. Two Camargo Corrêa executives have already pleaded guilty.
Folha reported that Camargo Corrêa 's US$2.66bn of debt had led it to seek a minority partner in order to take advantage of opportunities to grow in countries as diverse as Egypt, Mozambique and Paraguay.
Brazil: Three workers were killed and three others injured in the collapse of a cement silo on 30 May 2015 at the construction site of the Belo Monte hydroelectric power plant in the Brazilian Amazon. The accident occurred while a truck was delivering cement to the silos in the area where construction materials are stored, according to the Belo Monte Construction Consortium (CCBM).
Three workers at the silo were pulled out and sustained minor injuries. Emergency services personnel searched the silo's rubble for the bodies of the other three workers and found them nearly 15 hours after the operation started. The CCBM's medical personnel treated the injured workers at the scene and then transported them to the city hospital in Altamira. Pará State police are investigating the collapse of the 500t capacity silo. The consortium's management will cooperate with the investigation 'with all the effort possible,' said the CCBM.
Construction of Belo Monte, a controversial power project in the middle of the world's largest rainforest, has been halted several times due to strikes by employees unhappy with working conditions and protests by groups opposed to the hydroelectric plant. Work on Belo Monte, which will be the world's third-largest hydroelectric power plant, started in March 2011 in Altamira, Pará, despite opposition from farmers, fishermen and environmentalists, who fear the project's impact on the Amazon. Between 16,000 and 25,000 people had to be moved to make way for the US$10.6bn project, according to different estimates. Belo Monte is being built on the Xingu River, a tributary of the Amazon and will flood 506km2 of jungle. The hydroelectric power plant will have an average generating capacity of 4571MWhr and will reach peak production of 11,233MW in the periods when the river rises.
Brazil: CSN Cimentos plans to invest US$608m towards building two new cement plants in Arcos and Romaria in Minas Gerais. The next step is for a letter of intention to be signed by state and municipal authorities, according to local media. Additionally, CSN's existing cement plant in Volta Redonda will be upgraded with a new clinker kiln and three mills. The plants cement production capacity will be increased by 2.4Mt/yr to 5.4Mt/yr.
Bolivia: Itacamba Cemento has announced that it is currently importing large amounts of cement from Brazil to meet local demand in Santa Cruz. The Bolivian cement company will continue to import cement from Brazil until the second half of 2016 when it expects to start its new US$220m cement plant in Yacuses. It estimates to import some 5400t/month of cement, or around 107,000 bags, dependent on market demand.