Displaying items by tag: Saudi Arabia
A Sinoma subsidiary was raking in the big bucks this week with the announcement that it had booked a Euro1.05bn order with the Egyptian government. The order was for six 6000t/day cement production lines plus assorted maintenance contracts from Chengdu Design and Research Institute of Building Materials Industry (CDI).
The order caps a busy month for Sinoma. At the start of June, another subsidiary, CBMI, said that it had picked up deals to build two new lines in Algeria for Groupe des Ciments d’Algérie. Around the same time another project in the country, a joint venture between Lafarge Algeria and Souakri Group, revealed that it had started commissioning its mill. Other assorted cement projects announced so far in 2016 include a waste heat recovery unit for Thai Pride Cement in Thailand, a conversion to coal burning at South Valley Cement in Egypt and various orders for mills via Loesche for Sinoma projects in Vietnam.
The scale of that latest Egyptian order becomes apparent when one looks at Sinoma, or China National Materials Group Corporation’s, annual results. It reported revenue of US$8.08bn in 2015, a slight decrease from US$8.38bn in 2014. Those six lines represent 13% of the group’s entire turnover in 2015. That’s one humongous order. The last time Sinoma signed a cement deal on this magnitude was in August 2015 when Nigerai’s Dangote placed an order at a value of US$1.49bn.
Elsewhere on the balance sheet for 2015, its profit fell markedly by 25% year-on-year to US$150m from US$200m. However, its new order intake grew by 14% to US$5.1bn. Overseas orders accounted for over three quarters of this or US$4.32bn, its highest level on record. This compares to its rival FLSmidth’s new order intake of US$2.8bn in 2015. It declared that it would continue to seek business outside of China in line with the country’s ‘One belt, one road’ policy focusing on Central Asia and South America.
This growth by Chinese engineering companies on the world stage may have been stymied in 2015. The Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau (VDMA) in Germany reported in April 2016 that the members of its Industrial Plant Manufacturers’ Group (AGAB) had booked orders of Euro19.5bn in 2015, a similar figure to its orders in 2014. This compared to a drop of 63% of large plant orders (not just cement) in 2014 from Euro5.29bn in 2013. AGAB saw opportunity in service industries for its German members as markets stalled in Russia and Brazil, and China’s property market faced its own problems. Research by UBS Evidence Lab, as reported by the Financial Times in May 2016, has taken a different view, suggesting that Chinese construction quarry equipment manufacturers such as Sany, Zoomlion and XCMG were likely to expand their market share outside of China to 15% by 2025. At present the research pegged them at 7%.
Expansion comes with its risks though. In late May 2016 Sinoma International Engineering reported details of a tax dispute it was suffering in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi subsidiary of the company was levelled with a request for unpaid back taxes from 2006 and 2008. At the time it was appealing against a bill of US$18m. In a changing global marketplace some things never change. Global success it seems is taxed.
Saudi Arabia: A lifting of the Saudi Arabian export ban on cement is unlikely to help local cement producers much according to a research report issued by Arqaam Capital. The investment bank has predicted that export volumes are likely to be restricted to 20% of output and possibly subjected to an export tax. This tax, equivalent to fuel subsidies Saudi producers benefit from, and transport costs would reduce the price advantage Saudi producers hold over international competitors.
"The domestic supply situation remains difficult. Sector clinker stocks have not budged since July 2014, remaining at nearly 21Mt as of March 2016 equivalent to four months of output. This, combined with existing capacity of 70Mt, and incoming capacity of 7Mt due in the 2016, equates to total potential capacity of around 100Mt. This suggests a substantial near/medium term surplus of 60%, given stalled domestic contracts and the fact that few export markets are currently viable," said Mohammed Kamal, Executive Director, Equity Research at Arqaam Capital.
Arqaam Capital view Yemen, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, East Africa and Iraq as potential export destinations. However, on a Freight On Board (FOB) price basis and by taking export taxes into account, only Yemen, Iraq, and Jordan are seen as viable export destinations. This then narrows the list of potential Saudi cement exporters to Southern Cement, Najran, Tabuk, Al Jouf and Northern Cement.
Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia has lifted a ban on exporting cement, the chief executive of Yanbu Cement has said to local press. Ahmed bin Abduh Zugail, who is also the deputy head of the Saudi national committee of cement companies, added that cement companies have welcomed the relaxation of the ban. However, full details of the new regulations are yet to be released by the Ministry of Commerce.
Local press reported in late November 2015 that government bodies were considering cutting the ban on cement exports. The ban was originally introduced in Saudi Arabia to keep prices down and production flowing for large infrastructure projects built using oil revenue.
Saudi Arabia: Yanbu Cement Company has reported an 11.1% year-on-year fall in its net profit to US$49m in the first quarter of 2016 from US$55m in the same period in 2015. The cement producer has blamed the profit loss on a fall in sales and a rise in fuel prices.
South Korea/Saudi Arabia/Morocco: LafargeHolcim has confirmed plans to divest its assets in South Korea and Saudi Arabia and to enlarge its presence its Morocco. The announcement was made as part of the release of its annual results 2015. The sales form part of the group’s Euro3.2bn divestment program
In Morocco, the group signed an agreement with SNI, its partner in the country, at the same time as the Lafarge-Holcim merger to enlarge its joint-venture by merging Lafarge Ciments Maroc and Holcim Maroc to create LafargeHolcim Maroc. LafargeHolcim and SNI would own a 64.7% stake in the new company once the merger is complete. The group expects to gain a synergy savings of Euro41m over two years from the merger.
