Displaying items by tag: Philippines
Philippines: Republic Cement has inaugurated its new cement grinding mill at its Norzagaray cement plant in Bulacan. The US$19m expansion will add 0.85Mt/yr of cement production capacity to the plant, according to the Philippines Star.
“This capacity expansion initiative reaffirms Republic Cement’s commitment to support our country’s growth through the provision of top quality cement and building materials,” said Renato Sunico, president of Republic Cement. The new mill will also decrease the plant’s energy consumption.
Republic Cement, formerly Lafarge Republic, is owned by a joint venture of Aboitiz Equity Ventures and CRH.
Philippines: Cemex Philippines has started proceedings to sell a minority stake in its assets. The subsidiary of Cemex has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the Philippines and the Philippine Stock Exchange. Subject to obtaining approvals from both bodies it will then sell a minority interest in the company’s cement manufacturing assets in the Philippines, the company said in a statement.
Cemex runs two integrated cement plants in the country, the Solid Cement Plant in Rizal and the APO Cement Plant in Cebu. The decision to sell shares of assets in the Philippines is part of Cemex’s wider asset divesture plant.
Mexico: Cemex has obtained consent to amend its credit agreement dated 29 September 2014 in order to delay the scheduled tightening in its consolidated financial leverage and coverage ratio limits by one year. The formalisation of the amendment is subject to customary conditions and is expected to be finalised in the following days.
The amendment to the credit agreement will allow the leverage ratio covenant to remain at 6.0 times until and including 31 March 2017. It will then gradually decline to 4.0 times by 30 June 2020. The margin grid in the credit agreement will be modified such that if the consolidated leverage ratio is greater than 5.50 times in the reference periods ending on 31 December 2016, 31 March 2017, 30 June 2017 and 30 September 2017. The applicable margin will be 425 bps instead of 400 bps. All other levels in the margin grid remain unchanged.
In addition, the credit agreement will be amended to allow Cemex the right, subject to meeting local requirements in the Philippines, to sell a minority stake in a subsidiary that directly and indirectly mainly owns Cemex’s cement manufacturing assets in the Philippines.
Philippines: A shortage of cement has been reported in the Pangasinan province due to government projects, including road widening schemes, and private construction. The local Northern Cement Corp. (NCC) plant at Sison is producing around 100,000 bags per day according to the Philippines News Agency. Despite this dealers, and buyers are reporting cement shipments selling out hours after delivery, with prices spiking accordingly.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) monitoring of the NCC plant reports that 2.2 million bags were delivered by NCC in January 2016 and 1.9 million bags were delivered from 1 – 22 February 2016. The NCC is upgrading its local plant to double production to 200,000 bags per day by mid-March 2016. The DTI has asked consumers not to panic over this ‘temporary’ shortage.
Philippines: Holcim Philippines has reported a rise in net profit of 58% year-on-year to US$171m in 2015. Its revenue rose by 15% to US$793m. It attributed the gain to increased government spending in infrastructure projects and higher construction activity. Profits also benefited from a US$55m gain from the revaluation of an investment in an affiliate. The LafargeHolcim subsidiary also reported that it is increasing its cement production capacity to 10Mt in 2016 from 8Mt in 2015 to benefit from anticipated infrastructure spending.
Philippines: Cement sales volumes grew by 14.3% to 24.4Mt in 2015 according to the Cement Manufacturer's Association of the Philippines (CEMAP). The sales volume was 21.3Mt in 2014. In the fourth quarter of 2015 cement sales rose by 16.6% year-on-year to 6.1Mt from 5.2Mt in the same period in 2014.
CEMAP president Ernie Ordonez attributed the growth to higher investments in construction of the public sector backed with the private sector's confidence in the government, new housing projects with low interest rates and better weather in 2015.
Philippines: Republic Cement Services Inc (RCSI) is considering building production facilities in Visayas and Mindanao following a government drive to improve the country's infrastructure.
According to RCSI president Don Lee, the move is in response to announcements made by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that more projects were needed in the regions. "At this point, DPWH is more aggressive in visions, projects and allocations of the budget in Visayas and Mindanao," said Lee. The Public Works department, he said, needs to ensure that the local industry has enough capacity to serve the country's development needs. "It is sending us a reminder to be faster in having more cement capacity in Visayas and Mindanao." Lee said that expansions by cement companies are critical for sufficient raw material supplies for energy, water, telecommunications and transport projects. Included in RCSI's upcoming expansions are an 800,000t/yr grinding plant in Norzagaray, Bulacan that is expected to be operational early in 2016.
Lee said that the Cement Manufacturers' Association of the Philippines had reported a year-on-year cement demand increase of 18% in the third quarter of 2015. "I think that for the full year, we're about 13.5 – 14%. We have one of the healthiest cement markets in the world, driven by construction in infrastructure, individual homes and mid-high rise constructions," said Lee.
Lee said he was also confident that Republic Cement would be able to post above industry growth. "With our new capacity coming on and new shareholders, we are in a good position to develop new projects and continue to invest ahead of demand. Our two new parents are financially healthy," said Lee.
RCSI is a joint venture between Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc and CRH. The two companies secured 99.09% ownership of Lafarge Republic Inc, which operates the Republic Cement brand, for US$530m.
Philippines: Cement sales grew by nearly a fifth, or 18.6%, in the third quarter of 2015 on the back of increased consumer spending, according to the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CeMAP).
