Items filtered by date: Thursday 06 April 2017
Europe/Croatia: The European Commission has blocked the proposed takeover of Cemex Croatia by HeidelbergCement and Schwenk under the European Union (EU) Merger Regulation. The commission expressed concerns that the takeover would have significantly reduced competition in grey cement markets and increased prices in Croatia. The decision follows an investigation by the commission into the proposed deal where HeidelbergCement and Schwenk, two German cement companies, would acquire Cemex's assets in Croatia via their joint-venture company Duna Dráva Cement (DDC).
"We had clear evidence that this takeover would have led to price increases in Croatia, which could have adversely affected the construction sector. HeidelbergCement and Schwenk failed to offer appropriate remedies to address these concerns. Therefore, the Commission has decided to prohibit the takeover to protect competitive markets for Croatian customers and businesses," said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
The commission found that the takeover would have eliminated competition between companies that were competing directly for the business of Croatian cement customers and could have led to a dominant position in the markets. The combined market shares of the parties would have been around 45 - 50% in the markets and reached more than 70% in parts of the country, notably in Dalmatia. It found that DDC had been pursuing a strategy to increase sales in Croatia, resulting in more competitive prices for Croatian customers in recent years. Allowing the takeover would have reduced this competition. The commission also found that the remaining domestic cement suppliers and importers would not have been able to compete effectively with the new entity due to limited potential for sales expansion and due to being further from potential markets. In addition there are no independent terminals available on the Croatian coast for seaborne imports.
None of the proposed remedies offered by HeidelbergCement and Schwenk satisfied the commission. Options such as a granting access to a cement terminal leased by Cemex Croatia on the Neretva river in Metković in southern Croatia were deemed insufficient and temporary.
Cemex Croatia, the largest cement producer in the country, operates three cement plants, seven concrete plants, two aggregates quarries and a network of maritime and land-based terminals in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro. DDC and HeidelbergCement are the largest cement importers in Croatia.
Cemex Croatia operates three cement plants, seven concrete plants, two aggregates quarries and a network of maritime and land-based terminals in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro. DDC imports grey cement into Croatia from its plants in Hungary and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the closest competing plant to Cemex's plants in Split. HeidelbergCement imports grey cement into Croatia from a plant in Italy.
Votorantim to build lime units at cement plants 06 April 2017
Brazil: Votorantim plans to spend US$50m towards building new plants and adapting its existing cement plants to produce agricultural lime in addition to cement. The cement producer intends to double its market share to 16% by 2021, according to the Valor Econômico newspaper. The focus on the lime business follows a contraction in the construction industry and the growth of agribusiness.
"With the expansion of the agricultural frontier, demand will grow, especially in the Cerrado savannah, where soil need more correction. Experience shows that agricultural lime also helps in the crop productivity," said Laercio Solla, general manager for agriculture at Votorantim.
The company plans to open new quarries and build additional lime units at its existing cement plants. The focus at first will be on the region of Matopiba, which includes Tocantins and parts of Maranhão, Piauí and Bahia. Votorantim will build lime units attached to the cement plants at Nobres in Mato Grosso, Xambioa in Tocantins, Primavera in Pará and Idealiza in Goiás. The lime part of Votorantim’s business will receive most of its minerals from the cement division but also some from Votorantim Metals, the group’s mining division. It will also build two new 0.5Mt/yr lime quarries in Pará and in the Matopiba region.
Lime represents a small part of the company’s business. In 2015 it produced less than 2Mt of agricultural lime compared to 65.8Mt of cement, mortar and aggregates. Agricultural lime production is also expected to be less susceptible to foreign currency exchange rates as its market its mostly domestic.
Eagle Cement to opens third line at Bulacan by 2018 06 April 2017
Philippines: Eagle Cement hopes to open the third production line at its Bulacan cement plant by 2018. The new line will keep the cement producer on track to lead locally in terms of cement production capacity by 2020, according to the BusinessWorld newspaper. The new line will add 2Mt/yr to the plant’s capacity, increasing it to 7.1Mt/yr. Funding for the new line has been completed. Eagle Cement is also planning to start building a new plant at Cebu by the end of 2017. This plant is scheduled to start production in 2020.
Nepal: Arghakhanchi Cement has launched Arghakhanchi MP OPC Cement in new waterproof packaging. The cement producer says that the new packaging will protect the cement from moisture and prevent leakage of cement, according the Kathmandu Post. The new bags are also intended to ensure a standard weight for the product. The company plans to increase its production capacity from its plant at Mainahiya, Rupandehi to 60,000 bags/day from the end of 2017.
China: A new special economic development zone in the north of Hebei province is expected to significantly boost demand for cement in the region. President Xi Jinping announced that that the new development named Xiongan New Area would be built southwest of Beijing, according to the ET Net News Agency. The development will be on the same scale as Shenzhen and Shanghai Pudong. Using these previous projects as a benchmark HSBC Global Research estimated that Shanghai Pudong uses around 6Mt/yr and that the region had used 133Mt since its creation in the early 1990s.
BBMG’s shares spiked following the announcement. The largest cement producer in the Beijing-Tianjing-Hebei area is widely expected to benefit from the project. After its restructuring with Jidong Cement it will hold 57% of cement production capacity in the region.