Displaying items by tag: Dangote
Kenya: Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics report that cement exports dropped in value to US$7.6m in 2016 from US$25.6m in 2015. Cement producers have blamed declining volumes on cheap imports, according to the East African newspaper. The opening of a cement plant by Dangote Cement in Tanzania has also contributed to the decline, forcing companies to cut their prices.
Senegal: The government of Senegal has introduced a tax of US$4.84/t of cement with effect from 2 January 2017. The tariff will apply to cement from the country’s three cement plants run by Ciments du Sahel, Sococim and Dangote, according to the Quotidien newspaper. Vendors are expected to pass the cost onto consumers with higher prices.
Cement production rose by 10% year-on-year to 5.15Mt in the first 10 months of 2016 from 4.68Mt in the same period in 2015 at the Ciments du Sahel and Sococim plants, according to data from the Directorate of Forecasting and Economic Studies (DPEE), reported upon by the African Press Agency. The increase has been attributed to a 25% surge in exports, although local sales have also risen slightly.
This week the US Portland Cement Association (PCA) revised down its forecast for the rise in cement consumption in 2016 to 2.7% from 4%. It also lowered its prediction for 2017, blaming political uncertainty around the presidential election, inflation and slower construction activity. Global Cement Magazine editorial director Robert McCaffrey pointed out on LinkedIn that he was surprised by the revision down in 2017 given the rhetoric by president-elect Donald Trump to invest in large infrastructure projects.
Clearly the PCA is playing it cautious as a politically unknown entity, Trump, slides from campaign trail promises to executive power delivery. Backing them up are the latest figures from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) that show that both cement production and shipments fell slightly in the third quarter of 2016. In the quarter before the election in November 2016 the cement market slowed down. The hard bit is working out why. As we pointed out in a review of the US cement industry in the May 2016 issue of Global Cement Magazine the PCA had previously downgraded its forecast in 2016 due to economic uncertainty despite strong fundamentals for the construction industry. Then, as now, the great hope for the US cement industry was infrastructure spending down the pipeline, at that time the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act. At this point it doesn’t seem to have had much of an effect.
Industrial and economic forecasters aren’t the only ones who have a hard time of it in 2016. Political pollsters have also been caught out. Surprises came from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union and the election of Trump. Neither result was widely expected in the media. As explained above, should Trump make good on his building plans then if any cement company based its plans on a forecast dependent on a Hilary Clinton win then it may have lost money.
The power of forecasts has even greater potential effects in developing markets where the corresponding financial risks and rewards are higher. After all, why would any cement company invest tens of millions of US dollars for a cement grinding plant or hundreds of millions for an integrated plant unless there was some whiff of a return on investment?
This then leads to the problems Dangote has reportedly been having with its plant in Tanzania. Amidst a flurry of local media speculation in late November 2016 about why its Mtwara plant had a temporary production shutdown, Dangote’s country chief clarified that it was due to technical problems. It then emerged this week that Dangote’s owner Aliko Dangote met with President John Magufuli to agree a gas supply agreement to the plant. The point here being that even if the market conditions and demographics seems conducive to profit, as is the case in Tanzania, if the local government changes any incentives agreed at the planning stage then everything can change. At this point forecasts based on data become moot.
There’s a great quote from the US pollster Nate Silver that goes, “The key to making a good forecast is not in limiting yourself to quantitative information.” In terms of election campaigns run at a time of upheaval that might mean listening to people more than looking at polling data. In terms of a cement company operating in Africa that might mean fostering links with the local government to ensure no sudden policy changes catch you off-guard. And in the US that might just mean cement company analysts have to follow Donald Trump’s Twitter account.
Tanzania: Nigeria’s Dangote Cement has struck a deal with the government-run Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) to supply gas to its cement plant. Company chairman Aliko Dangote met with President John Magufuli on 10 December 2016 to negotiate the agreement, according to Reuters. The agreement follows a dispute between Dangote and the TPDC over the price of gas. Magufuli said that Dangote could now buy gas directly from TPDC. No price details were released. In late November 2016 Dangote’s representative in the country denied that a stoppage at its plant was related to high production costs.
Tanzania: Minister for Industries, Trade and Investments Charles Mwijage has confirmed that the government’s investment arrangement with Dangote Cement that were granted by former President Jakaya Kikwete's administration are still in place. He said that the government would do nothing to compromise Dangote Cement’s investment in the country and described its entry as a ‘game changer’ by reducing the price of cement, according to the Citizen newspaper. The comments were made in response to media speculation regarding a production shutdown at cement producer’s Mtwara plant.
Mwijage said that Dangote Cement could cut its production costs by using local coal or gas. The Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation has been in negotiations since October 2016 to supply gas to the cement producer. He also added that another cement producer, Engro, is considering building a cement plant and that the government is willing to offer it the same incentives as those given to Dangote Cement.
