Top Egypt cement firm plans ME expansion
Cairo, January 29, 2010
Egypt's Asec Cement wants to capitalise on the growth of housing and infrastructure demand in the region by more than doubling the cement production it controls by 2013, its chief executive said.
ASEC, a subsidiary of Cairo-based Citadel Capital, has stakes in cement plants in Algeria, Sudan, Syria, Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region and Ethiopia, and sees the Middle East as a promising market to develop.
It is completing projects in Sudan and Algeria and by March it will start building its first greenfield cement factory in Egypt, which it expects to be operational by 2012.
'This is a region characterised by a very significant process of growth, particularly in this sector and still a lot is needed to meet demand for residential housing and infrastructure,' Giorgio Bodo, chief executive officer and chairman, told Reuters in an interview.
Lower production costs, high demand and the proximity to overseas markets make the region an ideal platform for cement industry growth, he said.
ASEC, which hopes to achieve its goals by building several plants and acquiring a number of companies in the region, has stakes in Misr Cement Qena in Egypt and Zahana Cement in Algeria.
ASEC subsidiary al-Arabiya al-Wataniya (ANCC) will start construction on the 1.6 million tonne-per-year grey cement greenfield plant in the southern province of Minya, Bodo said.
ANCC, which will have capital of $155 million, received one of six cement licences awarded by Egypt in October 2007 to boost production after domestic prices increased.
The government threatened late last year to take ANCC's licence away because of start-up delays.
Minya's plentiful raw materials and proximity to most routes make it a desired location, Bodo added.-Reuters