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Written by Global Cement staff
11 February 2015
Russia/Brazil: Refractory materials producer Magnezit Group has signed a cooperation agreement with the Brazilian company Vamtec, a diversified manufacturer and trader of materials for metallurgical and cement plants. The agreement specifies distribution and promotion of Magnezit Group's products and services in Brazil. It also includes research collaboration in the metallurgical industry.
"During recent years we have carried out a number of changes in the company, including the construction of a plant for the production of magnesia clinker in Satka, Chelyabinsk region and the purchase of a new deposit in Krasnoyarsk Territory. Cooperation with Vamtec will let Magnezit Group find new possibilities for growth and continue efficient development of business in the South American market," said general director of Magnezit Group Sergei Odegov.
Vamtec SA was founded in the 1980s. It carries out development, production and promotion of materials and services for steel making industry, non-ferrous metallurgy, foundries and other industries.
China: West China Cement Ltd said that Tian Zhenjun has resigned as CEO and has been replaced by Ma Weiping, who will also take on the role of an executive director. It also said that Low Po Ling has resigned as deputy CEO. Tian and Low both confirmed they have no disagreement with the board.
US: Ash Grove Cement has appointed David Meyer as its new chief financial officer (CFO). Meyer will also serve as vice president of the company. He replaces Randy Vance who was promoted to president and chief operating officer in August 2014. As CFO of Ash Grove, Meyer will direct accounting, treasury, internal audit, tax and information technology functions.
Meyer previously worked as the CFO of Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a US$13bn dairy cooperative that is the largest privately-owned business in Kansas City. While at DFA, he helped the company divest National Dairy Holdings and acquire a 100% stake in Kemps LLC.
Written by Global Cement staff
11 February 2015
Germany: The Supervisory Board of HeidelbergCement has added the position of a deputy chairman to its managing board. Dr Dominik von Achten, member of the Managing Board in charge of the North America Group area, Group Purchasing and the Competence Center Materials, has been appointed Deputy Chairman of the Managing Board effective from 1 February 2015. At the same time, Dr Bernd Scheifele had his tenure as chairman extended until 2020.
Russian refractory manufacturer Magnezit Group has struck a deal this week with Vamtec to sell product in Brazil. What such a cooperation agreement will actually entail, as ever, remains vague but it is an interesting time for a cement equipment supplier to enter the market. The majority of refractories sales are to the iron and steel industries but cement and lime holds the biggest minority market. Industrial research analysts Roskill placed the cement and lime share at 13% in a recent market report.
Competitor refractory producer RHI placed Magnezit in the same Euro0.5 – 1bn revenue bracket with producers such as a Magnesita, Inerys, Krosaki and Shinagawa. Magnesita is the most relevant company out of that list because it is headquartered in Belo Horizonte in Brazil. It is a global company but some of its major mines and production sites are based in Brazil. In 2013 its revenue grew by 8% to US$937m despite static refractory sales volumes led by falling steel production. In 2013 its refractory revenues came mainly from South America. So far in 2014 it appears to have increased its refractory sales volumes, despite a declining marking in Brazil and South America as a whole, by moving into new markets.
A similar situation has been reported by RHI in the region so far in 2014 with falling steel production hitting refractory revenue. RHI originally planned to build a refractory plant in Rio de Janeiro in 2011 but this was amended in late 2012. In this environment it seems that Magnezit may be testing the market rather than planning a full-scale incursion into Brazil.
For the first half of 2014 the Sindicato Nacional Da Indústria Do Cimento (SNIC) has reported that cement sales were 34.5Mt in Brazil, a rise of 2.8% compared to the same period in 2013. Despite this modest growth, Brazilian cement producers will see this as disappointing following years of higher growth prior to 2013.
However, events may not be that gloomy in Brazil after all. The prospect of CRH's impending purchase of three cement plants and two grinding plants from Lafarge and Holcim in Brazil with a cement production capacity of 3.6Mt/yr may stir up the market. For starters CRH may audit the suppliers the new plants are using and decide whether they want to continue using them. The acquisition will add a new player to compete with the existing producers in the high producing states of Minas Gerais and Rio De Janeiro. Competition authority Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica (CADE) set up the terms for what Lafarge and Holcim would have to sell in December 2014, so now that a buyer has been found the move may go smoothly. Needless to say this presents an opening for any, say, Russian-based refractory producers looking for new clients!