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Cement News

»   » Update on Brazil – 2019
Wed, 16 Oct 2019 12:59:24 +0000

SNIC, the Brazilian national cement industry union, was being cautious this week but signs of improvement were there. Its cement sales data showed a 3% year-on-year rise to 40.5Mt for the first nine months of 2019 from 39.4Mt in the same period in 2018. SNIC President Paulo Camillo Penna was keen to pour cold water over the figures with a reminder that the truck driver’s strike and an economic slowdown in 2018 had unnaturally depressed industry sales. He didn’t want to ruin the party too much though. Comments followed about a National Confederation of Industry (CNI) survey forecasting growth for the next six months and market research supporting growing residential construction.

 GCW427 Graph 1

Graph 1: Cement sales in Brazil for Q1 – 3, 2014 – 2019. Source: SNIC.

As Graph 1 above shows the local industry has been through the wringer in recent years. Cement sales peaked in 2014 before the national economy was hit by falling commodity and oil prices that contributed to a recession as well as the Petrobras political crisis. At the start of 2017 Camillo Penna described the situation as the worst in the industry’s history. From the peak to the trough cement sales plummeted by 27%.

Camillo Penna’s caution now may have something to do with his previous prediction that the industry was going to recover from the second half of 2018. The sales may not have perked up but merger and acquisition activity did, with the European multinationals Buzzi Unicem and Vicat buying stakes in BCPAR (Grupo Ricardo Brennand) and Cimento Planalto (Ciplan) respectively. So far in 2019 it has been quietly optimistic but not without the odd hiccup. There have been a few new plant project announcements from Brennand Group, Votorantim and CSN Cimentos. Yet, InterCement converted its integrated Pedro Leopoldo plant in Minas Gerais to a terminal. Cimento Tupi reportedly ran into trouble with its investors when it tried to merge with its parent company following defaulting on loan payments in 2018. Notably, the country’s two cement associations also released a Cement Technology Roadmap to 2050 in April 2019. It plans to reduce specific CO2 emissions by over 30% from 2014 to 375kg CO2/t of cement in 2050 amongst other ambitions.

On the corporate side, Votorantim’s domestic sales rose by 3% year-on-year to US$771m in the first half of 2019 from US$745m in the same period in 2018. It attributed the growth to improved prices. Other news of note included the acquisition of a mortar plant in Belém, Pará state and plans to upgrade its clinker grinding unit at Pecém in Ceará. InterCement’s cement and clinker sales volumes rose by 6.8% to 4.04Mt from 3.78Mt. It declared that this was way ahead of the industry average of 1.5%. Sales revenue fell slightly, possibly due to high production overcapacity and competition on prices. Earnings were also reported as having improved in the second quarter partly due to a ‘significant’ reduction in its cost structure.

On the supplier side, refractory manufacturer RHI Magnesita reported that its margin recovery was ‘going quite well’ in Brazil during the first half of 2019. Stefan Borgas, RHI Magnesita’s chief executive officer (CEO) forecast that the margin in that country would help drive its business in the second half of 2019 and that the business was returning to the global average. RHI Magnesita also announced a Euro57.1m upgrade to its plant at Contagem, Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais this week, including building a new regional headquarters for its South American business.

Everything seems to be coming together slowly for Brazil’s cement industry. Yet Camillo Penna and SNIC are right to be careful for another reason. The United Nations (UN) and various analysts are warning about the growing risk of global recession in 2020 based on indicators like the US yield curve. This could be especially devastating for an economy like Brazil’s that is heavily dependent on commodity markets. History may not repeat itself but the strength of that recovery may be tested sooner than anyone would like.

»   » Sharjah Cement elects Othman Mohammed Sharif Abdullah its chairman
Wed, 16 Oct 2019 12:19:58 +0000

UAE: The board of Sharjah Cement and Industrial Development elected Othman Mohammed Sharif Abdullah as its new chairman at a meeting on 12 October 2019. Mubasher has reported that the company, which is based in the UAE, and also listed in Kuwait, also appointed Salah Abdulla Al Noman to its board.

