Kenya: ARM Cement is set to build Kenya's largest cement plant in Kitui County, setting it up for a fight with Nigeria's Dangote Cement, which also has plans to open a U$400m plant in the same region.
ARM says that it will raise up to US$300m to fund new plants including the planned unit in Kitui, which will produce 8000t/day (~2.5Mt/yr) of cement. This will make it the single largest cement factory in the country and places the unit ahead of the planned Dangote plant, which has a planned daily capacity of 5500t/day (~1.8Mt/yr). ARM's fund-raising will be done through a mixture of bank loans, corporate bonds and rights issues.
"We plan to start construction of the Kitui plant late in 2014. It is a major development for us," said Pradeep Paunrana, ARM's chief executive, to the Daily Press.
This announcement will re-open the fight for Kitui mines, which were the subject of a fierce court battle between ARM and Bamburi Cement in 2010. The 100km2 area is rich with high-quality limestone. The East Africa Portland Cement Company (EAPCC) has also directed its management to strike a deal with Kitui County so that it can secure key raw materials and counter moves made by Dangote and local rivals.
Kenya produced 4.7Mt of cement in 2012, up from 2.8Mt in 2008, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. With double-digit cement market growth expected in the coming years, Kenya has caught the eye of Dangote Cement and new entrants National Cement and Mombasa Cement as well as the established players.