Displaying items by tag: Philippines
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?
Philippines: Cement industry sales in 2014 increased by 9.6% year-on-year, according to the Cement Manufacturers' Association of the Philippines (CeMAP) president Ernesto M Ordoñez.
Ordoñez said that local market sales reached 21.3Mt in 2014, compared to 19.4Mt in 2013. Sales for the fourth quarter of 2014 jumped by 15.7% to 5.2Mt, up from 4.5Mt in 2013. The increase in sales of cement producers was supported by the continuous growth of construction projects. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that construction activities in January - September 2014 amounted to US$6.17bn, 39% higher than the US$4.45bn in the same period of 2013. Non-residential projects had the largest amount of construction projects at US$3.25bn, while residential projects were pegged at US$2.45bn in the first nine months of 2014.
Philippines: Cash-strapped Pacific Cement Company (PACEMCO) has decided to extend the suspension of its cement plant operations for three months to complete ongoing negotiations regarding a possible investment of funds needed to re-open the plant.
"During this period of work suspension, management has committed to respect the benefits of the employees which are clearly spelled in the minutes of the conciliation conference held at the office of the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) Secretary on 14 November 2014," said Inocencio R Cortes, executive vice president of PACEMCO. "As a result of this extended work-suspension, all employees are hereby advised not to report to the main plant site or the port site as the case may be, as well as to those in the head office in Makati City, effective 17 November 2014 and until further notice," he added.
PACEMCO's cement plant halted operations on 5 May 2014 after the Surigao del Norte Electric Cooperative cut its power supply for unsettled obligations worth at least US$555,432. Edwin Batac, union president of Pacemco Mamumuong Nagkahiusa, said that the company has 343 employees who were on forced leave after the company stopped its operations. Batac added that the company is financially drained.
Philippines: The Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines' (CeMAP) president, Ernesto Ordonez, said that total cement sales for the first half of 2014 reached 10.72Mt, up from 10.14Mt for the first six months of 2013. For the second quarter of 2014 alone, cement sales climbed by 3.2% to 5.52Mt from 5.35Mt in the comparable period of 2013. Compared to the first quarter's 5.19Mt, cement sales in the second quarter of 2014 grew by 6.19%. The increase in sales was seen amid higher demand from both the public and private sectors.
Ordonez said that there was a Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) budget increase, while the private sector continued to grow because of increased confidence in the government. The latest data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) showed that government spending for infrastructure and capital outlay posted a 24.5% increase to US$2.16bn as of April 2014, compared to US$1.74bn in 2013. The notable infrastructure disbursements were channelled mostly to on-going reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in communities devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda. The DBM said that the increase in disbursements is also due to the Aquino administration's stronger focus on strengthening the economy through infrastructure and capital outlay investments.
Philippines: Holcim Philippines has posted a net profit of US$38.0m for the second quarter of 2014, slightly higher than the US$37.4m reported for the same period of 2013, with sales on pace to meet internal targets amid robust demand from the construction industry. Revenue was US$203m during the second quarter of 2014, up from US$188m for the same period of 2013.
This brought first half 2014 net profit to US$76.6m, up from US$70.3m in the first half of 2013, while revenue for the period was US$389m, compared with US$355m in 2013. Holcim Philippines' president and CEO, Eduardo A Sahagun, said that the company is 'on track' with its 8% short-term sales growth target, as well as its 5% to 6% sales growth target for the long term.
"On top of the sustained government and private sector spending, we now see some major private-public partnership projects being implemented in the metropolis, hence, our strong sales," said Sahagun. "We were able to meet this demand due to our ability and commitment to keep the market supplied during this period of robust growth." Other factors that contributed to the company's growth were 'full-swing' construction during the summer months and post-calamity construction in the Visayas Region.
Holcim, which has a local market share of around 34%, is currently in the process of merging with Lafarge, which has a share of around 28%. Sahagun said that the merger might be finalised by May 2015, resulting in a combined market share of 62% in the Philippines.
Philippines: Lafarge Republic and the Global Business Power Corporation (GBPC) has launched an initiative aimed to lower the costs of rehabilitation projects, such as the rebuilding efforts for Yolanda and the Bohol earthquake-affected areas, through the introduction of a ash-based cement called called Kapit-Balay cement.
