Displaying items by tag: Brazil
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.
Brazil: Brazilian steelmaker CSN is considering a merger with its cement producing subsidiary CSN Cimentos. CSN said that it would present the proposal to shareholders for approval.
The merger would help CSN achieve synergies and economies of scale. It would result in 'process optimisation and maximised results,' with all business and administrative activities carried out via a 'single organisational structure,' according to CSN. The merger would cost US$544,758 and be effective from 1 May 2015.
CSN entered the cement market in 2009 and claims to have 2.4Mt/yr of production capacity. Its 2014 capex was US$705m, with 23% directed toward cement operations, which generated 3% of the company's revenue in the year. Its cement sales increased by 7% to 2.18Mt in 2014.
Brazil: Votorantim Cimentos has announced a new investment package for 2015 – 2018. US$1.6bn will be invested in five new plants in Brazil, one in Turkey and one in Bolivia, as well as in the expansion and modernisation of existing plants. The announcement comes after an investment plan of US$3.2bn, completed in the period between 2007 - 2014, when the company expanded its global production capacity by 51%.
In Brazil, Votorantim's priority is to increase production in the central-north and northeast regions. It has identified growth potential in the construction sector and in cement consumption in those regions. Two of the new cement plants will begin operating in 2015, one in Edealina, Goiás and another in Primavera, Pará. In the second phase, the construction of two plants in Sobral and Pecém in Ceará is planned and one in Caaporã, Paraíba. The plants are expected to come on stream in the second half of 2017.
With its new plants, Votorantim will increase its cement production capacity in Brazil by 18%, adding about 6Mt/yr to the current capacity of 32Mt/yr of cement. The investments are in line with the company's preparation for a new cycle of growth in the country. "We are concentrating investments in attractive and profitable markets, always with long-term vision and thinking of the future market demand," said Walter Dissinger, Votorantim Cimentos' CEO.
In the Americas and Europe, investments include one cement plant in Yacuses, Bolivia in partnership with two other companies and one new plant in Turkey. The company is also considering the construction of a new plant in Morocco. In the US there is a project for the expansion of the Charlevoix plant in Michigan. "The American market is recovering and is also attractive," said Dissinger. The new projects outside of Brazil will add 2.5Mt/yr to the company's installed capacity. "We prepared ourselves to confront a challenging scenario in Brazil and follow our policy of thinking in the long term. Our discipline and financial solidity allows us to keep investing to be ready for the recovery of the markets," said Dissinger.
Brazil: Merck Marra Jr, chief executive of Cemento Tupi, has confirmed his company's plans to build a US$295m cement plant in Adrianople, Paraná. The announcement came when Tupi representatives met with state officials to discuss state government support with infrastructure and licencing issues.
Brazil: Votorantim Industrial has reported that its revenue rose by 7% in 2014 to US$9.3bn from US$8.74bn in 2013. Net profit rose to US$600m from US$79.2m. The cement, metals, steel, energy, pulp and agribusiness group attributed the result to high prices in most of its businesses.
Votorantim Cimentos, its cement arm, was responsible for the largest portion of consolidated income. It saw sales volumes decline slightly to 37.1Mt/yr in 2014. Despite this, net revenue grew by 5% year-on-year to US$4.34bn due to higher prices. Notably, its North American operation recorded a rise in sales volume and revenue, driven by the recovery of the US economy.
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?