CeMAP president Ernesto Ordoñez said that the country's total cement sales reached 6.4Mt in the third quarter of 2015, from 5.4Mt in the same period of 2014. The growth was attributed to the expansion of several infrastructure projects in both the public and private sectors, as well as the increased budget of the government for infrastructure projects. "The weather was also better this year compared last year, so that was also a factor," said Ordoñez, who also identified the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit as a sales driver. He is optimistic that cement sales will continue their upward trajectory for the rest of 2015.
Philippines: Holcim Philippines' profits more than doubled in the third quarter of 2015 due to strong sales from sustained construction activity into the rainy season. Its net income grew to US$32.5m from US$15.3m in the same period of 2014. Its net sales rose by 23.2% year-on-year to US$212m.
Holcim Philippines' profits for the first nine months of 2015 grew by 12.7% to US$96.7m. This brings the company's sales for the first nine months of 2015 to US$595m, some 9.44% higher than in same period of 2014. Cement demand was healthy nationwide and strongest in Visayas and Mindanao, with no let-up in the building activity by both the private and public sectors.
Holcim Philippines Country CEO Eduardo A Sahagun said that the company's third quarter results were made possible by the improved performance of the plants, which can now operate longer before maintenance activities. "Demand usually dips during the rainy season but this time, we experienced even stronger demand in the third quarter. Under these conditions, it is critical to sustain operations to support the market and we did so due to the steady investments for better plant performance," said Sahagun. Sahagun said that logistics operations also improved with more flexibility to supply the National Capital Region through its newly-acquired Holcim Manila Terminal.
San Miguel Corporation has upped the pace of its capacity expansion this week to a US$1bn investment towards five new 2Mt/yr cement plants in the Philippines. The announcement builds on its previous plans to build two plants for US$800m. At that time construction had already begun at subsidiary Northern Cement's plant in Pangasinan and Quezon. Plants in Bulacan, Cebu and Davao have now joined the list for completion in 2017.
The scale of this expansion is vast considering that the Philippines has 17 active cement plants with a total integrated production capacity of 24.6Mt/yr. San Miguel president and COO Ramon Ang's comments to media that if there were an oversupply of cement the market would correct itself in a couple of years may sound flippant to anyone who isn't the head of a multi-billion dollar corporation. However, if achieved it will propel the San Miguel subsidiaries from the country's fourth largest cement producer to its largest.
However each of the other major producers also have their own expansion plan in various stages of completion. Holcim Philippines announced US$40m plans in May 2015 to expand its production capacity to 10Mt/yr by the end of 2016, mainly through reviving existing projects. Cemex announced plans in May 2015 to spend US$300m towards building a new 1.5Mt/yr integrated line at its Solid Plant. Lafarge Republic had plans in April 2015 to raise its cement output through the opening of grinding plants at its Rizal and Bulacan cement plants. The former was opened in April 2015 but this is the one plant that hasn't been acquired by CRH following the sale of Lafarge Republic in the run-up to the LafargeHolcim merger. The latter was last reported due for opening in December 2015.
The big change in the Philippine cement industry in 2015 has been the merger of Lafarge and Holcim to form LafargeHolcim. Given that Lafarge Republic and Holcim Philippines held over 55% of the country's production capacity before the merger, it was inevitable that they would be forced to sell off assets. In the end CRH picked up most of Lafarge Republic's cement assets bar the Teresa Plant in Rizal, which stayed with Holcim. The merger has skewed the market towards one clear leader, LafargeHolcim (9.5Mt/yr), followed by Cemex (4.73Mt/yr) and CRH (4.19Mt/yr) with similarly sized cement production bases. These producers are then chased by San Miguel (2.15Mt/yr) and the other smaller firms. If San Miguel succeeds in its expansion strategy then the market will change once again.
Cement sales rose by 11.1% to 11.9Mt in the first half of 2015 according to the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CeMAP). They attributed this growth to strong construction activity helped by increases in government infrastructure spending. Alongside this, gross domestic product (GDP) is predicted to rise by 6% in 2015 and 6.3% in 2016 by the Asian Development Bank. Another promising sign for development came from a study by Antoinette Rosete of the University of Santo Tomas which forecast that cement demand would meet 27Mt/yr. Capacity utilisation rates rose to 85% from 68% in 2014 according to Department of Trade and Industry data.
With this kind of encouragement, no wonder San Miguel is betting on such a large expansion project. If Rosete's forecast and capacity utilisation rates hold then the Philippines might need a capacity base of around 36Mt/yr. San Miguel's growth will fill that gap.
Of course other players might have their own ideas about giving away market share. LafargeHolcim and Cemex are likely to be saddled with debt or existing projects. CRH meanwhile is the wildcard as its expansion strategy is opaque. In recent years it has seemed to focus on acquisitions over building its own projects. The Euro5.2bn the company has spent on buying Lafarge and Holcim assets this year seems likely to slow down investment on any internal development plans. However CRH is bringing in local partner Aboitiz in the Philipines to help with a US$400m loan.
The Philippines is clearly an exciting market for the cement industry at the moment. One consequence of the current situation is that it may signal what CRH's global intentions are following the LafargeHolcim merger. If it decides or is able to start building new capacity then it may reveal the start of a new phase for the Ireland-based multinational.