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Cement News

»   » State Pollution Control Board calls for closure of Jammu & Kashmir Cements plant
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 10:28:22 +0000

State Pollution Control Board calls for closure of Jammu & Kashmir Cements plant

India: The State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) has recommended that Jammu & Kashmir Cements’ plant at Khrew, Pampore for causing ‘major pollution.’ However, the state government has given the state-owned cement producer time to stay open while it installs dust control upgrades, according to the Kashmir Monitor newspaper. The company employs around 1000 workers and the government is concerned about the disruption that shutting the plant would cause.

»   » GCP Applied Technologies launches new cement additives
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 10:26:08 +0000

GCP Applied Technologies launches new cement additives

US: GCP Applied Technologies has launched two new cement additives: Opteva HE quality improvers and Tavero VM grinding aids. Opteva HE is intended to enhance early strength and is targeted at ‘challenging’ cements. Tavero VM is a grinding aid additive intended to help stabilise vertical roller mills during production by reducing water injection requirements and cement pre-hydration. It also improves cement performance by delivering higher strengths and shorter setting time. The company intends to expand its range of additives for cement production under the Opteva and Tavero brands.

»   » JSW Cement starts work on cement grinding plant in Odisha
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 11:30:12 +0000

JSW Cement starts work on cement grinding plant in Odisha

India: Shri Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of Odisha, has laid the foundation stone for a 1.2Mt/yr cement grinding plant that JSW Cement is building at Kalinganagar in Jajpur. The plant is scheduled to start operations in 2018, according to the Orissa Diary. Once the unit is commissioned the cement producer has plans to double its production capacity to 2.4Mt/yr.

»   » Sempertrans and Shaw Almex to end cooperation agreement in North American conveyor belt market
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 11:28:16 +0000

Sempertrans and Shaw Almex to end cooperation agreement in North American conveyor belt market

US/Austria: Sempertrans USA, part of Semperit Group, and Shaw Almex Industries have agreed to end a cooperation agreement for the North American conveyor belt market. The agreement was originally set up in 2016. Sempertrans USA has set up a sales and distribution organisation for conveyor belts in North America and it will use this to serve its customers. Tim Shaw, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Shaw Almex, said that both companies had agreed that it would be better if they acted independently so that they could be more ‘flexible’ in handling their respective customers.

»   » Update on Argentina
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 12:48:53 +0000

Forget the news stories about poor markets in Colombia and Brazil. Argentina is riding a construction boom right now. Local producer Loma Negra recently ran an initial public offering and it picked a good time to do it. It aimed to generate up to US$800m from the flotation and in the end it raised over US$1bn. Good news for its Brazilian owner InterCement no doubt, which was last reported as aiming to sell a 32% stake in the company in order to cover its debts. More cheer must have followed from Loma Negra’s third quarter results this week. Its cement sales volumes rose by 9% in the latest quarter to 1.72Mt due to expanding local construction activity.

Graph 1: Cement production and consumption in Argentina Q1 – 3, 2008 – 2017. Source: Asociación de Fabricantes de Cemento Portland (AFCP).

Graph 1: Cement production and consumption in Argentina Q1 – 3, 2008 – 2017. Source: Asociación de Fabricantes de Cemento Portland (AFCP).

As Graph 1 shows its experience mirrors the wider industry. Cement production rose by almost the same rate for the industry as whole, by 10% year-on-year to 3.19Mt for the quarter, according to Asociación de Fabricantes de Cemento Portland (AFCP) data. For the nine months as a whole production has also risen by 9% to 8.7Mt. This figure is the third highest in the last decade since 2008. Production peaked in 2015 before dropping a major 10Mt following a subdued construction industry in the wake of devaluation of the Argentinean Peso in late 2015 and early 2016. At the time LafargeHolcim, the operator of Holcim Argentina, also blamed the negative influence of neighbouring Brazil’s own financial woes. The economy has bounced back giving the country’s its highest nine month cement consumption figure, 8.8Mt, in the last decade.

Earlier in the year LafargeHolcim said it was importing 0.25Mt of cement into Argentina between May 2017 and April 2018 because it couldn’t meet local demand from its own plants. Given the over-abundance of clinker in the world one might be forgiven for being sceptical about this claim. Bolivia’s Itacamba announced it was also exporting cement to Argentina this week. However, the other point to note from the graph is that consumption has been about 90,500t higher than production so far in 2017. This is an envious position for local producers to be in. One more striking feature that sticks out from the graph above is the undulating curve than both production and consumption has. The Argentinean economy has been through the ringer in recent years and this shows in the ups and downs of the figures.

From the perspective of the three major domestic producers, Loma Negra’s sales revenue rose by 53.9% year-on-year to US$620m in the first nine months of 2017. Its adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by a whopping 73% to US$157m. Cementos Avellaneda, owned by Spain Cementos Mollins and Brazil’s Votorantim, reported similar good news with its overall results boosted by the Argentine market. Its sales revenue in the country rose by 28.3% to Euro130m and its EBITDA rose by 59.5% to Euro32.4m. Although Mollins did make the point that inflation had been particular problem in Argentina, although its impact had been ‘greatly’ outweighed by price rises. LafargeHolcim has had its problems globally so far in 2017 but Argentina hasn’t been one of them. Its operations in the country have been propping up the group’s Latin American results each quarter so far in 2017. Despite being one of its smaller regions by sales revenues, its sales and earnings delivered some of the group’s highest growth in the third quarter of 2017.

