Displaying items by tag: Philippines
Philippines: The Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CEMAP) has asked that the local industry be treated fairly in an investigation by the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC). In a press statement, Ernesto M Ordoñez, President of CEMAP said that his association had not been notified or given a copy of a compliant filed by a legal firm, according to the Manila Bulletin. He added that the association’s lawyers had previously tried to find out more about the complaint in late January 2017 but had not had a reply.
"Fairness requires that both sides are heard. Not only were we not given a chance to be heard. More than a month after our letter to PCC asking for what the complaint is about so we could give our side, we still have no reply from PCC. We just found out about the nature of the complaint through the newspapers. This is one-sided and unfair, specially considering the track records of the subjects of the complaint," said Ordoñez.
The PCC announced in early March 2017 that was preparing to investigate the cement industry for alleged violations of competitive practice following a legal statement by Victorio Dimagiba, a former trade undersecretary, in August 2016 accusing CEMAP, LafargeHolcim Philippines and Republic Cement and Building Materials of engaging in anti-competitive agreements.
Philippines: The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) is preparing to investigate the cement industry for alleged violations of competitive practice. It says it has found reasonable grounds to proceed to a full administrative investigation on the cement industry for possible violations of Sections 14 and 15 of the Philippine Competition Act, according to the Philippine Star newspaper. This follows a legal statement by Victorio Dimagiba, a former trade undersecretary, in August 2016 accusing the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CEMAP), LafargeHolcim Philippines and Republic Cement and Building Materials of engaging in anti-competitive agreements.
Dimagiba has accused the cement producers of striking illegal agreements including, “restricting competition as to price or components thereof or other terms of trade, abusing their dominant position by engaging in conduct that substantially prevents, restricts, or lessens competition, imposing barriers to entry, or committing acts that prevent competitors from growing within the market.” He has also alleged that Ernesto Ordonez, the head of CEMAP, has used the trade association to justify violating the Philippine Competition Act, as well as maintaining prices of domestic cement in the retail market ‘unreasonably’ high.
Ordonez responded to the claims saying that he was puzzled about the PCC’s decision and that CEMAP had not been informed about a preliminary inquiry.
Philippines: Eagle Cement is planned an initial public offering (IPO) of US$183m to partly pay for a US$249m cement plant it wants to build in Cebu. The plant will have a cement production capacity of 2Mt/yr when complete, according to the Philippines Star newspaper. The project will also include building a distribution centre and marine terminals in Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao regions. Additional financing will be sourced though debt funding and internal sources. Construction is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2017 and the project is anticipated to be finished in the first quarter of 2010.
Philippines: Cement sales rose by 6.6% year-on-year to 26Mt in 2016 from 24.4Mt in 2015 the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CEMAP) has said. CEMAP president Ernesto Ordonez attributed the increase in sales to ‘continuing momentum for increased infrastructure,’ according to the Philippines Star newspaper. Despite this sales, volumes fell in the fourth quarter of the year. Ordonez blamed this on the run-up to the elections in 2016 and bad weather. Increased public and private infrastructure spending is expected to keep the local cement industry buoyant in 2017.
Vietnam: Data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs has shown that exports of cement fell by 7.1% year-on-year to 14.7Mt in 2016 and by 16% year-on-year to US$561m in value. Bangladesh and the Philippines remained the major importers of cement and clinker from Vietnam in 2016, according to the Vietnam News newspaper. The Philippines imported 3.8Mt of cement and clinker worth US$185m from Vietnam in 2016 and Bangladesh imported 4.7Mt worth US$141m, accounting for 33% and 25.1% respectively of the country’s total clinker and cement exports in 2016. Increased competition in export markets has been blamed on rival products from Thailand and China.
Philippines: Holcim Philippines’ Bacnotan and Norzagaray cement plants have won awards for energy efficiency at the 2016 Don Emilio Abello Energy Efficiency Awards. The plants won Awards of Recognition for representing the Philippines in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Competition Best Practice for Energy Management in Buildings and Industries. The La Union plant was cited for its use of alternative fuel and raw materials to reduce its coal consumption, while Bulacan was recognized for its best practices in energy management through process improvements.
