The Italcementi Group outlined its medium- to long-term growth plans, confirming its commitment to expanding its presence in emerging countries and boosting the efficiency of its production base in industrialised nations.
Plans include the revamping of its Devnya cement plant in Bulgaria, where it will be introducing Best Available Technologies to improve its environmental and economic performance. The new plant is due for commissioning in 2012, raising annual production capacity at around 3Mta.
In China, where it currently operates through the Fuping Cement subsidiary, the group will acquire an initial minority shareholding in Shifeng Cement, which operates a 2Mta unit in Shaanxi province.
As part of its planned efforts to improve its production efficiency in industrialised nations, the company will revamp cement plants in northern Italy.
Italcementi Finance has signed an agreement with a pool of 16 international banks granting a five-year revolving credit facility for EUR920m. The facility allows Italcementi to carry out an early refinancing of expiring credit lines, including the Ciments Français syndicated line of credit (EUR700m to 2012) and is considered a key step in tightening the organisation of the group’s financial management. The new financing has lengthened the average term of the backup lines not used by the banking system from 2.5 years to 4 years, thereby considerably strengthening the solidity of the Group’s liquidity reserves, according to a company statement.