Holcim's hopes for New Zealand

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Holcim seems to be back on track with its beleaguered Weston plant, with the news of a port deal for an undisclosed amount.

Since the plant was proposed in 2007 a string of delays have occurred. In July 2011 it had been asking contractors to register interest in the project. As reported in October 2011 Holcim put its New Zealand project on hold due to the 'global economic downturn'. Then in November 2011 Holcim reported a staggering 32% drop in income in the third quarter and blamed it on the strong Swiss franc: ideal for a little overseas spending. Even in the current global economic gloom there may be some benefits.

Back in Africa we have a third 'reality' from the local industry of a much more familiar nature: corruption.

With the former board of the East African Portland Cement Company (EAPCC) going to court against the Kenyan government over allegations of corruption and counter-allegations of government strong-arm tactics it puts into perspective why EAPCC might have changed its clinker supplier last week. With current price rises of 25% in Nigeria and even two positive stories from South Africa this week, the gains may be high but so are the risks.

Last modified on 13 January 2012

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