Egypt’s ASEC Cement says on track to boost output

Egypt’s ASEC Cement says on track to boost output
Published: 13 December 2010

Egypt’s ASEC Cement is on track to triple its cement production in the Middle East and North Africa by 2013 and is finalising talks with banks to boost production in Syria, its chief executive said.

ASEC, a subsidiary of Cairo-based Citadel Capital, controls plants in Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Syria, Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan and Ethiopia with a combined cement production of nearly 4Mt, Giorgio Bodo said.

"The Middle East is still a young part of the world. You have lots of new families and everybody wants new houses, new ports, hospitals, and schools," Bodo said in an interview. "By 2013 if all goes well, we will be close to 12.6Mt."

ASEC is also considering expansion elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa but will focus on its main markets first, Bodo said.

The company has finished the first phase of its Syrian plant, 85km northeast of Damascus, which it expects to bring in revenue of US$93m in 2013. It is now finalising talks with Syrian banks to expand further.

"Syria is an interesting country because it is opening up from an economic point of view and the banking sector is growing," Bodo said, adding that demand for cement was enormous.

The firm, which has stakes in Egypt’s Misr Cement Qena in Egypt and Zahana Cement in Algeria, plans to consider investment alternatives in Africa, where cement demand is growing, once its ongoing projects are further along.

"What we would like to do is target especially sub-Saharan Africa," Bodo said. "We think this is the continent that will have the most important growth curve in the future."

Still, ASEC may slash production at its US$253m Takamol plant in Sudan, which has a nominal capacity of 1.3Mt, to 1Mt due to political uncertainty ahead of a referendum for Southern independence, he said.