Nepal: Cement producers in Nepal are upgrading their plants in preparation for the start of operation by a number of foreign owned cement companies. Dhruba Thapa, the president of the Cement Manufacturers' Association of Nepal (CMAN), said that the imminent ‘invasion’ by foreign cement producers has led to unease amongst local producers, in comments to the Kathmandu Post
Dangote Cement from Nigeria, Hongshi and Huaxin from China and Reliance Cement from India have all been granted clearance to start operations in Nepal. Their combined foreign direct investment amounts to US$1.45bn and their proposed output stands at 22,000t/day.
Local projects include Cosmos Cement’s plan to build its first clinker plant. It is expected to start production in the second half of 2016. At present the cement producer operates two cement grinding plants with a combined capacity of 800t/day. It is also upgrading the capacity of these plants to a total of 2000t/day.
Arghakhanchi Cement has announced that it will nearly triple its capacity to 3000t/day by the end of 2017. At present the plant has a production capacity of 1200t/day. Agni Cement Industry has planned to set up a new plant with a daily capacity of 1200t/day. Currently, its capacity is 300t/day.
Domestic demand for cement is 5.5Mt/yr and production is 4.6Mt/yr according to CMAN. Domestic cement manufacturers claim that they have become able to meet 80% of the country's requirement with a capacity utilisation of 50 – 60%. However, foreign investors have said that there is unexplored potential demand for cement in Nepal as infrastructure development grows. Local producers have countered this claim, saying that foreign direct investment has been promoted by offering foreign investors more tax incentives than what domestic producers receive.