Displaying items by tag: PPC
South Africa: PPC has completed the components of its 2008 broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) transaction, releasing US$74m in funding in mid-December 2016. Strategic black partners and community service groups subscribed for 15.6 million shares as part of earlier agreements. The funding will be used to reduce company debts and pay for a new production line at its Slurry cement plant in Lichtenburg.
Rwanda: Bheki Mthembu has been appointed the chief executive officer of Cimerwa, PPC’s subsidiary in the country. Mthembu has been in post since December 2016, according to the Business Day newspaper. Mthembu holds a degree in chemistry from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has worked for PPC since 1995.
South Africa: PPC has reported update on projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Ethiopia. In the DRC it said that engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract work from Sinoma is complete and overall the cement plant it is building is 90% complete. Power infrastructure is being built at present and hot commissioning at the site will start once this is in place. Sales of cement are scheduled to start in February 2017.
In Ethiopia the cement producer has planned to commission its 1.4Mt/yr Habesha plant in the second quarter of 2017. Plant construction is reported as ‘progressing well’ with overall project progress above 80%, civil construction 94% complete, mechanical erection at 66% and 95% of equipment manufactured and delivered to site. The project has a budget of US$180m.
Zimbabwe: PPC Zimbabwe has commissioned its 0.7Mt/yr cement grinding plant in Msasa. The plant was built by China’s Sinoma International for a cost of US$85m.
At a tour of the plant PPC Zimbabwe managing director, Kelibone Masiyane complained about the cost of electricity in the country compared to its neighbours. “If you go to Zambia, they charge US$0.06 and we are setting up a plant in Ethiopia, where they charge about US$0.03. As such, competing in other countries will be difficult for Zimbabwe. Transporting cement from Botswana is quite expensive, so we are hoping that the plant will help with that,” he said in comments reported by the News Day newspaper. He added that the cost of electricity in Zimbabwe is US$0.15. Ideally PPC Zimbabwe would like to export cement to Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.
South Africa: PPC has appointed Peter Nelson as its permanent board chairman following his interim tenure in the role following the retirement of Bheki Sibiya. The appointment took affect from 24 October 2016. Other recent appointments include the proposal to elect Nicky Goldin as the third member of the audit committee following the retirement of Bridgette Modise and the appointment of Timothy Leaf-Wright as chairman of the risk and compliance committee with immediate effect
Nelson was appointed to the board as an independent non-executive director on 25 January 2015. His experience covers manufacturing, mining, telecommunications, healthcare, leisure, property, packaging and the motor industry in listed and private entities in South Africa, the UK, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. He has served as chief financial officer on several boards including Telkom, Netcare, Mondi and he was the financial director of PPC from 2000 to 2003.
Goldin was appointed to the board as an independent non-executive director in January 2015 and currently serves on the Remuneration and
Investment sub-committees of the board. She holds a B.Com (Hons) from the University of the Witwatersrand and obtained an MBA from the University of Illinois. She has held senior positions at Deloitte Consulting, BHP Billiton, Anglo American, Standard Bank and ANZ Bank (Australia).
Leaf-Wright is a chartered secretary and was appointed to the board as an independent non-executive director in January 2015. He currently serves as a member of the risk and compliance, social, ethics and transformation and investment committees. His career with Nampak Limited spanned 41 years prior to early retirement in 2014. During the last 11 years, he was seconded to Mozambique, Nigeria and Angola to spearhead negotiations and subsequently construction and managing of both brown and greenfield plants in those countries.
News from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) this week: Lucky Cement has nearly finished its new 1.2Mt/yr cement plant. The US$270m project is due to start commercial operation in October 2016, according to a report by Bloomberg. The news is fascinating because it marks the opening up of central sub-Saharan Africa to the cement industry and it puts the boots of Pakistan’s Lucky Cement on the African continent in a big way.
The Nyumba Ya Akiba plant is a 50:50 joint venture between Lucky Cement and a local conglomerate Groupe Rawji, with financing supplied from a group of international development agencies. Originally proposed in 2013 the plant is located in Kongo Central province in the far west of the country between Kinshasa and the port of Matadi near to the connecting main road and railway line. The kit for the plant was ordered from FLSmidth in 2014 for Euro68m, including crushers, pyro processing equipment and vertical mills for raw meal, coal and cement grinding. An overview from the International Finance Corporation also added that the plant intended to cut a deal to import South African coal via the railway from the coast. Limestone and clay will come from a captive quarry. Incidentally, FLSmidth reckoned in 2015 that the project was the first new cement plant in the country in 40 years.