»   » Shanshui Cement grows nine-month profit by 46.6% to US$352m
Wed, 16 Oct 2019 12:16:16 +0000

Shanshui Cement grows nine-month profit by 46.6% to US$352m

China: Shanshui Cement ended the nine months to September 2019 with a net profit of US$352m, up by 46.6% year-on-year from US$221m in the corresponding period of 2018. Revenue increased by 28.5% to US$2.3bn from US$1.8bn.

»   » Production increases by 4% to 2.6Mt for Siberian Cement
Wed, 16 Oct 2019 12:12:58 +0000

Production increases by 4% to 2.6Mt for Siberian Cement

Russia: Siberian Cement has reported a 4% year-on-year rise in its cement volumes in the nine months to 30 September 2019 to 2.6Mt from 2.5Mt in the corresponding three quarters of 2018. Of its three production lines, output fell at its Krasnoyarsk Cement and Volna plants by 9% and 14% respectively. 324,000t of cement was produced at its Timlyuisk cement plant over the period, a 21% increase on the 2018 figure of 268,000t.

»   » Eurocement subsidiary Mordovcement increases rail shipping
Wed, 16 Oct 2019 12:10:13 +0000

Eurocement subsidiary Mordovcement increases rail shipping

Russia: Mordovcement, the Mordvinian-based subsidiary of Eurocement, shipped a total of 2.3Mt of cement by rail in the nine months to 30 September 2019, representing an increase of 31%. In July 2019, the company says it set a Russian record for number of carriages filled with cement in a single shipment, with 210 carriages. Russian Railways recognised the company’s high shipping volumes with a formal expression of thanks for “ensuring high rates of growth in freight traffic” at a Russian Railways Company Day celebration ceremony.

»   » PPC-commissioned study shows deficiency of cements on South African market
Wed, 16 Oct 2019 12:04:28 +0000

PPC-commissioned study shows deficiency of cements on South African market

South Africa: Research carried out by Beton-Lab on the instigation off PPC has revealed a widespread flouting of cement quality regulations, with the majority of samples overweight or underweight and of inconsistent quality. Beton-Lab tested 14 products from 10 different producers. Cape Times has suggested that the results are due to the addition of fly ash and slag to finished cement as a common practice amongst producers.

In August 2019, PPC and other South African producers lobbied the government International Trade Administration Commission for a tightening of cement standards in response to a perceived compromise on quality by importers, whose 4.6% stake in the market grew by 293% year-on-year in July 2019.

»   » RHI Magnesita to invest Euro57.1m in new refractory plant
Wed, 16 Oct 2019 11:58:44 +0000

RHI Magnesita to invest Euro57.1m in new refractory plant

Brazil: RHI Magnesita is planning a Euro57.1m upgrade to its Contagem complex in Minas Gerais, to include a new plant and 15,000m2 of office space. Francisco Carrara, president of RHI Magnesita South America, emphasised the importance of the Brazilian cement sector to the company, with operations in the country “representing 75% of Magnesita’s activities on the continent.”

»   » Panama scales down cement production as imports hit high
Tue, 15 Oct 2019 11:09:40 +0000

Panama scales down cement production as imports hit high

Panama: 0.87Mt of domestically produced cement was sold in Panama in the six months to 31 July 2019, corresponding to a drop in production of 12.8% compared to the same period of 2018. Figures released by the treasury office showed total cement imports at a high of 85,600t; 10% of domestic consumption.

»   » New ownership enters Athi River Mining Cement plant
Tue, 15 Oct 2019 11:07:40 +0000

New ownership enters Athi River Mining Cement plant

Kenya: The new owners of Athi River Mining Cement entered the company’s 0.7Mt/yr integrated Kaloleni cement plant on 14 October 2019. The Standard has reported that Narendra Raval, chairman of Devki Group, which also owns National Cement, was held up for some time at the entrance, because security guards had not received orders to let him in. Raval spoke to employees, promising that all 1100 would keep their jobs following completion of the takeover, whereupon all salaries would be harmonised with those of their National Cement colleagues.

»   » Al Tasnim Cement Products opens Duqm ready-mix concrete plant
Tue, 15 Oct 2019 11:03:49 +0000

Al Tasnim Cement Products opens Duqm ready-mix concrete plant

Oman: Al Tasnim Cement Products has opened a 425m3/hr ready-mix concrete plant in Duqm’s Special Economic Zone. Arab Finance has reported that four batching plants will supply cement to the facility; one on-site and three elsewhere in Duqm.