Cement exports from Bulgaria have plummeted in the last two years, especially exports by sea across the Black Sea, Alex Car, General Manager of Deynya Cement (Italcementi) has told local agency BTA.
This is both due to the global downturn and to the very strong euro, Car said. Cement sales by the plants in Bulgaria halved in 2009 from 2008 due to the economic crisis. The industry was also hit by the harsh winter. "We expect a further drop in sales in 2010," he said.
Both Bulgarian plants, Devnya Cement and Vulkan Cement, operated at about 50 per cent of their capacity in 2009, Car said. He does not expect an improvement this year. Early this year the furnaces of both plants were stopped, and are now operating below capacity. They may be stopped again in the summer and perhaps in the winter, depending on the market, the General Manager said.
Bulgarian cement manufacturers also report significant competition with imports from Turkey. Asked to comment, Car said that in 2009 imports reached 500,000 tons and had a 15 per cent plus market share, and that imports in 2010 are just as large or larger.