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Cement News

»   » Taiwan Cement purchases two bulk carriers with option for a third
Thu, 19 Sep 2019 10:35:00 +0000

Taiwan Cement purchases two bulk carriers with option for a third

China: Taiwan Cement has published information on behalf of its shipping subsidiary Ta-Ho Maritime concerning the latter’s purchase of two 84,000t capacity bulk carrier vessels at a price not exceeding US$70m from Japan-based shipbuilder Sumitomo. The deal contains an option to purchase a third unit for not more than US$35m, to be exercised before 30 September 2019.

»   » Metso exercises its acquisition option to take over Shaorui Heavy Industries
Thu, 19 Sep 2019 10:29:20 +0000

Metso exercises its acquisition option to take over Shaorui Heavy Industries

China/Finland: Metso Corporation has announced that it will complete its takeover of Shaorui Heavy Industries with the exercise of its call option over 25% of shares. Markku Simula, President of the Aggregates Equipment division of Metso, has expressed the company’s high expectations of Shaorui, one of China’s ‘leading mid-market crushing and screening equipment producers.’ The purchase will be completed in late 2019.

»   » ABB’s new generation interface advances process control
Thu, 19 Sep 2019 10:27:13 +0000

ABB’s new generation interface advances process control

Switzerland: Minerals process control innovator ABB has unveiled new visual control graphics for its Ability System 800xA, which is installed at 450 cement and mining sites worldwide. The platform, called 800xA 6.1, is compatible with other existing ABB and external vendor subsystems.

“As the main interface between humans and the production site, visualisation is critical,” said Michael Marending, lead engineer at ABB. The upgrade allows for extensive customisation for tailored presentation including navigation shortcuts, and features a specially designed alarm system.

»   » Update on Kenya
Wed, 18 Sep 2019 11:08:57 +0000

Pradeep Paunrana’s latest attempt to wrest back control of ARM Cement was dismissed this week in Kenya. Administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers rejected a US$12.5m guarantee to stop the sale to a rival, according to Business Daily newspaper. Paunrana, the former managing director and majority shareholder of ARM Cement, had teamed up with Rai Group to thwart a rival bid for his company from National Cement.

The guarantee was a 20% portion of a full bid of US$63m by Paunrana and Rai Group but the administrators rejected it on the grounds that it had a nine-month time limit. They were reportedly concerned that legal proceedings over ownership of the cement producer could last beyond this. A deal to sell ARM Cement to National Cement for US$50m was agreed in May 2019. However, Paunrana fought back and the courts are expected to deliberate over the issue for some time.

ARM Cement entered administration in August 2018 following a growing loss in 2017 and poor markets in Kenya and Tanzania. At the time the cement producer blamed its poor performance on elections in Kenya causing reduced cement demand, a coal import ban in Tanzania causing production issues at its Tanga cement plant and increased competition in both countries.

The implications of National Cement actually succeeding in its bid for ARM Cement would mean a realignment of the local industry. LafargeHolcim’s subsidiary Bamburi Cement leads the sector by production capacity and market share. It operates one integrated and one grinding plant. Mombassa Cement and then a variety of smaller companies, trail it.

The Devki Group-backed National Cement has steadily been expanding in recent years. In April 2018 it was announced that the International Finance Corporation (IFC) was going to invest US$96m in National Cement and that Devki Group chairman Narendra Raval was going to commit a similar sum towards a new integrated line in Kenya and two new grinding plants in Kenya and Tanzania. More recently it acquired the long-running Cemtech plant project in West Pokot, along with its mineral deposits and licences. If it were able to successfully buy ARM Cement it would become Kenya’s second largest cement producer by market share.

ARM Cement is not the only Kenyan cement producer facing these kinds of problems. The Kenyan government is the majority shareholder East Africa Portland Cement Company (EAPCC) and it has been working on a rescue package for it since early 2019. The local market had similarly negatively affected the EAPCC’s financial performance and it has been attempting to cut its debts. In its case, it has been trying to sell land to pay off its debts but it has faced disputes with local residents. It has also tried reducing its workforce, with varying degrees of success. Its integrated plant at Athi River near Nairobi was reported to be operating at a 50% capacity utilisation rate in late 2018.

