Displaying items by tag: Cemex
Panama: Cemex Panama has opened its first admixture plant in the Panama Pacifico Free Trade Zone. The unit is part of US$15m series of investments by the construction materials company in the country, according to the El Economista newspaper. Products from the plant will be used locally and exported elsewhere in Central America and to the Caribbean.
Unsurprisingly the European Commission blocked Duna-Dráva Cement’s (DDC) attempted purchase of Cemex Croatia this week. Merging the country’s biggest cement producer with its largest importer was going to be a challenge for the commission. Whereas in previous transactions the various parties offered business disposals to ease the commission’s concerns, here all they were got was access to a cement terminal in Metković in southern Croatia. And this facility on the Neretva river is currently being leased by Cemex! Clearly this didn’t give the impression of being a long term solution.
Compare this with the merger between Lafarge and Holcim in 2015 where multiple sales were proposed to make sure the deal went through. Or look at the acquisition of Italcementi by HeidelbergCement in 2016 where the parties sold Italcementi’s Belgian subsidiary Compagnie des Ciments Belges to Cementir to make the deal happen. In comparison to these deals the attempt by HeidelbergCement and Schwenk, through their subsidiary DDC, comes across as a calculated gamble designed to test the resolve of the commission. If the commission had somehow passed the proposed acquisition then the companies would have cornered the market. If it turned it down, as it has, then nothing would be lost other than putting together the bid. HeidelbergCement had its mind on bigger things as it bought and then integrated Italcementi.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager summed up the mood of the commission: “For mergers between direct competitors, we generally have a preference for a clean, structural solution, such as selling a production plant. HeidelbergCement and Schwenk decided not to offer that. Instead they proposed to give a competitor access to a cement terminal in southern Croatia. Essentially, this amounted to giving a competitor access to a storage facility – without existing customers or established access to cement, without brands and without sales or managerial staff.”
Elsewhere, the other big story in the industry news this week was Votorantim’s decision to focus on the lime business in Brazil by adding lime units to some of its existing cement plants. Given the dire state of the local cement and construction industry, initiatives to break the deadlock have been expected. The alternative is plant closures and divestures, such as the ongoing talks by Camargo Corrêa to sell the other big local producer, InterCement. Votorantim plans to build lime units attached to the cement plants at Nobres in Mato Grosso, Xambioa in Tocantins, Primavera in Pará and Idealiza in Goiás. Unfortunately the agricultural areas of the country and ones with cement plants don’t overlay neatly. Cement production is mainly focused in the south-eastern states and Votorantim are targeting the Cerrado, in the centre of the country, for the lime business.
The scale of the project, at US$50m, the scale of the lime business generally and the addition of lime units at cement plants suggest that the pivot to lime can only be a sideline to cement and construction. Given the similarity of the cement and lime production processes the announcement would be much more significant were Votorantim set to convert clinker kilns into lime ones. A notable example of this was at Cement Australia’s Gladstone plant in Queensland, Australia. Here a mothballed FCB-Ciment clinker kiln was converted into a lime kiln in the early 2000s. At the time the cost of the conversion project was valued at just under US$20m. If Votorantim was seriously thinking of doing this at a few of their underperforming cement plants then one would expect the bill to be higher than US$50m. However, it’s early days yet.
Mexico: Mauricio Doehmer has been appointed as the president of the National Chamber of Cement. He is Cemex’s corporate affairs and business risk management executive vice-president, according to the El Financiero newspaper. He succeeds Billy Alvarez, an executive with Cementos Cruz Azul.
Dominican Republic: Cemex Dominicana, the local subsidiary of Mexico’s Cemex, has inaugurated a packing plant at its cement plant in San Pedro de Macorís. Danilo Medina Sánchez , the president of the country, attended the event. The US$8.5m unit will allow the plant to increases its cement packing capacity by 1.5m bags/yr or 0.8Mt/yr. Other improvements include a new building to house the packing line, a 1275m2 warehouse for palletised cement and a new weighting system to speed up despatch. Carlos Emilio González, the president of Cemex Dominicana, also announced an investment of US$40m over the next two years in power generation, changes to the mill and other upgrades at the plant.
Europe/Croatia: The European Commission has blocked the proposed takeover of Cemex Croatia by HeidelbergCement and Schwenk under the European Union (EU) Merger Regulation. The commission expressed concerns that the takeover would have significantly reduced competition in grey cement markets and increased prices in Croatia. The decision follows an investigation by the commission into the proposed deal where HeidelbergCement and Schwenk, two German cement companies, would acquire Cemex's assets in Croatia via their joint-venture company Duna Dráva Cement (DDC).