From Lucky Cement’s perspective the project makes sense given the bad reaction it has had trying to import its cement into western and southern Africa. Local producers recoiled from cheap imports along the coast and then lobbied their governments to block them. So, putting down manufacturing roots in a target country with a local partner makes it that much harder to block additional imports. It may or may not be importing its own clinker from somewhere else to supplement local demand but it is definitely providing local jobs and supporting local development. Lucky Cement’s previous international adventure of this kind was the opening of a cement grinding plant in Iraq in 2014.
Naturally, like buses, one waits ages for a cement plant to be built and then two turn up at the same time. South Africa’s PPC is also building an integrated cement plant in the DRC at Kimpese, in the same province as Lucky Cement’s plant. PPC’s half year report to March 2016, released in September 2016, mentioned that its 1Mt/yr plant was 83% complete with all civic and structural work complete. Commissioning was intended for the end of 2016 with cement ready for sale in early 2017. It is being built by Sinoma. The cement producer already has a sales depot in Kinshasa and it exports 32.5N and 42.5N cement from South Africa to the territory. Given PPC’s falling revenues from cement in South Africa and growing revenue elsewhere in Africa the opening of this plant will be keenly awaited.
The local demographics may answer whether the DRC can support two new cement plants. The country’s cement consumption was just 24kg/capita with a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of US$490 in 2015. These are some of the smallest figures in the world. A feasibility study ahead of the Nyumba Ya Akiba plant estimated that the country would have a demand of 1.8Mt/yr by 2015 compared to a local production capacity of under 1Mt/yr. Nature, and markets, abhor a vacuum. Lucky Cement and PPC are about to fill it.
Kenya: ARM Cement has appointed John Ngumi, Pepe Meijer and Ketso Gordhan as non-executive directors of the company. They replace Atul Mathur, Michael Turner and Daniel Ndonye, who have resigned as directors following an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders held on 26 August 2016.
John Ngumi holds a BA degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford, UK. He started his banking career at National Westminster Bank, London and has since worked variously for Grindlays Bank, Barclays Bank, Citibank and CfC Stanbic Bank/Standard Bank of South Africa. In between he also co-founded one of Africa's first indigenous investment banking groups, Loita Capital Partners. Ngumi left CfC Stanbic Bank in 2015 upon his appointment by President Uhuru Kenyatta as non executive chair of the Board of Directors, Kenya Pipeline Company Limited.
Pepe Meijer is a Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) Advisor and former Managing director for PPC International up-to November 2015. During his PPC tenure Meijer also held various Executive, General, Senior and Middle management positions across PPC’s cement operations that spanned over 28 years. Prior to joining PPC, he worked in the gold mining industry as section engineer and in the fishing/processing /frozen-food industry as group projects manager.
Ketso Gordhan joined CDC in April 2016 as the Head of Africa. He previously spent several years as Chief Executive Officer of PPC Cement, South Africa’s largest cement company. At PPC, Gordhan led the expansion of the company into sub-Saharan Africa, helping build the footprint outside South Africa into Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. Before PPC, Gordhan spent almost 10 years leading RMB’s private equity business. He has also held a number of public sector roles, including City Manager of Johannesburg and Director General of the Ministry of Transport, where he led major infrastructure projects, such as the South Africa’s N4 Toll Road.
Africa/South Africa: Despite a decline in the construction sector, cement giant Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) continues to defy the odds as it posted a 9% uptick in quarterly sales revenue. The cement producer said sales revenue in South Africa has seen an upswing of 2% with volumes increasing by at least 9%, although earnings per share disappointed as it fell by 55% for the period. However, revenue from outside of South Africa rose by 19% on the back of significant volume growth and newly commissioned plants in Rwanda as well as gains from the currency translations in Zimbabwe and Botswana. "The group's revenue has improved by 6% supported by strong cement sales volume growth in South Africa and Rwanda. Cement sales volumes grew in excess of 30% in the Coastal regions in South Africa," CEO Daryll Castle said.
