Heidelberg’s Ciments du Gabon may close as cheap imports threaten business

Heidelberg’s Ciments du Gabon may close as cheap imports threaten business
Published: 17 August 2010

Ciments du Gabon SA, a unit of HeidelbergCement AG known as Cimgabon, may close operations after losing 40 per cent of market share in the West African nation because of an increase in imports from competitors, Development Director Arthur Meka Me Ndong said.

“If this situation continues, there is a real danger of bankruptcy for Cimgabon and redundancies for its 300 employees,” he said by phone from the capital, Libreville, yesterday.

Cimgabon was the sole operator in the country until the government opened the nation’s cement market to other operators in 2006 to meet an increase in demand for the building material, Meka Me Ndong said. Cement is imported from China and neighbouring Cameroon with producers from those countries selling the material at about 12 per cent less than Cimgabon, he said.

“Chinese cement is sold at a price that doesn’t allow Cimgabon to compete,” he said.
HeidelbergCement AG, the world’s largest maker of aggregates used to produce concrete and asphalt, owns 75 per cent of the company, with the remainder held by the country’s government.

HeidelbergCement spokesman Andreas Schaller declined to comment on the plan for Gabon, one of the smallest markets in the region, when contacted by Bloomberg News today. The company aims to expand its capacities in Africa, especially in the sub- Saharan markets, he said.