Plants operated by Holcim Philippines in Misamis Oriental and Davao City picked up awards for energy efficiency in 2015. In 2014, the company’s Bulacan plant was elevated to the Hall of Fame for receiving the Outstanding Award for three consecutive years.
The Don Emilio Abello Energy Efficiency Awards, run by the Department of Energy, recognise firms that significantly reduce their energy consumption. Participating companies submit consumption reports that are evaluated by energy officials from the public and private sector. The award is a tribute to Emilio Abello, the former Meralco chairman and chief executive officer.
HeidelbergCement buys Italcementi
Undeniably the big story of the year, HeidelbergCement has gradually acquired Italcementi throughout 2016. Notably, unlike the merger of Lafarge and Holcim, the cement producer has not held a party to mark the occasion. Instead each major step of the process has been reported upon incrementally in press releases and other sources throughout the year. The enlarged HeidelbergCement appears to be in a better market position than LafargeHolcim but it will be watched carefully in 2017 for signs of weakness.
LafargeHolcim faces accusations over conduct in Syria
The general theme for LafargeHolcim in 2016 has been one of divestments to shore up its balance sheet. However, one news story could potentially sum up its decline for the wider public. In June 2016 French newspaper Le Monde alleged that Lafarge had struck deals with armed groups in Syria, including so-called Islamic State (IS), to protect its assets in 2013 and 2014. LafargeHolcim didn’t deny the claims directly in June. Then in response to a legal challenge on the issue mounted in November 2016 its language tightened to statements condoning terrorism whilst still allowing some wriggle room. As almost all of the international groups in Syria are opposed to IS, should these allegations prove to be true it will not look good for the world’s largest cement producer.
China and India balance sector restructuring with production growth
Both China and India seem to have turned a corner in 2016 with growing cement production and a generally more upbeat feeling for the industries. Both have also seen some high profile consolidations or mergers underway which will hopefully cut inefficiencies. China’s focus on its ‘One Belt, One Road’ appears to be delivering foreign contracts as CBMI’s recent flurry of orders in Africa attests although Sinoma’s equipment arm was losing money in the first half of 2016. Meanwhile, India may have damaged its own growth in the short term through its demonetisation policy to take high value Indian rupee currency notes out of circulation. In November 2016 cement demand was believed to have dropped by up to half as the real estate sector struggled to adapt. The pain is anticipated to carry on until the end of March 2017.
US industry growth stuck in the slow lane
The US cement industry has failed to take off yet again in 2016 with growth lagging below 5%. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has reported that clinker production has risen by 1% in the first ten months of 2016 and that it fell in the third quarter of the year. In response, the Portland Cement Association (PCA) lowered its forecasts for both 2016 and 2017. One unknown here has been the election of President-elect Donald Trump and the uncertainty over what his policies might bring. If he ‘goes large,’ as he said he wants to, on infrastructure then the cement industry will benefit. Yet, knock-on effects from other potential policies like restricting migrant labour might have unpredictable consequences upon the general construction industry.
African expansion follows the money
International cement producers have prospered at the expense of local ones in 2016. The big shock this year was when Nigeria’s Dangote announced that it was scaling back its expansion plans in response to problems in Nigeria principally with the devaluation of the Naira. Since then it has also faced local problems in Ghana, Ethiopia and Tanzania. Its sub-Saharan competitor PPC has also had problems too. By contrast, foreign investors from outside the continent, led by China, have scented opportunity and opened their wallets.
Changes in store for the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme
A late entry to this roundup is the proposed amendment to the European Union (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). This may entail the introduction of a Border Adjustment Measure (BAM) with the loss of free allowances for the cement sector in Phase IV. Cembureau, the European Cement Association, has slammed the changes as ‘discriminatory’ and raised concerns over how this would affect competitiveness. In opposition the environmental campaign group Sandbag has defended the changes as ones that could put a stop to the ‘cement sector’s windfall profits from the ETS.’
