Displaying items by tag: PPC
Ethiopia: South African cement producer PPC has acquired Industrial Development Corporation's 20% stake in Ethiopian-based Habesha Cement for a purchase consideration of US$13m. PPC's initial 27% stake in Habesha, acquired in July 2012, now rises to 51%, while the balance of the shareholding in Habesha is held by around 16,000 local shareholders.
"We are very excited about our increased investment in Ethiopia; a country with a population of 91 million people that is set to reach 100 million by 2018 and having a growth rate that is expected to remain above 8% in the medium term," said Bheki Sibiya, Executive Chairman of PPC.
Habesha has begun the construction of a 1.4Mt/yr cement plant 35 km north-west of Addis Ababa. The project has cost approximately US$135m and commissioning is planned for 2016. In addition to the Habesha project, PPC has started building projects in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.
Financial closure of this acquisition is expected in December 2014 once all conditions have been satisfied.
South Africa: On 23 October 2014 PPC confirmed the resignation of Richard Tomes, joint managing director of PPC's South African business and one of the business's key sales and marketing personnel.
The resignation of Tomes comes a month after Ketso Gordhan resigned as CEO and the company's board subsequently plunged into a tussle with group shareholders seeking a new board. PPC said that Tomes, who joined the firm in 1998 and who shared the job as head of domestic operations with Johann Claassen, had resigned effective Thursday to 'pursue other opportunities.'
With his departure, Claassen will lead PPC's South African cement business, while Pepe Meijer remains managing director of PPC's international business. While PPC has lost an experienced managing director in Tomes, it sought to assure investors that its South African business remained under strong leadership: "Johan is a professional engineer who joined PPC in 1989 and has served as executive of cement operations and of lime," said PPC. "He has also held various other senior and general management roles across the cement and lime divisions."
South Africa: PPC's lawyers have moved to silence the company's former CEO, Ketso Gordhan, to stop him making 'offensive statements' about PPC and have threatened to make Gordhan pay with a possible damages claim. Gordhan has been locked in a battle with the PPC board to regain his job and has been at the centre of a shareholder revolt that could see the entire board removed.
PPC's attorneys told Gordhan that the company had been faithful to the terms of Gordhan's departure and had 'refrained from divulging the true reasons behind his resignation' which, if revealed, would be 'extremely embarrassing and detrimental to his career.' The lawyers demanded that Gordhan respond within a day to confirm that he would desist from making such further statements. Tshisevhe Gwina Ratshimbilani Incorporated (TGR Attorneys), on behalf of PPC, said that Gordhan's resignation agreement, which was signed five weeks ago, required him to stick to the company's internal brief and public announcement regarding the reasons for his resignation.
South Africa: PPC is in discussions with the joint managing director of its South African business, Richard Tomes, who is considering resigning from the company, according to anonymous sources. Tomes and Johan Claassen are in charge of PPC's core South African business in the face of growing competition and a slowing economy, while the company embarks on an ambitious expansion strategy in Africa.
Tomes' possible resignation comes amid a shareholder plan to replace the PPC board, which a month ago accepted the resignation of CEO Ketso Gordhan. Tomes has put forward a resignation but he and the company are still discussing the decision.
Foord Asset Management said that it and Visio Capital Management jointly held the required 10% of PPC shares to call for a special shareholders meeting to vote on replacing the PPC board, which it felt lacked cement industry experience. With recommendations from other investors, the activist shareholders have compiled a list of candidates for a new board, which included Gordhan as well as four existing PPC board members, partly in the interests of continuity. However, PPC said that the four members would not be available for re-election to a new board.
Corporate governance expert Mervyn King said that, "Shareholders of 10% or more are entitled to call for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) and can ask for the removal of the entire board." However, King warned that this could result in 'very poor governance' due to a lack of continuity of knowledge on the new board.
Since Gordhan's resignation PPC has added to the rest-of-Africa experience on its board. The company has appointed experienced mining executive Darryll Castle as an independent non-executive director. "Darryll's extensive experience and knowledge of various countries in Africa and emerging markets, as well as the deep relationships that he has built over the years, will add great value to PPC," said Sibiya.
South Africa: Former PPC CEO Ketso Gordhan has met most of the major PPC shareholders in his battle to be reinstated to the top executive job, saying that he did not regret suddenly leaving the group. Gordhan shocked the market on 22 September 2014 when he resigned from PPC with immediate effect. He subsequently unsuccessfully petitioned the board to reinstate him, which spurred him on to lobbying shareholders directly to reappoint him.
"I have met with most shareholders and the issue is in their hands," said Gordhan. "Clearly, I would like to be back in my job — I would like to finish what I started." PPC said that he had 'regrettably resigned' over 'differences of opinion with the board, regarding board procedures for the approval of certain decisions.' Gordhan later said that he had lost confidence in the board for not dismissing an executive that he said was undermining company strategy. The company had only two executives, Gordhan and finance director Tryphosa Ramano.