Tanzania: Dangote Cement has clarified that a temporary production shutdown at its Mtwara plant has been made due to technical problems. Country chief executive officer Harpreet Duggal made the announcement in response to claims that the stoppage was due to high production costs in the country, according to the Tanzania Daily News newspaper. The plant is expected to resume production in a few days.
Duggal described operating costs in Tanzania as ‘high’ due to the producer’s dependence on diesel generators. He also cited high transport costs due to the plant’s distance from its key markets.
Ghana: Dangote Cement has defended its conduct against accusations of tax evasion, dumping and other unfair trade practices by local cement producers. Tor Nygard, managing director of Dangote Cement Ghana, defended the Nigerian company at a press conference in Tema saying that the company's entry into the local market had stabilised the price of cement and strengthened competition, according to the Business and Financial Times newspaper. He also described the attacks by market competitors as ‘smear tactics.’
The Cement Manufacturers Association of Ghana (CMAG), representing local cement producers such as Ghacem and Diamond Cement, lobbied the Ghanaian government in October 2016 calling for a ban on imports of cement.
Nygard dismissed accusations of dumping cement in Ghana from Nigeria and confirmed that the company pays all the relevant taxes on its imports. He added that Ghacem and Diamond Cement employ 3000 workers after 55 years of operation but that Dangote Cement employs 2000 workers in the country after only six years of operation. Finally, he detailed plans for the company’s new US$100m cement grinding plant in Takoradi that is due to be commissioned at the end of 2017.
Nigeria: Dangote Cement’s pre-tax profit has fallen by 10.9% year-on-year to US$466m in the first nine months of 2016 from US$523m in the same period in 2015. Its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBTIDA) fell by 16.3% to US$559m from US$667m. However, sales revenue rose by 20.9% to US$1.38bn from US$1.14bn. It blamed the drop in profitability on falling prices in Nigeria, negative currency effects and on rising fuel and power costs.
“Nigeria has achieved record volume growth and our non-Nigerian operations are performing well across Africa. Our switch to coal in Nigeria will have an immediate impact on margins now that we have abandoned the use of low pour fuel oil (LPFO), improving fuel security and reducing the need for foreign currency. Furthermore, our new pricing will offset the impact on costs of the devalued Naira,” said the chief executive officer, Onne van der Weijde. He added his company’s strong performance in sales had been hit by poor economies in the countries it operates in and by heavy seasonal rains in West Africa.
The producer reported that its sales volumes of cement sold grew by 28.1% to 11.9Mt in Nigeria and by 72.9% to 6.5Mt elsewhere in Africa. Sales outside of Nigeria were bolstered by production ramp-up in Ethiopia and Zambia, new operations in Tanzania and improved sales in Ghana. Plants in the Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone are due to become operational in mid-November 2016.
Ghanaian Ministry of Trade and Industry responds to Cement Manufacturers Association call to halt imports20 October 2016
Ghana: The Ministry of Trade and Industry has responded to calls by the Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA) that it stop imports of cement by saying that the CMA has misrepresented the role of the Cement Monitoring Committee (CMC) and the process of the licensing regime. The CMA took exception to the issuance of permits by the ministry to three foreign cement producers given that they say the country has a surplus of cement, according to the Ghanaian Chronicle newspaper.
In a statement the Ministry of Trade said no authority or mandate has been given to the CMC to instruct or direct the Minister on which firms should be awarded a license and what that company's specific annual imports should be. It added that the CMC's role is intended to give the ministry and all stakeholders access to relevant information and data for the effective implementation of the relevant legislation. It said that the law does not place a ban on imported cement but rather provides a mechanism, rules and procedures for controlling imports.
It went on to explain that the major reason for granting China’s Fujian Cement a licence to import cement into Ghana was because it was building a cement plant in the country and that the company was attempting to establish itself in the market ahead of local production. Fujian Cement originally asked the ministry to import 1.5Mt/yr of cement into the country but this was restricted to 0.5Mt/yr. The ministry also reinforced that it had not granted any import licenses to Dangote Cement and Sol Cement, the companies accused by the CMA of importing cement.
Nigeria: A Federal High Court in Lagos has adjourned legal action by Dangote Cement against Ibeto Cement until 1 November 2016 pending a decision of the Court of Appeal. Dangote Cement is alleging that Ibeto Cement evaded paying taxes on imports of cement to give itself a ‘unfair’ advantage in 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to the National Mirror Newspaper. It is also seeking an injunction against the Ibeto Cement and other defendants in the case from importing cement into the country unless approved by the appropriate authority under the current tax rules.
However, the Federal Government is alleging that Dangote Cement is attempting to minimise its competition. Other defendants in the case also include: IBG Investments Limited, Derima Venture Limited, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Attorney General of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Finance, the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, the Board of Customs and Excise, the Federal Inland Revenue Services and the Nigerian Port Authority.