Displaying items by tag: US
US: The Portland Cement Association (PCA) has supported President Donald Trump’s executive order (EO) on energy independence. The EO instructs federal agencies to review and either revise or withdraw a number of actions taken by the Obama administration, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan. The EO also immediately rescinds other federal policies, such as the social cost of carbon figures developed by the Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases.
“The PCA applauds President Trump for revisiting regulations that have a significant impact on the nation’s cement manufacturers, such as those in the EO issued today,” said PCA Executive Vice President Todd Johnston. He added that the EPA’s Clean Power Plan had ‘exceeded’ the agency’s statutory authority and that the social cost of carbon figures were developed without necessary transparency and public input.
Despite supporting measures that rollback environmental policy in the US the EPA said that it and its members were committed to manufacturing products with a ‘minimal’ environmental footprint.
US: HarbisonWalker International (HWI) plans to build a new monolithic refractories plant at the Point Industrial Park in South Point, Lawrence County, Ohio. The site is subject to completion of the company’s due diligence and finalisation of one additional grant application that is in process. HWI announced in February 2017 that it was spending US$30m on building a new 80,000t/yr refractory plant to start operation by early 2018.
Greece: Titan Cement’s turnover grew by 8% year-on-year to Euro1.51bn in 2016 from Euro1.4bn in 2015. Its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by 28.7% to Euro279m from Euro216m. The group attributed its success to continuing growth in the US and a recovery in Egypt.
By region, the US was the main source of growth for the group providing 53% of sales and 52% of operating profit. Its turnover in the US grew by 169% in 2016 to Euro794m. In Greece cement consumption remained similar to 2015 and the group continued to export a large proportion of local production. Despite this both turnover and EBITDA fell. In southeast Europe the group reported mixed results with rising sales volumes, falling prices and turnover and rises in profitability. In Egypt the market picked up and grinding and solid fuels upgrades at Titan’s plants compensated for local currency devaluation. Subsequently, turnover grew by 3.5% to Euro249m. Finally, the group’s partly-owned subsidiary in Turkey, Adocim, reported a modest increases in profit despite local currency effects.
Switzerland/US: French politicians have cautioned construction-materials giant LafargeHolcim about the consequences of supplying cement for the 3000km wall that US President Donald Trump intends to build along the border with Mexico.
LafargeHolcim, the biggest cement producer in both the world and the United States, fell under scrutiny after Chief Executive Eric Olsen said, in remarks published in several media outlets, that the company is ready to supply cement for the border wall.
Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron said that companies such as LafargeHolcim must consider the ‘ethical aftermath’ of their business deals, after the Franco-Swiss firm said it stands ready to work on the project.
"Being a private company, whose headquarters are mainly in Switzerland, does not free it from having an ethical conscience and asking questions before participating in certain projects," Macron told Agence-France Presse. LafargeHolcim is already under attack in France for Lafarge’s handling of its Syrian operations during the spread of ISIS in the region.
The world's second biggest cement producer, Mexican firm Cemex SAB, is also facing pressure at home to boycott the wall. The Mexican government has been a staunch opponent of Trump's project.
US: Orcem Americas, a subsidiary of Ireland’s Ecocem, has been refused planning permission to build a slag cement plant in Vallejo, California. The cement producer was hoping to build a US$50m grinding plant but it faced opposition from local residents on environmental grounds, according to the Irish Times. The issues for the planners was an anticipated increase in the number of trucks on local roads and pollution from the plant. Orcem Americas can now appeal the decision to Vallejo’s City Council if it chooses.
US: Rexnord has launched so-called ‘smart’ PT Select Mounted Spherical Roller Bearings. These bearings are targeted for conveyor, fan and blower applications in the cement, aggregate, material and package handling industries. They also include product specific QR codes laser-etched on to each product linking to product specific information that links to a dedicated mobile application. The bearings also include engineered bearing seals to increase product life, such as standard triple lip and clearance seals to provide ingress protection against contaminants, to reduce operating temperatures at higher speeds and they feature nitrile material with protective metal shield.
US: E Instruments plans to release its E8500 Cooled NOx portable emissions analyser in the spring of 2017. The product is intended to increase its accuracy of its NO gas sensor at higher temperatures than normal, particularly above 40°C. The E8500 Cooled NOx keeps the NO sensor cooled with an internal cooling system. The analyser measures, displays and records the NO sensor temperature to make it easier to comply with US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) conditional test methods such as CTM-030. The E8500 Cooled NOx also comes with a Sample Conditioning Unit that cools and dries the stack gas at the probe handle to minimise the time that the gas has in contact with the condensate.
France: Sales in the US have supported Vicat’s revenue in 2016. Its consolidated sales in the US rose by 6.2% year-on-year to Euro363m in 2016 from Euro342m in 2015. Overall the company’s sales fell slightly to Euro2.45bn in the year, although they rose by 4.1% at constant scope and exchange rates. Its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by 3.2% to Euro458m from Euro444m. Sales volumes of cement rose by 10.5% to 21.9Mt from 19.8Mt.
"Vicat performed well in 2016 against the backdrop of a very difficult geopolitical and monetary climate. Operating margins rose and results reflected the good sales momentum achieved by the group's staff, combined with a very firm grip on costs. The year was marked by renewed growth in Egypt and France, and our operations continued to improve in the US," said group chairman and chief executive officer Guy Sidos.
By region, notably, sales volumes rose in France by 6% in domestic and export markets, boosted particularly by export sales, with sales revenue up also. Elsewhere in Europe sales fell but volumes rose after a difficult first half of the year. Sales volumes in the US rose by 4% driven by ‘strong momentum’ in the Southeast region, making up for a decline in California caused by a strong previous year and poor weather. In the group’s Asian region its sales revenue fell mainly due to currency variations in Turkey and particularly in Kazakhstan. Finally, in its African and Middle East region, sales revenue in Egypt rose by 3.5% despite a devaluation of the local currency driven by a ‘sharp’ increase in volumes. Two coal grinders that entered into service in late 2015 also helped to grow its EBITDA.
US: The US Customs and Border Protection plans to start awarding contracts by mid-April 2017 for a proposed border wall with Mexico. The agency says it will request bids on or around 6 March 2017 and that companies would have to submit ‘concept papers’ to design and build prototypes by 10 March 2017, according to the Associated Press. Finalists must then submit offers with their proposed costs by 24 March 2017. No details on where construction will start or how much it will be cost have been released.
Estimates for the cost of a 2000-mile border wall vary significantly. The Government Accountability Office estimates it would cost on average US$6.5m/mile for a pedestrian fence and US$1.8m/mile for vehicle barriers. However, an internal Homeland Security Department report prepared for department secretary John Kelly places the bill at about US$21m according to an anonymous source quoted by the Associated Press. It proposes that existing barriers built during the George W Bush administration be extended first in stages.
The cost of the wall will depend on the height, materials and other specifications of the project. Granite Construction, Vulcan Materials and Martin Marietta Materials are all likely to be potential bidders and Mexico’s Cemex is also likely to benefit from any increase in demand for construction materials in the region.
US: A fire has been reported at LafargeHolcim’s Hagerstown cement plant in Maryland. An overloaded conveyor belt was the source of the blaze near the centre of the site that broke out on the evening of 20 February 2017, according to the Herald-Mail newspaper. High temperatures prevented fire fighters from tacking the fire immediately and it burned for over an hour.