"However, good cost control has led to further impressive declines in group overheads while variable delivered cost of sales per tonne in the South African cement business were well below inflation," Castle said. In addition, the cement maker said its cost of sales was also on the rise, increasing by 14% to R1.8bn (US$99m), largely on the back of higher volumes in the South African cement industry as well as more expensive logistics which rose by 3% during the period. "On consolidation of foreign currency denominated subsidiaries, the weakness of the rand contributed to rising cost of sales. Gross profit decreased by 11%, from R709m (US$50m) for the quarter ended June 2015 to R630m (US$44.4m) for the current quarter. "This decrease was mainly ascribed to the impact of selling prices pressures felt in our key cement operating markets together with the lower sales volumes in Zimbabwe and Botswana," the company said. But, the company said the R135m (US$9.5m)acquisition of 3Q Mahuma Concrete, one of the largest independently owned ready-mix concrete supplier in South Africa, will improve PPC's ready-mix footprint.
Shock news this week: Dangote Cement has decided to slow its expansion in Africa. The announcement from CEO Onne van der Weijde topped a half-year financial report that trumpeted high revenues and sales volumes of cement but one that also had to explain why earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) had fallen by 10% year-on-year. The decline was blamed on lower cement prices and higher fuel costs, as well as the costs of setting up new cement plants.
The mixed bag of results can be demonstrated by a 38.8% leap in cement sales volumes in Nigeria to 8.77Mt for the half year. Dangote attributed this in part to price cut in September 2015. This then netted an increase in revenue of 4.2% to US$677m but its EBITDA in Nigeria fell at a faster rate than the group total.
As an indication of some the pressures facing Dangote at home, it reported that its fuels costs rose by 32.3% to US$14.4/t in the reporting period. The backdrop to this has been the general poor state of the Nigerian economy. The International Monetary Forum (IMF) forecast that its gross domestic product (GDP) will fall by 1.8% in 2016 in its World Economic Outlook Update published in mid-July. Given that over three-quarters of Dangote Cement’s sales revenue came from Nigeria in 2015 this might explain the decision to slow its expansion plans down.
Outside of Nigeria, Dangote did extremely well in its West & Central Africa region, pushing up sales volumes, revenue and EBITDA by triple figure percentages helped by commissioning of a new plant in Ethiopia. Exports were also highlighted as a key part of this region’s strategy to neighbouring countries. It also stated that its recent procurement of about 1000 trucks in Ghana would ensure that an increased share of that country’s imported cement would come from Dangote’s Ibese plant in Nigeria. South & East Africa was a different story, however with sales volumes and revenues rising as new cement plants bedded in but the region was dogged by currency devaluations and poor economies.
Dangote Cement’s response to its current situation is to protect its margins through cost cutting, by adjusting its prices and by slowing its expansion strategy to a five-year programme. However, it isn’t alone in its struggles to preserve profit in its Nigerian business. LafargeHolcim also reported a ‘challenging’ market in its first quarter results for 2016. Its cement sales volumes fell in that quarter due to what it said were energy shortages and logistics-related issues. Its mid-year financial report, out on 5 August 2016, will make interesting reading to see if its experience in Nigeria matches Dangote’s.
Elsewhere, it appears that both PPC and LafargeHolcim have also been struggling in South Africa. PPC’s revenue from cement sales within the country fell by 5% year-on-year to US$171m its half-year to the end of March 2016. It blamed the drop on increased competition. LafargeHolcim noted similar problems in South Africa without going into too much detail in its first quarter.
With the Nigeria Naira-US Dollar exchange rate devalued by over 50% since the start of 2016 and the Nigerian economy bracing itself for a recession, it seems unlikely that Dangote Cement could do anything else than slow down its expansion plans given how much of its revenue comes from within Nigeria. As we also report this week, PPC is in a similar bind. Its CEO had to reassure shareholders that the group’s new plant in Zimbabwe would be finished on schedule later in the year. Controlling imports and exports of cement in Africa has suddenly become more important than ever.
Both companies need to expand internationally to protect themselves from regional economic downturns but the current situation in each of their home territories is preventing this. In the meantime their own export markets are set to become more important than ever. Any target markets that declare themselves ‘self-sufficient’ in cement will be a big impediment to this.
Zimbabwe: Darryll Castle, the CEO of PPC, has reassured shareholders that the construction of the group’s 0.7Mt/yr cement plant in Zimbabwe remains on schedule for completion in 2016. Castle said that the project makes sense from a cost-optimisation basis even if the volume isn’t required in the country. He made the comments at PPC’s extraordinary general meeting amid reports of rioting in the country and import restrictions on some South African goods, according to the Business Day newspaper. The project is one of four cement plants the cement producer is building in Africa outside of South Africa.