Displaying items by tag: Pakistan
Pakistan: Arif Habib Group plans to spend US$235m on upgrading its Power Cement plant in Nooriabad to 3.37Mt/yr from 0.9Mt/yr. The upgrade will be completed by the end of 2019, according to the Express Tribune newspaper. Company chairman Nasim Beg said that he was hoping to take advantage of growing cement demand in the country as the effects of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor heighten.
Power Cement has also completed a US$3.4m upgrade to its filter bag house equipment by installing new equipment to reduce dust emissions. Company officials say the plant is now capable of reducing dust emissions to just 17mg/m3. This is below the 300mg/m3 level set by the Environment Quality Standards in Pakistan and the World Bank’s limit of 100mg/m3 for old cement plants.
Pakistan: Maple Leaf Cement has ordered a 7300t/day cement production line from FLSmidth. The plant will be located in Iskanderabad in the Mianwali District. The order has been placed at above Euro75m and it will be completed by the end of 2018.
The order will include an ATOX 52.5 vertical mill for raw grinding, an ATOX 27.5 vertical mill for coal grinding, an EV 200x300 Hammer Impact Crusher, stacker and reclaimer systems for storage, a ROTAX-2 rotary kiln with low NOx ILC calciner, a FLSmidth Cross-Bar cooler, a JETFLEX burner and two OK 39-4 vertical mills for cement grinding.
"This is the latest project to underline FLSmidth's strength as the leading supplier of the most productive and energy-efficient equipment and technology - and our position as the preferred supplier of complete production lines to the Pakistani cement industry," said FLSmidth’s Group Executive Vice President, Cement Division, Per Mejnert Kristensen.
The All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) struck a triumphant note this week as it announced that its industry has over 26Mt/yr of capacity upgrades in the pipeline. Its chairman Sayeed Saigol concluded in a press release that the country’s growth trend required ‘massive’ investment and that its producers were working on it.
Graph 1 – Local and export cement despatches in Pakistan, 2008 – 2016. Data source: APCMA.
Graph 1 shows how the local industry has changed since 2009. At this time exports hit a high of over 11Mt, constituting 34% of all cement despatches at the time. Since then though exports have fallen to below 6Mt or 14% of despatches, as local despatches have started to increase. Although local despatches have risen each year, the growth rate was below 1% in 2011. In 2016 it was over 14%.
Much has changed since 2010. At this time production capacity hit a high of 45Mt/yr in the 2009 – 2010 Pakistan financial year, according to APCMA data, but then utilisation sunk to below 73%, its lowest rate in over a decade. Pakistan’s cement producers sought a way out by exporting their cement. Export volumes subsequently exploded to a high of nearly 11Mt in 2008 – 2009 from next to nothing at the turn of the millennium.
The effects of this had particular repercussions in eastern and southern Africa as local producers suffered against seaborne imports. In 2012 the outgoing chief of South Africa’s PPC summarised the problem by saying that imports were not a threat to African expansion, provided that a cement plant was not built within 200km of a port. Rightly or wrongly cement from Pakistan was vilified by the African press and then legislated against. South Africa even implementing anti-dumping duties to howls of derision from Pakistan.
Funnily enough though the APCMA has recommended that Pakistan’s government do exactly the same thing against imports of cement from Iran. Industry scare stories about Iranian cement being sold illegally in Pakistan have circulated since at least 2012. Iran’s nuclear deal in 2015 must have worried the local industry, as the prize for Iran was the lifting of international sanctions making it easier for one of the world’s largest cement producers to start exporting its product. However, president-elect Trump’s disdain for the Iran deal may put those worries to rest if the deal is ‘cancelled’.
Back to the present, the Pakistan cement industry appears to be booming. One motor is the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor, a collection of infrastructure projects worth US$54bn. There is some disagreement at this point about how the usage levels of cement breakdown, with the chief executive of Thatta Cement placing it at 60% for infrastructure and 40% for housing but with other commentators placing it at 70% for housing and 30% for infrastructure. If the latter is true then Pakistan’s cement producers may receive an even bigger payday. The emphasis on housing shouldn’t be underestimated though as the country’s production capacity per capita, below 200kg/capita, is low by international standards. Either way, things are looking good for the local producers.
Pakistan: The All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association expects local cement sales to grow by 26 – 28Mt by 2020. It made the forecast as part of a six- month review of the industry. Chairman Sayeed Saigol said that local sales grew by 8.6% year-on-year to 19.8Mt in the first half of the country’s financial year to 30 June 2017 from 18.2Mt in the same period in the previous period. Based on current growth trends he added that the industry would need to increase its production capacity. To this end it is increasing capacity to 72.3Mt/yr from the current capacity of 46Mt/yr.
Despite the anticipated growth in cement sales Saigol defended import duties to the countries on the grounds that the government benefits from taxation of the local industry. He has also urged the government to support the industry by placing an anti-dumping duty on Iranian cement. Exports of cement fell by 3.5% year-on-year to 2.91Mt from 3.02Mt with a particular fall in exports to Afghanistan.
Pakistan: Lucky Cement says that all of cement plants in Pakistan are operating as normal. The plants are not facing any unscheduled shutdown and sales and cement dispatches are progressing as per the company’s regular routine.
The cement producer made its comments in response to a news story in the Nation newspaper alleging that a district authority had shut down Lucky Cement’s Pezu plant near Darru Pezu in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in early January 2017 due to breaches of environmental regulations.
Amendment: This story was amended following comment from Lucky Cement.