 Table 1: Cement production in Kenya, 2015 – 2019. Source: Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

Table 1: Cement production in Kenya, 2015 – 2019. Source: Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

Overall cement production in Kenya peaked at 6.7Mt in 2016 and has fallen since. It fell by 2.8% year-on-year to 2.9Mt in the first half of 2019 from 3Mt in the same period in 2018. Consumption fell by a similar amount to production in the first quarter of 2019. Analysts like Knight Frank have blamed this on a slowdown in the real estate market, although it holds up hope for government house building scheme to rescue the situation.

In this kind of market it is understandable that the cement market is rationalising. The World Bank has forecast gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.8% in 2019 and better in the years ahead. Whoever is left in the cement business once the corporate dust settles stands to benefit.

»   » Iran discloses steady cement and clinker export drop against rising production
Wed, 18 Sep 2019 10:48:56 +0000

Iran discloses steady cement and clinker export drop against rising production

Iran: Iran increased its cement production in the five months to 22 August 2019 to 23.1Mt, a 4.8% increase from 22.1Mt in the same period of 2018. In spite of this, the country’s cement exports in these first five months of the Iranian year fell by 17% to 5.48Mt from 6.60Mt. Clinker exports fell by under 2%. Though still the World’s number 10 cement producer, demand for Iran’s cement is hampered by US trade sanctions. This has led the country to seek to improve sales in neighbouring countries, such as Afghanistan.

»   » LafargeHolcim announces Euro145m investment in CO2 efficiency improvement
Wed, 18 Sep 2019 10:46:58 +0000

LafargeHolcim announces Euro145m investment in CO2 efficiency improvement

Switzerland: LafargeHolcim has revealed a Euro145m investment plan to reduce its CO2 emissions in Europe by 3Mt/yr, equivalent to 15% of its carbon footprint, by 2022. The investment will target advanced equipment and technology to increase the use of low-carbon fuels and materials.

»   » Quinn Industrial Holdings Director Kevin Lunny found badly beaten after abduction
Wed, 18 Sep 2019 10:44:00 +0000

Quinn Industrial Holdings Director Kevin Lunny found badly beaten after abduction

Ireland: Kevin Lunny, chief operating officer of Quinn Industrial Holdings, has suffered ‘very severe but non-life-threatening injuries,’ including facial injuries and broken leg, following his abduction from outside his home at 18:40pm on 17 September 2019. The UK-based company, whose Fermanagh/Cavan cement plant spans the UK-Irish border, has called on police on either side of the border to bring an end to the violence against its employees. In February 2019, a masked man attacked two Quinn Industrial Holdings executives at a Ballyconnell service station. Police have opened an investigation into the attack against Lunny.

»   » Holcim Ecuador’s Agrovial and Base Vial cements certified carbon neutral
Wed, 18 Sep 2019 10:41:26 +0000

Holcim Ecuador’s Agrovial and Base Vial cements certified carbon neutral

Ecuador: Sambito, the Ecuadorian environmental consultant, has endorsed the certification of two LafargeHolcim cement products as carbon neutral. Metro Ecuador has reported that both Agrovial and Base Vial, prepared at low heats for foundations and roads respectively, have 54% lower emissions than ‘traditional’ cement. Carbon neutrality was achieved by Holcim Ecuador’s ownership of the 6078 hectare Cerro Blanco Protected Forest, 2175 hectares of which suffices to offset the emissions from production of both products.

»   » Oficem appoints new president
Wed, 18 Sep 2019 10:13:31 +0000

Spain: The Association of Spanish Cement Producers (Oficem) has elected Víctor García Brosa its president. García Brosa is deputy general director of Cementos Portland Valderrivas (CPV). He was chief executive officer (CEO) at the company from 2015 to 2019. He joined CPV’s strategic planning department in 2005. He now faces the challenge of keeping the Spanish cement sector competitive globally, in addition to being director of multiple companies.

Energy costs for Spanish producers are 20 - 30% higher than in Germany and France. García Brosa has stated that he sees EU carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rules not as an additional cost, but a challenge to the industry to reconcile its activities with its environment. Domestic cement consumption has fallen by 80% since 2007.

»   » Barathi Cement commissions solar energy plant at Kadapa cement plant
Tue, 17 Sep 2019 11:09:52 +0000

Barathi Cement commissions solar energy plant at Kadapa cement plant

India: Barathi Cement has commissioned a 10MW solar power station at its 5.0Mt/yr integrated Barathi Cement Plant. The Hindu Times has reported that the facility, which spans 16.6 hectares, will partially replace combustion-derived electricity sources at the plant.