Gordhan has canvassed the following shareholders: Public Investment Corporation (10.99%): State Street (10.86%): Lazard (6.88%): Foord (3.41%). Gordhan has not yet met PPC's black economic empowerment shareholders, including the PPC SBP Consortium Funding SPV, which holds 6.6%.
South Africa: Chamber of Mines chief executive Bheki Sibiya had been appointed interim executive chairman of PPC. "This interim appointment has been approved by the office-bearers of the Chamber of Mines and is with immediate effect and until 31 December 2014," said a Chamber of Mines statement. The chamber's chief operating officer, Roger Baxter, will serve as acting chief executive until the end of December 2014.
PPC chief executive Ketso Gordhan resigned on 22 September 2014 with immediate effect, Business Day reported. He was appointed in January 2013.
South Africa: PPC has acquired the remaining 50% stake in Gauteng Province's ready-mix concrete and fly ash-supplier, Pronto Holdings, which it did not already own. Bheki Sibiya, PPC's chairman, said that it had paid a total of US$41.9m for 100% of Pronto.
South Africa: PPC has warned that slower economic growth and falling infrastructure spending has led to a 'particularly tough' domestic market. Low single-digit volume declines across Africa's second-biggest economy were partly offset by higher sales prices in the 10 months to July 2014. South Africa's economy is forecast to grow at the slowest pace since the 2009 recession in 2014 after strikes in the platinum mining and metalworkers industries hurt output.
Meanwhile, a new plant in Rwanda is expected to be commissioned early 2015 as PPC seeks growth opportunities in other markets. Indeed, PPC is expanding in several other African countries, including Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, as demand for cement grows in sub-Saharan Africa. It is targeting 40% of sales outside South Africa by 2017, compared with 26% in the six months to March 2014.
South African authorities have started a new investigation into imports of cement from Pakistan. This time the inquiry will examine trade dumping allegations made by local producers including Afrisam, Lafarge, NPC Cimpor and PPC.
The application made by the cement producers provided evidence that the difference between the price of cement (the dumping margin) in Pakistan and for imports from Pakistan in 2013 was 48%. Or, in other words, the price of Pakistan cement imported to South Africa was nearly half that of what is was being sold for in the country that it was actually produced in.
The data submitted to the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa comes from a report by Genesis Analytics on Pakistan cement prices in 2013 and tax information from the South African Revenue Service. Neither source is readily available for more detailed analysis here but data released by XA International Trade Advisors suggests that cement imports from Pakistan rose to 1.1Mt/yr in 2013 and at a value of US$59m. Roughly, this gives a price of US$55/t. This compares to an average price of US$90/t, from the All Pakistan Manufacturers' Association for the first nine months of the 2012 – 2013 Pakistani fiscal year, giving a dumping margin similar to the allegation by the South African cement producers.
Separate industry sources quoted by the Pakistan media on the story reported that the country supplies 1.5 - 1.6Mt/yr of cement to South Africa, its biggest export market, receiving a revenue of US$125m. Although this suggests a dumping margin lower than the one presented to the authorities it is still high.
Other information of note in the investigation notification is that the Pakistan cement imports are only competing heavily with the local bagged cement market in the Southern African Customs Union, which also includes neighbouring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland. The notification discounts bulk cement imports from Pakistan as being 'prohibitively' expensive suggesting that the Pakistan cement producers have no import infrastructure in southern Africa or that something else is stopping them. For example, the country's market leader for production, Lucky Cement, has export facilities in Karachi with silos and automatic ship loaders. Yet it's only 'brick-and-mortar' presence overseas are projects building an integrated plant in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a grinding plant in Iraq.
It may also be worth considering that South African industry newcomer Sephaku Cement hasn't joined the dumping allegation. The Dangote subsidiary was set to start producing clinker in late August 2014. This is out of character considering how prominent the Nigerian-based cement producer has been in campaigning against imports to its home nation. However, the Aganang plant in Lichtenburg, North West Province is over 700km from the coast and presumably safe from foreign imports at present.
One final question occurs. How are Pakistan cement producers able to dump bagged cement on the South African market at prices lower than what they are selling it for at home? If individual producers sold their excess at home at a lower price they could potentially undercut their competitors and make a profit. There are many barriers, from input costs to industry structural issues and other reasons that may be preventing this. However, if the South African cement producers succeed in their latest attempt to block imports from Pakistan it may add more impetus to remove such barriers.
South Africa: The International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) is investigating claims by cement producers that cement from Pakistan is being dumped in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), of which Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland are also members.
Afrisam, Lafarge, NPC Cimpor and PPC allege that bagged cement from Pakistan has been dumped at a 48% lower price than is the normal value in Pakistan. In 2013 imports from Pakistan accounted for just under 99% of all cement imports into SACU. According to statistics released by XA International Trade Advisors, annual imports from Pakistan alone were 1.1Mt in 2013.
Managing Director for PPC's cement activities, Richard Tomes, claimed that the dumping by Pakistan led to a decline in sales volumes, profit, output and the market share of producers in the region. He claimed that the effect of dumping included negative effects on cash flow and reduced levels of staffing in SACU cement producers, with the number of staff employed in the SACU cement industry decreasing by 15% between 2010 and 2013.