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Cement News

»   » Half-year cement producers update
Wed, 04 Aug 2021 12:28:49 +0000

The story so far for the first half of 2021 has been one of recovery following the coronavirus-related lockdowns in the same period in 2020. Market restrictions ended, production curbs were rescinded and revenue and sales volumes grew.

Many of the larger multinational cement producers have released their financial results and sales revenues show a gap-tooth pattern for the first halves of 2019, 2020 and 2021. Sales for LafargeHolcim, HeidelbergCement and Cemex all took a knock of around 10% from 2019 to 2020. Generally, sales have increased from 2019 to 2021 for the more regional-based companies such as Cemex or Buzzi Unicem. The larger multinational producers like Holcim and HeidelbergCement bounced back from the dip in 2020 but comparisons with the first half of 2019 are less favourable. Like-for-like comparisons between 2019 and 2021 are not available but both companies have been refocusing their portfolios in recent years making it hard to gain a sense of exactly what’s going on. These trends are still ongoing with more speculation in the press this week about which companies are bidding for LafargeHolcim Brasil for example. However, both Holcim and HeidelbergCement did report record earnings or operating incomes in the first half of 2021 suggesting that all the cost cutting in 2020 has paid off. The general market picture was continuing demand in North America, recovery in Europe and Latin America, growth in Africa and the Middle East and growth in Asia despite renewed coronavirus-related uncertainty.

Figure 1: Sales of selected major multinational cement producers in first half of 2021. Source: Company financial reports.

Figure 1: Sales of selected major multinational cement producers in first half of 2021. Source: Company financial reports.

Figure 2: Cement sales volumes of selected major multinational cement producers in first half of 2020. Source: Company financial reports.

Figure 2: Cement sales volumes of selected major multinational cement producers in first half of 2021. Source: Company financial reports.

Cemex and Buzzi Unicem benefitted from their strong market presences in the Americas and Europe. Cemex was also helped by a particular recovery in Mexico and Latin America. The latter region benefited from the relaxation of strong lockdown measures in many countries implemented in the first half of 2020. Cemex’s investors update event at the end of June 2021 summed up its situation with earnings growth and leverage levels about to hit desired targets, selective investments and divestments on the way, new production capacity round the corner and sustainability goals turning up earlier than expected.

In Africa, Dangote Cement witnessed a switch from growth outside of Nigeria to a spurt of domestic demand for cement from mid-2020 onwards. This temporarily caused the company problems earlier in 2021 when it was forced to suspend its newly started export operations to Cameroon from its Onne and Apapa terminals. The reactivation of its previously mothballed 4.5Mt/yr Gboko plant in Benue State and an upcoming 3Mt/yr plant at Okpella in Edo state seem to have soothed the demand rush for now. Clinker exports have been resumed.

India meanwhile faced a second wave of its coronavirus epidemic in the spring of 2021. UltraTech Cement acknowledged this in its latest financial results, for the quarter to 30 June 2021. It reported that this had ‘marginally’ impacted cement demand but that the company was still monitoring the impact of the health situation upon its operations. Despite this, revenue and sales volumes of cement still grew significantly year-on-year in both the quarter and the first half of 2021. UltraTech Cement’s wariness about the health situation chimed with recent comments by Roongrote Rangsiyopash, the head of Siam Cement Group (SCG), who told local press in Thailand that current coronavirus restrictions in the country had reduced cement demand by 20%.

Finally, Semen Indonesia reported growing revenue, sales volumes of cement and earnings in the first half of 2021. Its financial results had little to say about the local coronavirus situation other than that it had reduced domestic demand growth and worsened production overcapacity. National cement production reached 115Mt in 2020 but local demand was only 62.7Mt. Unsurprisingly, exports reached their highest level ever, at 9.3Mt, in 2020.

As ever this is a very selective view of cement producer financial results. Larger multinationals like CRH or Votorantim are yet to release their results and likewise for the big Chinese producers. Recovery and growth seems to be the likely outcome for most of them though. However, the effects of recent coronavirus outbreaks in Asia have shown up in some of the results covered above. This suggests that the second half of 2021 for building materials manufacturers may be characterised by which countries are better able to suppress coronavirus either through mass vaccination or other public health measures. Buzzi Unicem summed it up it in its half year results: “The rapid progress of vaccination campaigns was matched by a clear recovery in economic activity.”

»   » KC Jhanwar appointed as chairman of NCB
Wed, 04 Aug 2021 12:12:02 +0000

India: The National Council for Cement and Building Materials (NCB) has elected KC Jhanwar as its chairman for the year 2021 – 2022. Shri Neeraj Akhoury was elected as the vice-chairman.

KC Jhanwar is currently the managing director of UltraTech Cement and the president of the Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA). He originally joined Aditya Birla Group in 1981 as a management trainee in the cement business. Since then he has worked across finance, operations and general management roles in the cement and chemical sectors. Jhanwar is a chartered accountant by qualification.

Neeraj Akhoury is currently the managing director and chief executive officer of Ambuja Cement and the vice-president of the CMA. He holds over 25 years of experience in the cement and steel sectors. He began his career with Tata Steel in 1993 and later joined the predecessor company to Holcim Group in 1999. Akhoury holds a degree in economics and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Liverpool in the UK. He is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School in the US and had studied general management at XLRI business school at Jamshedpur.

»   » Ryan Stokes appointed as chairman of Boral
Wed, 04 Aug 2021 12:11:26 +0000

Australia: Ryan Stokes has been appointed as the chairman of Boral. The appointment follows Seven Group’s acquisition of a majority shareholding in Boral in late July 2021. Kathryn Fagg, the former chair, has retired from Boral. Richard Richards, a Seven Group nomination, has also been appointed as a director. Stokes is the managing director and chief executive officer of Seven Group, an Australian-based conglomerate that operates in the industrial services, oil and gas and media sectors.

