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Qatar/Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia's decision to lift its cement export ban may help to meet Qatar's growing demand ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022. Official data suggests that the peak demand for cement from Qatar's thriving construction and infrastructure industries is expected to reach 5.7Mt in 2017. Due to its population of around 2.2 million, this represents an incredible 2600kg/capita.
The Saudi government previously imposed a ban on cement exports in 2008 to push prices down and accommodate demand from large government-funded infrastructure projects, although some companies were allowed to export at prices lower than those in the local market.
According to market analysts, strong infrastructure spending by the Qatar government on infrastructure development will continue to boost demand for the cement sector. Huge projects are in the pipeline, including the Doha Metro, World Cup stadiums, roads and flyovers and sanitary works.
Written by Global Cement staff
11 July 2016
India/Switzerland: LafargeHolcim has announced that it has entered into a letter agreement with Nirma Limited subject to approval by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for the divestment of its interest in Lafarge India for an enterprise value of approximately US$1.4bn. Lafarge India operates three cement plants and two grinding stations with a total capacity of around 11Mt/yr. The company also markets aggregates and is one of India’s leading ready-mix concrete manufacturers. The proceeds from the divestment will be used to reduce LafargeHolcim’s debt.
Eric Olsen, CEO of LafargeHolcim, said, “This agreement is an important step in our US$3.6bn divestment programme. With this deal, two thirds of the programme has been secured and it is well on track. We are confident that we will meet our target by the end of this year. With the proposed buyer we have found the right partner who will be able to develop the business further in the interest of all of our stakeholders.”
LafargeHolcim will continue to operate in India through its subsidiaries ACC Ltd. and Ambuja Cements Ltd., which have a combined cement capacity of more than 60Mt/yr and a distribution network that extends across the entire country.
Kenya: The East African Portland Cement Company (EAPCC) is waiting for cabinet approval to sell US$98.8m worth of land as part of efforts to return to profitability.
The Nairobi bourse listed firm, through the Ministry of Trade, has prepared a brief for Cabinet approval to sell part of 13,000 acres of land it owns in Athi River.
Proceeds from the sale will be used to retire a US$37.5m debt and partly fund a revamp of its ageing plant, which requires nearly US$400m of investment to be brought to a level where the EAPCC can compete well with nimble rivals like Savanna Cement.
China: TCC International Holdings expects to swing to a loss in the first half of 2016, compared to a net profit US$10.5m in the first half of 2015.
The Hong Kong-listed cement producer said that the expected loss was due to lower selling prices for its cement products and a foreign-exchange loss from its US Dollar-denominated bank borrowings as a result of a weak Chinese currency. It will release interim results in August 2016.
Written by Global Cement staff
07 July 2016
Norway: The Ministry of oil and energy of Norway has announced that it expects to complete every step in the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS), i.e. capturing CO2 emissions from an industrial plant, transporting it by ship and injecting it into a depleted oil and gas reservoir in the North Sea, by 2022. Investment would range between Euro460m and Euro815m.
The source of the CO2 could be one or more of three companies currently developing CO2 capture technology. These are the HeidelbergCement-owned Norcem Brevik plant near Oslo, fertiliser maker Yara International and a waste incinerator operated by the Oslo city council.
Planning and investment for the whole chain could reach Euro0.77-1.35bn, with a 40% cost uncertainty. The government plans to present further CCS plans in the state budget in October 2016.