"We had clear evidence that this takeover would have led to price increases in Croatia, which could have adversely affected the construction sector. HeidelbergCement and Schwenk failed to offer appropriate remedies to address these concerns. Therefore, the Commission has decided to prohibit the takeover to protect competitive markets for Croatian customers and businesses," said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
The commission found that the takeover would have eliminated competition between companies that were competing directly for the business of Croatian cement customers and could have led to a dominant position in the markets. The combined market shares of the parties would have been around 45 - 50% in the markets and reached more than 70% in parts of the country, notably in Dalmatia. It found that DDC had been pursuing a strategy to increase sales in Croatia, resulting in more competitive prices for Croatian customers in recent years. Allowing the takeover would have reduced this competition. The commission also found that the remaining domestic cement suppliers and importers would not have been able to compete effectively with the new entity due to limited potential for sales expansion and due to being further from potential markets. In addition there are no independent terminals available on the Croatian coast for seaborne imports.
None of the proposed remedies offered by HeidelbergCement and Schwenk satisfied the commission. Options such as a granting access to a cement terminal leased by Cemex Croatia on the Neretva river in Metković in southern Croatia were deemed insufficient and temporary.
Cemex Croatia, the largest cement producer in the country, operates three cement plants, seven concrete plants, two aggregates quarries and a network of maritime and land-based terminals in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro. DDC and HeidelbergCement are the largest cement importers in Croatia.
Cemex Croatia operates three cement plants, seven concrete plants, two aggregates quarries and a network of maritime and land-based terminals in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro. DDC imports grey cement into Croatia from its plants in Hungary and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the closest competing plant to Cemex's plants in Split. HeidelbergCement imports grey cement into Croatia from a plant in Italy.
Guatemala: Cemex has completed production and bagging line upgrades its Arizona cement grinding plant in the Port of San José. The project cost US$3.7m and it included the completion of a second bagging line, changes in lift capacity and the installation of new mill controls, according to the Prensa Libre newspaper. The upgrades are expected to increase the plant’s production capacity by about 10% to 545,000t/yr and to speed up bagging by 46% to 96t/hr.
Colombia: Cemex Latam, the Latin American subsidiary of Cemex, intends to operate its Maceo cement plant project in Antioquia at a reduced capacity due to difficulties with its environmental clearance. The cement producer will continue building the 0.95Mt/yr plant but it will reduce its output to 0.25Mt/yr once it is operational, according to Reuters. The Colombian cement producer attempted to reverse the annulment of its environmental permits with the local body in late 2016.
In September 2016 Cemex fired several senior staff members in relation to the Maceo project and its subsidiary’s chief executive resigned. This followed an internal audit and investigation into payments worth around US$20.5m made to a non-governmental third party in connection with the acquisition of the land, mining rights, and benefits of the tax free zone for the project.
Philippines: APO Cement Corporation, a subsidiary of Cemex Philippines, has ordered a 4.5MW waste heat recovery unit from China’s Sinoma Energy Conservation. Sinoma will build and operate it. The new unit is expected to reduce the negative effects of power cuts, save energy costs and reduce the cement plant’s carbon emissions. No delivery date or cost of the order has been disclosed.
Croatia: The proposed acquisition of Cemex Croatia by HeidelbergCement and Schwenk is set to be blocked by the European Commission according to sources quoted by Reuters. The commission started investing the deal in October 2016 following plans by HeidelbergCement and Schwenk to buy Cemex Croatia via their jointly owned subsidiary Duna Drava Cement (DDC). The deal would see the largest producer in the area merged with the largest importer. However, a final decision on the transaction has not been made yet and the European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager could still rule in favour of it. The commission is expected to make a final decision by 18 April 2017.
Brazil: Camargo Corrêa is conducting talks to sell its cement business InterCement for US$6.5bn. Two bids, including one by Mexico’s Cemex, have already been made according to the O Globo newspaper. The Brazilian conglomerate was reportedly selling a minority stake in InterCement in mid-2015 and in late-2015 its chief executive officer Vitor Hallack said it was prepared to sell its assets to cut its debts.
InterCement is the second largest cement producer in Brazil with a production capacity of 15Mt/yr and 12 integrated cement plants. The country as a whole saw its domestic sales of cement fell by 11.7% year-on-year to 57.2Mt in 2016 according to data from the Brazilian National Union of Cement Industry.