LafargeHolcim and SNI also agreed to create a common platform in French-speaking Sub-Saharan Africa. The merger is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016 subject to regulatory authorities’ approval, customary closing conditions and the approval of the shareholders of Lafarge Ciments Maroc and Holcim Maroc.
In South Korea, the group has confirmed that it has signed an agreement with a consortium of private equity funds - Glenwood and Baring Asia - for the divestment of Lafarge Halla Cement in South Korea for Euro427m. The sale is expected to complete in the second quarter of 2016. Lafarge Halla Cement runs one 8.3Mt/yr integrated cement plant, a distribution network across the country and has around 500 employees.
In Saudi Arabia the group has signed an agreement for the sale of the Group’s 25% stake in Al Safwa Cement Company to El-Khayyat Group for total proceeds of Euro120m. This transaction is expected to close in the course of the third quarter of 2016.
Saudi Arabia: Eastern Province Cement has started the trial operation of its new cement mill, which is expected to continue for three months until mid-June 2016. Commercial operation of the new mill will begin in the second quarter of 2016, the company said in a bourse statement. It added that the relevant financial impact is difficult to determine at this stage as it depends on market supply and demand.
The Saudi Cement Company has been complaining in recent weeks about market conditions in Saudi Arabia. Following a meeting of its board of directors in early February 2016, it decided to temporally a 3500t/day production line and halt further upgrades. At the meeting it blamed the local market and the country’s export ban.
In January 2016, the cement producer reported that its net profit had fallen by 35% year-on-year to US$49m in the fourth quarter of 2015 from US$76m in the same period in 2014. The trend for the year as a whole was less pronounced but still downward. Its net profit fell by 14% to US$257m.
Saudi Cement’s experience may be indicative if one looks at wider figures for the industry. Cement output is high, inventory is piling up and government infrastructure spending is falling. If the country’s industry isn’t feeling the pain right now surely it must be wondering what might happen next.
Figure 1 – Saudi Arabian cement production and inventory, 2011 – 2015
As Figure 1 shows data from Yamama Cement for the industry as a whole. Cement output has been steadily growing over the last five years since 2011 to the current declared level of 61.5Mt. However, in the background, cement inventory has also been growing. The particular jump appears to be between 2012 and 2014 when the stock grew from 6.4Mt to 21.5Mt. In mid-2013 King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud issued an urgent command ordering 10Mt of cement to cope with a local shortage at that time. Subsequently cement producers were asked to build a 'strategic' reserve of two months inventory at each plant. It looks like they took that message to heart.
Alongside this the Saudi Ministry of Finance slashed its Infrastructure and Transportation budget down to more than half to US$6.37bn in 2016 from US$16.8bn in 2015. Local media reported that value of new contracts won by the Saudi contractor Abdullah A M Al Khodari & Sons in 2015 fell by nearly 50% in the lead-up to the 2016 budget announcement in December 2015. Previously, Al Khodari had typically earned about 95% of its revenue from government-related contracts.
It should be noted that Saudi Cement is based in the east of the country and some regional variation is possible here. The country’s other major cement producers - Yamama Cement, Yanbu Cement and Southern Province Cement have all reported that their net profits rose in 2015. Yet the inventory keeps piling up.
The other reason than Saudi Cement pointed out for its woes was the country’s cement export ban. The government introduced an export ban on cement exports in February 2012. Since then local cement producers have asked on several occasions to have the ban repealed. Most recently the chairman of Saudi Arabia's Cement Association asked in March 2015 to lift the ban so that his producers could supply Egypt with 6Mt of cement. At the time, as now, the chairman would have been well aware of all the cement lying around.
Local press reported in late November 2015 that government bodies were considering cutting the ban on cement exports. The ban was originally introduced in Saudi Arabia to keep prices down and production flowing for large infrastructure projects built using oil revenue. These same projects were designed to wean the economy off its reliance oil revenue. With investment falling as the price of oil stays low the cement industry is in a tight spot. The government and cement producers will need to think very carefully what the consequences are of opening the gates for Saudi cement exports.
Saudi Arabia: Halla Waleed Al-Juffali has been appointed as a member of the Board of Directors (independent director) of the Saudi Cement Company. Her appointment is subject to shareholder approval. She replaces Waleed Ahmed Al-Juffali, who resigned with effect from 4 February 2016 due to health reasons.
Halla holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business administration degree, majoring in International Business, from the International University of America in London. She has been a director with Ebrahim Al-Juffali and Brothers and Walid Juaffali & Partners. Halla has previously worked as a business analyst for British, European and Chinese investment markets.
Saudi Arabia: The Saudi Cement Company has decided to temporarily stop producing clinker on one of its production lines and postpone replacing three cement mills due to poor market conditions and a cement export ban. The company will stop its 3500t/day clinker kiln 6 until market conditions improve. The stoppage is not expected to affect the cement producer's financial results as its inventory currently stands at 4Mt. A plan to replace three 360t/hr cement mills with two 440t/hr mills has also been delayed due to market conditions. The upgrade was expected to add 0.6Mt/yr cement grinding capacity to the plant.
Saudi Arabia: Qassim Cement Co's quarterly net profit during the fourth quarter of 2015 amounted to US$37.4m, up by 4.69% from US$35.7m for the same quarter of 2014.
The main reasons for the net profit increase were higher sales volume and value, lower general and administrative expenses and higher other income. Gross profit during the fourth quarter of 2015 was US$42.3m, some 0.83% higher than the US$41.8m in the same period of 2014. Its operating profit increased by 7.96% to US$40.6m during the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to US$37.6m in the same quarter of 2014.
The company's net profit in 2015 grew by 4.05% year-on-year to US$156m and its gross profit grew by 2.33% to US$168m. Its operating profit grew by 4.49% to US$160m during 2015.