In this kind of environment new production capacity can’t be far away. Sure enough Cementos Avellaneda plans to increases the capacity of its San Luís cement grinding plant by 0.7Mt to 1Mt/yr by the second quarter of 2019. US$200m has been earmarked for the project.

So, great news for Argentina and proof that poor markets can turn around. The Brazilian cement association SNIC reckoned in October 2017 that the rate decline of cement sales was slowing, suggesting that the bottom of the downturn was in sight. On the evidence of the current situation in Argentina once the market does revive, South America will be the place to watch.

»   » Ross Wilkin and Michael Werner join senior team at HarbisonWalker International
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 12:43:29 +0000

US: Refractory manufacturer HarbisonWalker International (HWI) has announced two new members of its senior leadership team. Ross Wilkin has joined as chief financial officer (CFO) and corporate treasurer, and Michael Werner has joined as senior vice president, Commercial and corporate officer.

Wilkin joins HWI from Universal Stainless & Alloy Products, where he served as CFO. Before his role at Universal Stainless, he was CFO at Dynamics. Much of Wilkin’s career has been spent with HJ Heinz Company where he eventually became the became the vice president and CFO for the company’s Australia and New Zealand organisation. He began his finance career at KPMG, serving both in Toronto, Canada and in Cleveland, Ohio. A graduate of Carlton University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Accounting and Finance, Wilkin is a certified public accountant in both Canada and the US.

Werner previously led global commercial operations for Loparex. Prior to this he spent 20 years at GE Plastics and Sabic in numerous domestic and global roles, where he progressed to become Product General Manager. He began his career at Monsanto as an engineer in Technical Development and as a manager of Business Development in the thermoplastic elastomer business. Werner holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Polymer Science from the Pennsylvania State University.

»   » Police search offices of LafargeHolcim and GBL in relation to Syria probe
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 12:41:46 +0000

Police search offices of LafargeHolcim and GBL in relation to Syria probe

France/Belgium: French police have searched the Paris offices of LafargeHolcim as part of an on-going investigation into the company’s conduct in Syria. At the same time the offices of Belgium’s Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL) were also searched, according to the Agence France Presse (AFP). Both companies said they were cooperating with the investigations.

A source quoted by AFP said that the investigators are trying to find out if GBL had been aware of Lafarge Syria’s activities in Syria. GBL is a shareholder of LafargeHolcim that held a 9.4% stake at the end of 2016. The investigation as a whole is attempting to determine whether LafargeHolcim’s predecessor company Lafarge Syria paid terrorist groups in Syria and how much managers knew about the situation.

»   » Votorantim Cimentos holds stable sales revenue in third quarter of 2017
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 12:40:46 +0000

Votorantim Cimentos holds stable sales revenue in third quarter of 2017

Brazil: Votorantim Cimentos’ sales revenue has remained stable at US$968m in the third quarter of 2017, boosted by its performance in North America. At home in Brazil the cement producer benefitted from improved market conditions, including higher prices and higher revenues from mortars and agricultural lime. Despite this though its local revenue fell by 4.9% year-on-year in line with the national market. The cement producers adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell by 27% to US$157m but the company blamed this on a non-recurring tax adjustment.

»   » Anhui Conch Cement to buy drilling rig from Atlas Copco
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 12:39:14 +0000

Anhui Conch Cement to buy drilling rig from Atlas Copco

China: Anhui Conch Cement plans to buy and import a hydraulic drilling rig for a limestone quarry supporting a cement plant at Tongchuan in Shaanxi. Atlas Copco is one of the lead suppliers of the equipment, according to Inside International Industrials. Delivery is scheduled by February 2018. The estimated cost is around US$1.7m.

The overall mining project is expected to have a production capacity of 4500t/day with a total value of US$61m. Construction is planned to begin in the first half of 2018. It was approved by Shaanxi Provincial Development and Reform Commission in mid-2017.

»   » Lafarge Africa shareholders approve merger with United Cement Company of Nigeria and Atlas Cement
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 12:37:02 +0000

Lafarge Africa shareholders approve merger with United Cement Company of Nigeria and Atlas Cement

Nigeria: The shareholders of Lafarge Africa have approved the merger with United Cement Company of Nigeria (Unicem) and Atlas Cement. Lafarge Africa chairman Bolaji Balogun said that the merger would streamline its operations and reduce its costs, according to the Nigerian Guardian newspaper. Lafarge Africa is the sole shareholder of Unicem and Atlas Cement.

Unicem operates the 5Mt/yr Mfamsoing cement plant at Calabar in Cross River State. Atlas Cement runs a 0.5Mt/yr terminal in Rivers State at the Federal Ocean Terminal in Onne. It originally supplied Ordinary Portland Cement but is now changing its market to the oil and gas sector.