»   » Buzzi Unicem reports sales growth as Italian market recovers
Wed, 04 Aug 2021 12:10:35 +0000

Buzzi Unicem reports sales growth as Italian market recovers

Italy: Buzzi Unicem’s net sales grew by 5.8% year-on-year to Euro1.61bn in the first half of 2021 from Euro1.52bn in the same period of 2020. Its sales volumes of cement and clinker rose by 10.9% to 14.8Mt from 13.4Mt. Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 12.3% to Euro352m from Euro314m. The group reported cement sales volumes growth in all territories with the exception of Poland, and Germany to a lesser extent. It also noted growth in ready-mixed concrete sales volumes of 7% to 5.8Mm3 with development in Italy, Poland and Ukraine more than compensating for ‘unfavourable’ changes in the US, Germany and the Czech Republic.

»   » Semen Indonesia improves cement sales volumes to 19.2Mt
Wed, 04 Aug 2021 12:09:44 +0000

Semen Indonesia improves cement sales volumes to 19.2Mt

Indonesia: Semen Indonesia’s revenue grew by 1.2% to US$1.13bn in the first half of 2021 from US$1.12bn in the same period in 2020. Its sales volumes of clinker and cement rose by 5.7% to 19.2Mt from 18.1Mt. Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 2.1% to US$247m from US$242m. The state-owned cement producer said that sales volumes were supported by growing domestic sales volumes and improving exports. It added that the national cement production capacity utilisation rate had fallen to 56% in 2020 from a high of 82% in 2014 due to new cement plants being built and a drop in domestic demand growth due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

»   » Najran Cement grows sales and profit so far in 2021
Wed, 04 Aug 2021 12:09:09 +0000

Najran Cement grows sales and profit so far in 2021

Saudi Arabia: Najran Cement’s revenue grew by 13.7% year-on-year to US$82.3m in the first half of 2021 from US$74.1m in the same period in 2020. Its net profit after zakat and tax increase by 27.9% to US$24.9m from US$19.5m. It reported lower sales and profit in the second quarter of 2021 due to Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.

»   » Iran to prioritise electricity supply to cement sector
Wed, 04 Aug 2021 12:08:30 +0000

Iran to prioritise electricity supply to cement sector

Iran: Alireza Razm Hosseini, the Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade, says that the government will prioritise electricity supplies to the cement and steel sectors. He admitted that recent power rationing to industrial users had reduced production levels but that demand had not changed, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). The ministry is currently working with the Ministry of Energy to resolve the problem. Cement and steel producers were previously ordered in early July 2021 to stop production for up to three weeks due to insufficient electricity supplies.

»   » Cemex Ventures invests in Carbon Clean
Wed, 04 Aug 2021 12:07:06 +0000

Cemex Ventures invests in Carbon Clean

Mexico/UK: Cemex Ventures has become an investor in Carbon Clean. It joins existing investors Equinor Ventures, ICOS Capital and WAVE Equity Partners. The companies have invested US$8m in Carbon Clean extending its US$22m series B investment round, previously announced in July 2020, to US$30m in total. Cemex’s investment is part of its strategy to achieve its new climate action goals, including being net carbon neutral in concrete by 2050, under its Future in Action programme.

Carbon Clean has developed a modular CO2 capture and separation technology that it calls CycloneCC. As well as reducing the size of installation and construction time, it is aiming to reduce operating expenditures to around US$30/t of CO2 at an industrial scale. In 2020, the subsidiary of Cemex signed an agreement with Carbon Clean, which allowed the companies to outline a roadmap for jointly developing and implementing carbon capture technologies across cement operations.

»   » Turkey leads Cementir’s performance in first half of 2021
Tue, 03 Aug 2021 12:36:46 +0000

Turkey leads Cementir’s performance in first half of 2021

Italy: Cementir’s revenue rose by 16.5% year-on-year to Euro665m in the first half of 2021 from Euro570m in the same period in 2020. Its cement and ready-mixed concrete sales volumes grew by 18.7% to 5.46Mt and 31.4% to 2.52Mm3 respectively. Its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 36.6% to Euro134m from Euro 97.8m. The cement producer noted strong cement sales volumes performance in Turkey, Belgium and Denmark and good concrete sales volumes also in Turkey.

“Despite the first half 2020 [when] results were affected by the lockdown due to Covid-19, during 2021 all the markets in which we operate are showing signs of vivacity and in particular Turkey is recovering significantly," said chairman and chief executive officer Francesco Caltagirone Jr.

»   » Vicat takes dispute with Egyptian state to international arbitration
Tue, 03 Aug 2021 12:35:36 +0000

Vicat takes dispute with Egyptian state to international arbitration

Egypt: France-based Vicat raised a case against the Egyptian government with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in late June 2021. It concerns its cement production business. Reporting by the Qatar-based New Arab newspaper alleges that the cement producer was forced to reduce its shares in its subsidiary Sinai Cement due to a law stopping foreign ownership of companies operating in the Sinai Peninsula on the basis of security grounds. It reports that Vicat has reduced its shares in its subsidiary to 42% from 56% previously.

Vicat confirmed in its financial report for 2020 that it was in the process of taking legal action locally on the matter of foreign ownership in the Sinai region. It added that an investment of around Euro35m in Sinai Cement had been delayed due to administrative approval time. In July 2021, Tamer Magdy, the country manager for Sinai Cement, told local press that Vicat was keen to continue investing in the market.