Pakistan: Bestway Cement says it is considering making a bid for Dewan Cement's north plant and related assets. It joins Lucky Cement, Fecto Cement, Kohat Cement and a Chinese company in expressing interest in Dewan Cement, according to the News International newspaper. Bestway added that the final outcome will depend on due diligence and the bidding process.
HeidelbergCement buys Italcementi
Undeniably the big story of the year, HeidelbergCement has gradually acquired Italcementi throughout 2016. Notably, unlike the merger of Lafarge and Holcim, the cement producer has not held a party to mark the occasion. Instead each major step of the process has been reported upon incrementally in press releases and other sources throughout the year. The enlarged HeidelbergCement appears to be in a better market position than LafargeHolcim but it will be watched carefully in 2017 for signs of weakness.
LafargeHolcim faces accusations over conduct in Syria
The general theme for LafargeHolcim in 2016 has been one of divestments to shore up its balance sheet. However, one news story could potentially sum up its decline for the wider public. In June 2016 French newspaper Le Monde alleged that Lafarge had struck deals with armed groups in Syria, including so-called Islamic State (IS), to protect its assets in 2013 and 2014. LafargeHolcim didn’t deny the claims directly in June. Then in response to a legal challenge on the issue mounted in November 2016 its language tightened to statements condoning terrorism whilst still allowing some wriggle room. As almost all of the international groups in Syria are opposed to IS, should these allegations prove to be true it will not look good for the world’s largest cement producer.
China and India balance sector restructuring with production growth
Both China and India seem to have turned a corner in 2016 with growing cement production and a generally more upbeat feeling for the industries. Both have also seen some high profile consolidations or mergers underway which will hopefully cut inefficiencies. China’s focus on its ‘One Belt, One Road’ appears to be delivering foreign contracts as CBMI’s recent flurry of orders in Africa attests although Sinoma’s equipment arm was losing money in the first half of 2016. Meanwhile, India may have damaged its own growth in the short term through its demonetisation policy to take high value Indian rupee currency notes out of circulation. In November 2016 cement demand was believed to have dropped by up to half as the real estate sector struggled to adapt. The pain is anticipated to carry on until the end of March 2017.
US industry growth stuck in the slow lane
The US cement industry has failed to take off yet again in 2016 with growth lagging below 5%. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has reported that clinker production has risen by 1% in the first ten months of 2016 and that it fell in the third quarter of the year. In response, the Portland Cement Association (PCA) lowered its forecasts for both 2016 and 2017. One unknown here has been the election of President-elect Donald Trump and the uncertainty over what his policies might bring. If he ‘goes large,’ as he said he wants to, on infrastructure then the cement industry will benefit. Yet, knock-on effects from other potential policies like restricting migrant labour might have unpredictable consequences upon the general construction industry.
African expansion follows the money
International cement producers have prospered at the expense of local ones in 2016. The big shock this year was when Nigeria’s Dangote announced that it was scaling back its expansion plans in response to problems in Nigeria principally with the devaluation of the Naira. Since then it has also faced local problems in Ghana, Ethiopia and Tanzania. Its sub-Saharan competitor PPC has also had problems too. By contrast, foreign investors from outside the continent, led by China, have scented opportunity and opened their wallets.
Changes in store for the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme
A late entry to this roundup is the proposed amendment to the European Union (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). This may entail the introduction of a Border Adjustment Measure (BAM) with the loss of free allowances for the cement sector in Phase IV. Cembureau, the European Cement Association, has slammed the changes as ‘discriminatory’ and raised concerns over how this would affect competitiveness. In opposition the environmental campaign group Sandbag has defended the changes as ones that could put a stop to the ‘cement sector’s windfall profits from the ETS.’
High growth shifts to Philippines and other territories
Indonesia may be lurching towards production overcapacity, but fear not, the Philippines have arrived on the scene to provide high double-digit growth on the back of the Duterte Infrastructure Plan. The Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CEMAP) has said that cement sales have risen by 10.1% year-on-year to 20.1Mt in the first three quarters of 2016 and lots of new plants and upgrade projects are underway. The other place drawing attention in the second half of the year has been Pakistan with cement sales jumping in response to projects being built by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Global Cement Weekly will return on 4 January 2016
Pakistan: Thatta Cement has appointed Muhammad Taha Hamdani as a director with effect from 16 December 2016. He replaces Wazir Ali Khoja. Hamdani has worked for Thatta Cement as its Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary since 2011. Previously to this he has worked for a variety of companies in financial and auditing positions.
Pakistan: Sinoma Energy Conservation Company has signed an agreement with Fauji Cement to install a 7.6MW waste heat recovery (WHR) plant. The agreement was signed by Sardar Mahmood Ali Khan, Director-General of Fauji Cement and officials of Sinoma in Rawalpindi, according to the Nation newspaper. The power plant will be installed by the end of the first quarter of 2018. Once the project is complete the cement producer will be able to produce 80% of electricity requirements from captive sources. Previously Fauji Cement installed a 12MW WHR plant in early 2015.
Pakistan: Fecto Cement plans to bid for the Hattar cement plant owned by Dewan Cement. Abdul Samad, Fecto Cement’s company secretary, said that the company would evaluate the information to be provided by the financial advisor of Dewan Cement for carrying out due diligence in relation to the prospective acquisition of the plant. He added that the sale would be subject to finalisation of commercial terms, completion of due diligence, execution of definitive agreement and receipt of regulatory approvals.