Ethiopia: The Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE) has approved a loan of USD90m for Habesha Cement. This represents 70% of the estimated USD120m that the company requires to build the first cement plant to be owned by an Ethiopian company.
Habesha Cement secured the first 30% by selling shares up until 2009 and from a USD79m deal with Northern Heavy Machinery Industries (NHI) Group in October 2010 for the provision of a turnkey cement plant. Habesha Cement was hoping to secure the rest from DBE in 2010.
However the devaluation the Ethiopian Birr by 20% in August 2010 prevented the loan being secured. The board was forced to recommend floating more shares at its second general assembly. Now Habesha Cement has raised a total of USD32m, which is still short by 8.4% of the 30% equity it needs to receive the loan.
"We are confident that we will raise the remaining funds as there are still lots of people asking to buy our shares," said Mesfin Abi, general manager of Habesha Cement. "Our worry was getting the 70% loan approved from the DBE."
The construction of the cement factory, which is to be located in Holeta, west of the capital in Oromia regional state, is to start once NHI is paid 10% (USD7.9m) of the agreed-upon amount, according to the agreement signed in 2010. The advance payment is to be paid in US dollars.
As Habesha Cement does not have access to foreign currency, it has to wait for DBE to grant it the loan so that the bank can make the payment in dollars on its behalf. Once the advance has been paid, NHI is expected to finish the construction of the factory within 20 months according to the agreement.
Habesha Cement expects to produce 85% and 95% in its first two years of production and 1.2Mt at full capacity in its third year, according to its prospectus. Once it starts to produce at full capacity, Habesha Cement will be the third largest producer of cement in Ethiopia next to Mugher Cement and Messebo Cement, which produce 1.9Mt/yr and 1.7Mt/yr respectively.
The total production of cement in the country is expected to reach 27Mt over the five years to 2016, according to the government's draft economic plan. There are currently 11 companies with a combined production of 5.4Mt/yr.