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India: Dalmia Cement Bharat has launched its Dalmia DSP Cement brand of cement. Senior Executive Director and group head B K Singh told the Press Trust of India that this new product will make concrete buildings more durable and it will be packaged to prevent water damage, allowing for longer storage times. The product will be released first in Tamil Nadu before a phased introduction in other states in the south of the country.
Written by Global Insulation staff
21 September 2016
Indonesia: The Indonesia Cement Association (ASI) has urged the government to restrict the issuance of new licenses as the country's cement industry has been experiencing oversupply. Widodo Santoso, chairman of the ASI, told an industry seminar that there are 13 cement producers in the country with total production capacity of 92Mt/yr but that local demand is only reaching 63 – 65Mt/yr, according to Cogencis.
"The government should restrict investment in cement industry by leading the new cement investment to outside Java where there is no cement industry," said Santoso said.
Santoso added that 10 cement plants opened in 2015 and that four more are set to start operation in 2016. By 2017 the country’s cement production capacity may surpass 100Mt/yr. He recommended that local producers increase their exports. The ASI estimates that exports will increase to 2Mt/yr in 2016 from 0.5Mt/yr in 2015. Countries such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Australia, African countries, and West Asian countries are among the destinations.
Written by Global Cement staff
21 September 2016
US: The Portland Cement Association (PCA) has confirmed its projection released earlier in 2016 that the US cement industry is on target to see annual cement consumption grow by 4%. Cement consumption through to the end of the year is expected to continue at a steady pace, with additional demand coming from several areas, including moderate residential spending and, to a lesser extent, growth in non-residential and public construction activity. Additionally, the PCA says that favourable monetary policy from the Federal Reserve will support construction activity for the next two years.
“A key factor for continued growth for the cement industry is steady growth in construction spending, also projected to be up 4%,” said PCA Chief Economist and Senior Vice President Edward J Sullivan. “This is very much in line with the overall US economy’s slow-albeit-positive growth path.”
Sullivan noted that PCA has forecasted growth despite some conflicting economic indicators from elsewhere in the economy. “Despite some ups and downs in the US economy, the underlying economic fundamentals are solid.” For example, PCA noted the labour market has consistently seen a net monthly increase of roughly 200,000 jobs, pushing the unemployment rate below 5%. PCA also projects real GDP will grow by 1.5% in 2016, and by 2.2% in 2017.
Written by Global Cement staff
21 September 2016
Italy: Cementir has appointed Paolo Bossi as the chief executive officer of Cementir Italia, Cementir Sacci and Betontir. The new appointment follows Cementir’s acquisition of Sacci and is the start of a rationalisation process of the Cementir group in Italy, according to a company statement.
Congratulations are in order for CalPortland. It celebrates its 125th anniversary or quasquicentennial today. According to the company blurb on the website, a cement plant was established in 1891 in Colton, California. This was the first plant west of the Rockies and it went on to supply building materials towards the development of Los Angeles. However, the website doesn’t exactly shout about its purchase in 1990 by one of the Japanese companies that eventually became Taiheiyo Cement. Its earliest constituent company, the Cement Manufacturing Company, was established 10 years earlier than CalPortland in 1881. So perhaps CalPortland could celebrate the 135th anniversary of its Japanese owners at some point this year too.
Table 1: Age of leading cement companies by production capacity: Source: The Top 100 Report 2016, Global Cement Directory 2016, company websites, Wikipedia
As can be seen from Table 1, a list of major cement producers by production capacity in 2016, most of the European or non-Chinese multinationals are old. They have roots in various predecessor companies going back at least a century. By contrast most of the Chinese producers on this list are far younger having been established since the 1980s.
|Dyckerhoff (Buzzi Unicem)||Germany||1864|
|CalPortland (Taiheiyo Cement)||US||1891|
Table 2: Age of selected older cement companies still in business: Source: Company websites.
Table 2 adds an international perspective from the cement industry to CalPortland’s achievement. It’s an arbitrary list chosen from larger, mostly multinational cement producers that still operate today. As such it may well be missing some key names. However, they all follow the first industrial revolution innovators in cement such as John Smeaton, Joseph Aspdin or Louis Vicat. A generation later the first cement companies that have endured to the present in some form or another such as Lafarge, Vicat or Dyckerhoff started to appear. As impressive as the longevity of these companies are though, they pale in comparison to Saint-Gobain, the French construction materials company that was first established in 1665.
A BBC News article on company lifespans found that the average lifespan of a company listed in the S&P 500 index of leading US companies had decreased from 67 years in the 1920s to 15 years in 2012, according to research by Professor Richard Foster of Yale University [LINK]. By this measure most of the cement companies examined here are doing well. Yet, most of the older ones have endured such a tangle of mergers, acquisitions and changes that it is debatable whether any of them could be considered the same company as their originator. Joseph-Auguste Pavin de Lafarge may have started his operations at Teil in the Ardèche region of France in 1833 but LafargeHolcim, its modern day successor, is only one year old following its creation from Lafarge and Holcim in 2015.
This leads to the Ship of Theseus' paradox or the thought experiment regarding whether an object that has all of its parts replaced is still the same object. Just as humans gradually have most of their constituent parts (or cells) replaced over time so too do long-lasting companies. One superficial response is to point out that memory or heritage can have a lasting effect for individual, national and corporate entities. Just compare, for example, the different outlook of western European national states with millennia of continuation to much newer nations in the Americas. European countries, like the UK, are often seen as being old and stuffy compared to new world dynamism despite all the citizens in both regions being younger than their countries.
To end on a cementitious note, perhaps this dilemma should be renamed the Kiln of Theseus paradox for the cement industry. If a cement plant’s engineers replace all the parts of a cement kiln is it still the same kiln? The suspicion is that the staff at CalPortland would definitely think it is!