Displaying items by tag: Cemex
Poland: The Court of Competition and Consumer Protection (SOKiK) has upheld a decision by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) to fine seven cement companies for forming a cartel. However, the SOKiK lowered the total fine from Euro100m to Euro80m. According the UOKiK the cartel fixed prices and divided the Polish market among themselves for at least eleven years.
According to the UOKiK the cartel activities could have had negative consequences for the construction sector and had affected consumers. The cartel had almost 100% share of production and sale of grey cement in Poland.
During the investigation two cartel members decided to co-operate with the UOKiK in exchange for leniency. Therefore UOKiK decided not to fine Lafarge Cement and lowered the fine for Gorazdze Cement. The remaining five cartel members - Grupa Ozarow, Cemex Polska, Dyckerhoff Polska, Cementownia Warta and Cementownia Odra - were fined to the full legal extent, 10% of annual turnover.
Water conservation is on the agenda this week with two water-related news stories from the multinational cement producers.
First came a story that Lafarge Canada is preparing to run a trial using waste water from hydraulic fracking at its Brookfield cement plant in Nova Scotia. Currently the plant uses 35ML/yr of fresh water from a nearby lake to control temperatures of its rotary cement kiln. Potentially some of this water could be replaced with water produced during the fracking process. This water would then evaporate and be emitted from the stack.
The background to this pilot project is that the Nova Scotia regional government introduced a two-year moratorium on fracking in 2012 while it reviews the situation. Given the high level of public debate on fracking, any process using waste products from it is going to receive a high level of attention. One of the major arguments against fracking concerns the toxicity of the fluids used. Hence Lafarge stressed in their statement how safe the waste water would be before it would even be used in the plant. Safe enough to drink apparently.
Focusing on the industrial aspects of the pilot for cement production, it will be fascinating to see what effects the fracking waste water might have even just as a coolant on plant equipment. Among other contaminants, fracking waste water often contains high levels of salt. Managing a transition from a fresh water coolant source to a saltier more corrosive one may pose the first of many challenges.
Later in the week Cemex announced the latest stage in its work on water conservation with the implementation of a corporate water policy. The policy aims to focus on resource availability, resource quality, and ecosystem integrity. It continues Cemex's Water Project, developed in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Notably Cemex's water policy aims to maximise efficiency by managing water consumption with increased captured recycled or captured water usage given as an example. How Cemex might use recycled water from a contentious industrial process such as hydraulic fracking is not specified. However, the policy does aim to actively reduce pollution and limit the effects of discharge upon water ecosystems from its operations.
Water policies such as a Cemex's are great for an industry that often has an image problem in the eyes of environmentalists. Linking cement production to fracking runoff will not improve this image. Yet placing science before lobbying is the way to go. Bring on the results of the pilot.
Mexico: Cemex has implemented a corporate water policy that defines its global strategy for responsible water management across its operations worldwide. The policy, developed in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), aims to develop business activities in a sustainable manner, minimising pressure on water resources and to cover three essential aspects that include resource availability, resource quality and ecosystem integrity.
Cemex's corporate water policy includes the company's compliance with relevant regulations and pledges to maximise water efficiency by managing water consumption and utilising sustainable water sources such as rainwater.
Since forming their partnership in 2010, Cemex and IUCN have standardised water measurement and management to increase water efficiencies in all of the company's operations.
Mexico: Cemex has signed a US$500m deal with US-based information technology (IT) consulting and outsourcing firm Neoris to outsource IT services for the next ten years. As part of the agreement, Neoris will provide software engineering, application development and technology deployments for multiple projects, complementing existing services Neoris already provides to Cemex.
Cemex has already integrated its advanced enterprise platform, based on a model by German enterprise software giant SAP which was tailored by Neoris, using mobile interfaces, fluid collaboration schemes and business-oriented social media networking models. Alongside the new agreement with Neoris, Cemex will continue a 10-year strategic partnership it signed with IBM in 2012 for business process, application maintenance and IT outsourcing services.
Spain: Cemex has said that it 'complies scrupulously with all legal and tax obligations in Spain,' in response to reports in the Spanish media about its tax affairs in the country. The company 'does not have any debts outstanding or face any penalties from the Spanish tax service as of this time,' said Cemex. The Mexico-based cement producer has reserved the right to take legal action against anyone publishing inaccurate reports about the company.
Cemex issued the statement following reports in the Spanish media about the firing of a tax inspector for rejecting its appeal of a large penalty. The dismissal led to the resignation of the head of the department overseeing large taxpayers. Subsequently, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria denied that Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro had any relationship with Cemex's tax advisers before taking up his Cabinet post.
Mexico: Cemex's Assisted Self-Construction Integrated Programme (Programa Integral de Autoconstrucción Asistada – PIAC) won a 2012/2013 Corporate Citizen of the Americas award in the Citizen Security category in November 2013.
The awards recognise innovative programmes that benefit the community and serve as a model for socially responsible practices. The Citizen Security category focuses on initiatives that promote public-private partnerships in order to create more secure communities. The awards programme is run by the Trust for the Americas with support from the Organisation of American States, the Inter-American Development Bank and AES Corporation.
PIAC provides low-income families with access to an integral housing solution that can enhance their quality of life while developing a social ecosystem. The initiative has helped more than 58,000 families as of 30 September 2013. In addition, 110,000 people have become self-employed and 915,000m2 of construction has been achieved to date.
"We are pleased that PIAC has been recognised as a programme that allows families to improve their quality of life and increase their wealth, while strengthening the social tissue," said Juan Romero, President of Cemex Mexico. "In Cemex, we strive to reinforce our social responsibility commitment by contributing to social development."