High growth shifts to Philippines and other territories
Indonesia may be lurching towards production overcapacity, but fear not, the Philippines have arrived on the scene to provide high double-digit growth on the back of the Duterte Infrastructure Plan. The Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CEMAP) has said that cement sales have risen by 10.1% year-on-year to 20.1Mt in the first three quarters of 2016 and lots of new plants and upgrade projects are underway. The other place drawing attention in the second half of the year has been Pakistan with cement sales jumping in response to projects being built by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Global Cement Weekly will return on 4 January 2016
Philippines: The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has issued show cause orders against two cement projects. Orders were issued to the Mindanao Portland Cement Corporation and the Pozzolan and the Associate Minerals Cement Plant, as well as to nine other mining companies, according to the Philippine Star newspaper. Environment Secretary Gina Lopez said that these companies should explain within seven days why fines should not be issued and environmental compliance certificates cancelled. The initiative is part of a review of environmental certificates issues by previous administrations.
Construction firm DMCI Holdings announced plans this week to enter the Philippine cement market. The company intends to build one cement plant on Semirara and three cement grinding plants elsewhere – at Batangas, Iloilo and Zamboanga – to give it a national presence. DMCI’s managing director Victor Limlingan admitted to local press that his company was taking a gamble on spending US$368m in this way.
It has staked its money on the Duterte Infrastructure Plan, a scheme from the new administration that was elected in June 2016 to target US$165bn (!) towards infrastructure spending until the early 2020s. Even if a portion of this money makes it from political hyperbole to the diggers then it is likely to mean a sustained construction boom for an economy that is already growing at around 6%/yr. DCMI’s excitement was almost palpable in mid-November 2016 when it put out a press release calling for potential partners to help it benefit from the rush when it comes. Although the company did add that all the discussions were at the exploratory stage at this time because it was still awaiting bidding documents.
DMCI’s project joins six plants in various stages of planning and construction from San Miguel, Northern Cement, Eagle Cement and LafargeHolcim. In addition four existing plants are carrying out upgrades to increase their production capacity. Clearly, things are looking up for the local cement industry. DMCI follows San Miguel which announced that it was going to spend US$1bn on building five cement plants around the country in mid-2015.
In line with this kind of investment the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CEMAP) said that cement sales had risen by 10.1% year-on-year to 20.1Mt in the first three quarters of 2016. This follows annual sales growth of 8.7% to 21.3Mt in 2014 and of 14.3% to 24Mt in 2015. CEMAP’s data for 2015 also shows that local demand overtook the country’s kiln capacity in 2014. Subsequently imports peaked to 314,000t in 2014, the highest level since 2002.
The country’s second largest producer Republic Cement, a joint venture between CRH and Aboitiz, reported sales growth similar to CEMAP’s one for the first three months of the year. LafargeHolcim, the largest producer, didn’t reveal any figures in its third quarter report but it marked the Philippines as one of its key contributors in the quarter. By contrast, Cemex noted lower growth in its third quarter report at 4% for the nine months to September 2016. It also said that the government transition following the election had slowed cement consumption, especially from infrastructure projects.
The Philippine cement industry is in the enviable position of being in a boom. The kind of problems it has to cope with includes provincial cement shortages, lobbying to increase usage of blended cements, scrutiny of prices by the government and a rise in technical smuggling. Once the new plants and upgrades start becoming operational the true nature of the market should become more apparent. At present it looks likely that DCMI gamble may turn out to be a wise one. The next question will be how many more companies want a piece of the piece too?
Philippines: DMCI Holdings is planning to spend US$180m to build a 1.7Mt/yr cement plant on Semirara Island in the Visayan Islands. The plant will also include a 0.4Mt/yr grinding mill and a captive power plant. DMCI is also planning to build three cement grinding plants in Batangas, Iloilo and Zamboanga, for a cost of US$188m, to give it access to markets throughout the country, according to the Business Mirror newspaper. The plants will be completed by 2020. Victor Limlingan, the managing director of DMCI, said that the company hopes to benefit from the government’s infrastructure spending.