Kapit-Balay cement is a result of the Total Ash management partnership between Lafarge Republic and GBPC. Under this collaboration, Lafarge uses the fly ash from GBPC's power generation processes to produce blended cement. Under the partnership, the two companies worked on optimising the cost of producing the ash-cement, which enables them to contribute in lowering the overall cost of rebuilding with the additional support from Lafarge's packaging partner and a direct sales distribution model to rehabilitation projects.
Philippines: Cement sales rose by 8.6% in the first quarter of 2014. The surge was largely driven by rebuilding following the destruction wrought by typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, according to the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CEMAP). Cement producers sold 5.2Mt of cement in the first quarter of 2014 compared to 4.8Mt in the same period in 2013.
"The increase was primarily due to reconstruction efforts following super-typhoon Haiyan," said CEMAP president Ernesto Ordoñez in a phone interview with local media. He added that rebuilding is likely to drive cement sales for 'more than a year' and that private sector confidence was also helping sales.
Following typhoon Haiyan the government of the Philippines raised its budget for infrastructure in 2014 by 37% to US$9bn from US$6.6bn in 2013 to provide for rehabilitation and reconstruction in areas affected by the typhoon. In 2013 sales by the local cement industry grew by 6% to 19.4Mt/yr from 18.4Mt/yr in 2012.
Philippines: Holcim Philippines is prepared for more competition with the integration of markets in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region by 2015. Chief executive Eduardo Sahagun said that there is no reason that imports will be cheaper than local product especially considering the logistical costs of importing cement into an archipelago, according to the Manila Bulletin.
"We see opportunities in the greater integration of the ASEAN. Our view remains that the growth of cement demand in the medium term will be sustained but are considering other options to supply the market," said Sahagun. "I am hopeful that the government will support the local cement industry given that it is one of the few remaining integrated industries in the country. Local cement manufacturers are burdened by one of the highest energy costs in the region and an improvement in this area will go a long way to improve the industry's competitiveness."
In February 2014 Holcim Philippines announced that it may delay the construction of a US$550m cement plant in Bulacan province due to increasing economic integration in the ASEAN region.
Philippines: Lafarge Republic is investing US$25m towards building a new 0.85Mt/yr cement mill at its plant in Bulacan. The plant is expected to be operational by June 2015 following the commissioning of a mill at the Teresa cement plant, which is scheduled for January 2015.
Lafarge said in a statement that the projects will enable the company to produce an additional 1.7Mt of cement by 2015. The upgrades have been commissioned to meet an expected increase in demand in response to anticipated infrastructure spending of US$8.94bn by the Philippine government.
There has been an interesting knock-on effect from further economic integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this week. Holcim Philippines may delay the construction of a 2.5Mt/yr cement plant in Bulacan province due to a drop in import tariffs in 2015. Vietnam or Indonesia were named as possible sources of clinker due to their excess capacity.
The ASEAN group comprises 10 countries including Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. Their respective cement production capacities range from 0.3Mt/yr at a clinker grinding plant in Singapore to Indonesia's integrated cement production capacity of 45Mt/yr. In total the ASEAN countries have a production capacity of around 220Mt/yr for a population of about 600m with national gross domestic products (GDP) per capita ranging from US$900 (Laos) to US$52,000 (Singapore).
One scenario for cement producers in the ASEAN countries is that they might be swamped by exports from places like Vietnam. That country had a production capacity of 73Mt/yr in 2013 with cement sales predicted to rise to 63Mt in 2014. Assuming the government released figures are correct, that leaves at least a 10Mt of cement production-sales gap that could torpedo a neighbouring country's cement industry in the free trade area.
Indonesia, the other potential source of clinker that Holcim Philippines mentioned, has seen construction growth slow and production capacity grow. Holcim reported in its nine-month report in November 2013 that, while national cement sales had risen by 5.3% to 41.6Mt, supply capacity had risen by 9% to 59Mt/yr. Assuming equal sales distribution throughout this suggests a capacity gap of 4Mt.
Some politicians in the region have complained that impending free trade area will create winners and losers. At a recent ASEAN meeting in Yangon, Myanmar a Myanmar planning minister raised the issue of a development gap within the ASEAN region calling for renegotiation for countries like Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.
Meanwhile both the cement industries in Vietnam and Indonesia have clearly anticipated the implications of the ASEAN Economic Community. The Vietnam National Cement Association expects to remain competitive within the ASEAN region and against Chinese imports after 2015. In Indonesia State Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan stated this week that the cement industry was ready for the ASEAN Economic Community thanks to the government's strategy to consolidate its major cement producers within one company, Semen Indonesia. Consistent cement industry growth in South East Asia may be about to change.