Colombia: Mexican cement maker Cemex has opened its fifth plant in Clemencia, Colombia. The US$50m plant in northern Colombia has a cement production capacity of 0.45Mt/yr.
Cemex plans to begin building its sixth plant in Colombia at the start of 2014 with a US$125m investment. The construction is expected to last 24 months and have a cement production capacity of 0.50Mt/yr.
Cemex foresees strong growth in the Colombian market, specifically in infrastructure, as President Juan Manuel Santos has been investing heavily in roads, ports, railways and airports, with some US$25bn invested in the past four years.
Germany: VAS® the IT logistics system from FRITZ & MACZIOL group has won a contract from Cemex in Germany. The Mexico-based multinational cement producer will use a bespoke version of the software and will roll the system out to several Cemex plants starting in Germany. FRITZ & MACZIOL cited VAS®'s ability to cover all requirements towards an IT logistics solution specified by Cemex as a key reason for its selection. At Cemex the implementation of a VAS® workshop is currently being prepared.
"Cemex takes over the role of a trailblazer. At present many firms operating in the raw material sector are thinking about how to standardise their global operations and logistic processes by using a template-based solution in order to replace their older and often isolated systems," said Claus Jordan, the Director of Business Development and Marketing of the FRITZ & MACZIOL Industrial Applications and Services division.
Jordan sees the emergence of Web 2.0 technologies as a reason for this development, as they can be used to simplify the automation of logistic processes within different plants. He added that, "A template-based rollout reduces time, effort and costs on the customers side and as such secures a fast return-on-investment."
Adrian Brown, Sales Director for FRITZ & MACZIOL in UK and Ireland, described VAS® to Global Cement.
This process-orientated software solution for the raw materials industry, forms the entire process chain from delivery via dispatch and loading, right up to departure. As the link between ERP systems and technical systems, VAS® represents the key function for efficient process sequences. In addition, VAS® supports reporting functions and supplies real-time information to further systems, for example for production, sales or controlling. All external technical systems such as the weighing, silo or metering technology are completely integrated into the VAS® logistics system processes.
According to Brown, VAS® is currently used in more than 160 plants worldwide within the raw materials industry. More than 30 of these implementations are within the cement and minerals industries in the UK and Ireland.
The third quarter results are in and signs of a recovery in the construction industry are present. Generally for the European producers, volumes of cement sold in the third quarter of 2013 have improved year-on-year compared to the figures for the first nine months of 2013. Although many of these third quarter sales changes are still negative it seems like the industry has turned a corner.
Lafarge reported that cement sales fell by 4% year-on-year to 102Mt for the first nine months in 2013. In the third quarter of 2013 sales remained stable year–on-year at 36.7Mt. Holcim saw its nine month sales fall by 3% to 104Mt while its third quarter sales remained stable at 36Mt. HeidelbergCement saw its nine month sales rise by 1% to 67.7Mt while its third quarter sales rose by 4% to 25.3Mt. Italcementi saw its nine month sales fall by 6% to 32.6Mt while its third quarter sales fell by 2% to 10.8Mt.
By region some of the differences between the European-based multinational cement producers have been telling. Lafarge, for example, is still down year-on-year on cement volumes sold in North America, denting the perceived wisdom of a strong North American recovery. However, profit indicators such as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) have risen in that region, increasingly in the third quarter. Cemex and Holcim have done better in this region.
Notably, the unstable political situation in Egypt has also impacted the balance sheets for Lafarge and Italcementi. Lafarge reported that cement sales volumes fell by 27% for the first nine months of 2013, principally due to gas shortages, and 19% for the third quarter as the company started to substitute other fuels. Similarly, Italcementi saw overall cement and clinker sales drop by 11.2% in the nine months and 14% in the third quarter.
Meanwhile in China, Anhui Conch produced 86.2Mt for the nine months, a year-on-year increase of 12.1%. Overall revenues in China seem to have risen after decreases in 2012. Anhui Conch reported that its operating revenue rose by 15% to US$6.08bn for the first nine months and US$2.20bn for the third quarter of 2013. Analysts have pinned the return to profit to building in the country's eastern and southern provinces and the effects of government-led industry consolidation. Bucking this trend though, China National Building Materials (CNBM) saw its revenue rise by 37% to US$13.5bn for the first nine months of 2013 but its profit fell by 8.1% to US$542m.
Anhui Conch, Lafarge, Holcim, CNBM, Italcementi and HeidelbergCement all feature at the top of Global Cement's list of the 'Top 75 global cement companies' to be published in the December 2013 issue of Global Cement Magazine. Ahead of final publication we want to know whether readers agree with the rankings. Download our list (registration required) and let us know your comments by 1 December 2013.
Mexico: Cemex has reported that its net sales rose by 3% year-on-year to US$4bn during the third quarter of 2013. Operating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by 2% year-on-year to US$747. The Mexico-based multinational cement producer attributed the increase to increased prices and higher sales volumes in most regions.
"We continue to be focused on our company-wide efforts to improve our operating efficiencies and the value we generate from our asset base while delivering better value to our customers," said Fernando A González, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration.
By region, Cemex noted that net sales fell in Mexico by 11% year-on-year to US$776m from US$875m. This was blamed on low government infrastructure spending and bad weather. Sales growth was seen in all other regions, and most notably in the group's Northern Europe and Mediterranean regions that recorded 6% (up to US$1.17bn) and 9% (up to US$375m) growth respectively.