Dangote Cement Wants New Standards Implemented

Fri, Jun 6, 2014
By publisher

Business Briefs

DANGOTE Cement Plc has called for an immediate implementation of the new cement standards in the country. The company also said its current production capacity would hit 29 million metric tonnes with an additional nine million tonnes by August this year.

The new cement guidelines mandated local manufacturers to incorporate the following information on their bag of cement: CEM I 52.5R and 52.5N for use in the construction of bridges; CEM II 42.5R, 42.5N for use in the casting of columns, beams, slabs, blocks moulding; CEM I & II 32.5R, 32.5N for plastering of buildings only.

Etim Ekanem, director, Dangote Cement Plc, while stating the company’s position on the new cement standardisation, said, “We call on SON to immediately go ahead and implement the new standards; yes, it may be a bit expensive but it doesn’t take time to switch over to 42.5. Lafarge can do it; in fact, they are already doing it; if you look at their total production, a percentage of it is 42.5.

“Before the advent of 32.5 grades in the country, cement manufacturers including Lafarge were doing 42.5 when they were Blue Circles in WAPCO and Lafarge in AshakaCem; everybody was producing 42.5; I would also refer you to a paper done by the Director General of SON that every cement company has the capacity to immediately switch over to the production of 42.5,” he said.

Nigeria-China Business Relationship

Olusegun Aganga, minister of trade and investment
Olusegun Aganga, minister of trade and investment

NIGERIA and China have pledged to maintain existing business relationship between both countries through consistent trade promotions and trade facilitation. The businessmen, who made the pledge at the just-concluded China-Nigeria Business and Investment meeting in Guangzhou, China, charged Nigerians and Chinese to see the need to develop better strategies aimed at balancing trade statistics between both countries.

Addressing participants at the seminar, Chuka Jude Onwualu, secretary general, Association of Nigeria Registered Representative Companies and Offices in China, ANROC, stated that Nigerians doing business in various cities in China were eager to move away from buying of finished goods to industrialising the Nigerian economy. “One of the reasons behind setting up the Association of Nigeria Registered Representative Companies and Offices in China, ANROC, was to balance the statistics of trade between Nigerians and the Chinese. We are aware that the future of China-Nigeria trade relationship would eventually shift from buying finished products to acquiring machineries for production and also purchasing of semi-finished products that would be used as raw materials for the factories.

“Nigeria is on track to becoming one of the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020 and the manufacturing sector is expected to make that possible. According to a Citigroup report published in February 2011, Nigeria will get the highest average GDP growth in the world between 2010–2050, when such institutions begin to raise reports like this, then something positive is happening,” he said.

Speaking also at the business seminar, Markson, a member of ANROC, said that all attempts made in the past to bring together Nigeria Business Community members in China into a strong and vibrant body was futile. “All attempts made to organize business communities into one vibrant body fizzled out until we were able to seriously put our heads together to map out an avenue through which Nigeria Business Community could harness the wealth of individual experiences gathered over the years through active participation in the Chinese economy to growing our own economy,” he said.

Lafarge Goes Continental

LAFARGE Group has combined its Nigeria’s and South Africa’s businesses to create a new name known as Lafarge Africa Plc. The company, in a statement June 3, said it had concluded plans to transfer all its shares in its businesses in Nigeria and South Africa to the new entity. When finalised, it said the new entity would be strongly positioned to benefit from the growth and development opportunities in Nigeria and Southern Africa.


Olusegun Osunkeye, chairman, Lafarge WAPCO, said the new entity would have a nationwide coverage in both countries, with cement capacity of about 12 million tonnes. The strong operational track record and management skills within the combined businesses as well as continued support and expertise from Lafarge Group, Osunkeye stressed, would position Lafarge Africa to offer a full range of value added solutions to meet the customers’ needs.

Lafarge Africa, owned 73 percent by Lafarge Group, will remain listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, according to the chairman. “I am proud to be part of the creation of this leading African building materials platform. It will provide access to growth in two of the largest economies on the continent. It will mean that our shareholders are invested in a larger and more geographically diverse business; and it will contribute significantly to the economic growth of both our nations,” he said.

In a similar vein, Guillaume Roux, Lafarge Group operations/country chief executive officer, Nigeria, said, “Today’s announcement marks a milestone. It adds momentum to our push for differentiation in order to deliver innovation that increases and improves our product portfolio. Our objective is to bring more housing and ever better solutions to contribute to building better cities that are more beautiful, more compact, more connected and more durable.”

Under the proposed terms, the firm said it would transfer its direct and indirect shareholdings in Lafarge South Africa Holdings (Pty) Limited (100 percent – representing 72.4 percent of underlying companies in South Africa), United Cement Company of Nigeria Limited (35 percent), Ashakacem Plc (58.61percent) and Atlas Cement Company Limited (100 percent) to Lafarge WAPCO.

According to the statement, the transaction would be concluded through a cash consideration of $200 million and the issuance of 1,402,575,984 Lafarge Africa shares to Lafarge Group. The company also said that the transaction was subject to Lafarge WAPCO shareholders approval and obtaining the required regulatory and other customary authorisations. The Group anticipates completion of the processes by the end of the second quarter of 2014; adding that the repositioning would lead to increased product range and services in order to answer the growing building materials demand in Sub Saharan Africa.

Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu

— Jun. 16, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT