Journey of Hope
Last year, Hope Construction Materials (HCM) became the first major new name in the British building materials sector for more than a decade following the purchase by Mittal Investments of former Tarmac and Lafarge assets, including the largest cement plant in the UK at Hope. As the British cement market continues to show signs of strengthening, Chris Plant, chief executive officer of HCM, talks to ICR about Mittal’s timely entry into the cement industry, the company’s performance to-date and the investments and achievements at the Hope plant under its new management.
ICR: Mittal Investments acquired the assets that were to become HCM in January 2013. Why did Mittal decide to enter the cement industry?
Chris Plant (CP): Our chairman, Amit Bhatia, had been keen to enter the world of British manufacturing and was looking for the right opportunity. Cement provides relatively stable and sustainable growth, and that’s why timing was a really important driver behind the acquisition. The industry had been slow for a number of years, but there were some early signs of recovery and so the opportunity to purchase the UK’s biggest – and arguably best – cement plant was seized, not only to enter the British market but also to have a go at shaking up the industry for the better.