Namibia: Ohorongo Cement Company has dismissed the construction of a US$343m plant by competitor Whale Rock Cement as a 'non-entity.'
Ohorongo Cement is, however, worried about the power generation challenges and drought. Marketing and Communications Manager at Ohorongo Cement, Carina Sowden, told local newspaper The Villager that new market players are the least of their fears. "Ohorongo Cement can already provide more than double the cement demand of the Namibian market. The question is raised as to why new investments are not rather focussed on the generation of electricity and energy, and the severe drought the country is currently facing," said Sowden.
"Competition is always a good thing, as long as the playing fields are level. The company has always had competition from both within the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) region as well as Angola and Zambia, where there is ample capacity," said Sowden.
In July 2015 Ohorongo Cement announced that it had invested another US$10.3m into a new composite cement plant, including new silo capacity and a packaging line. "Ohorongo Cement can now produce double the entire demand of Namibia and still absorb additional export volumes. All different types of packaging caters for both the local and export market, which includes 50kg bags, different sizes of big bags and bulk cement. Ohorongo Cement is able to produce various other types of consistent high-quality cement to differentiate itself from other cement manufacturers and more importantly, cater for the needs of its customers as well as for bigger projects. Some examples include the construction of the new container terminal in Walvis Bay, as well as the airport runway and wharf at St Helena Island," said Sowden. The new composite cement plant is expected to be completed by early 2016.
Sowden emphasised that as the Namibian economy is expected to see further growth, Ohorongo Cement has ensured in advance that it has the necessary production capacity to sustainably supply cement volumes for Namibia for the future. "This includes additional bigger projects that might materialise in future. The high-quality limestone deposits close to the Ohorongo Cement plant has been rated as the best available in Namibia and will last for more than 300 years," said Sowden.
Whale Rock Cement entered the Namibian market with its Cheetah Cement brand, which led to tough competition with existing cement suppliers, leading to a price war that drove it out of the market. Its new plant will be 245km from Windhoek and will be the second cement plant in Namibia after Ohorongo Cement, which produces 500,000t/yr.