Egypt to consider new cement production licences

Egypt to consider new cement production licences
Published: 08 September 2009

Egypt will consider new cement production licences if demand growth continues to exceed expectations, but has no plans to review licensing for steel, Trade Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid said on Monday in an interview with Reuters.

Egypt imported 512,000t of cement from January to Aug. 5 and the figure is expected to almost double to 1Mt by the end of August, the Trade Ministry said last month.

Asked if Egypt would offer new cement production licences, Rachid said: "We might because the number of licences that have been issued last year was based on certain projections of our growth. It is very clear from the year 2009 that we are exceeding the level of growth."

Speaking to Reuters in an interview, he said the projection for cement demand growth for 2009 was 10 percent, but demand for cement was currently growing 25 to 30 percent in 2009.

If growth above 10 percent continued, "definitely we will have to issue new licences next year", he said.

Rising local demand for cement had prompted the ministry to extend a ban on cement exports first introduced in April until October 2010.

Housing demand in Egypt remains buoyant even as hundreds of billions of dollars worth of construction projects have been put on hold elsewhere in the Middle East since the global financial crisis curbed property investment.