Sephaku maps plans to build cement plant

Sephaku maps plans to build cement plant
Published: 25 August 2009

South African diversified mining exploration company Sephaku Holdings unveiled plans to build a new cement plant on Friday, its first day on Johannesburg’s main board, where it closed at ZAR7.50 (US$0.96) share.

Sephaku chief executive Neil Crafford-Lazarus said the company was in the advanced stage of planning the cement plant, which would have a capacity of 2.1Mta once it reached full production in the second quarter of 2012.

Crafford-Lazarus added that Sephaku was in talks with South African, Chinese and European financiers to fund the plant.

"We have raised ZAR420m (US$53.8m)and we are currently discussing with specific investors to raise ZAR800m for our cement business," said Crafford-Lazarus. "We are not going to place any shares on the market (to finance the project)."

The cement plant will produce at 30 per cent capacity by 2011 and will then ramp up to 2.1Mt, which will give it a 16 pe rcent share of South Africa’s cement business.

Crafford-Lazarus said Sephaku China’s Sinoma unit would build the plant over 21 months and would begin construction once financing had been settled.

"We see our cement business as a proxy for our other commodities. We... believe we have a strong core competence in bringing assets up the value curve," Crafford-Lazarus said.

Sephaku holds 80 percent of Sephaku Cement. It also holds 100 per cent in the fluorspar project, 30 per cent in Taung, which holds properties in the Free State goldfields, and a 26 per cent interest in African Nickel Holdings. The company also has a number of mining prospecting rights.

Sephaku, which also has interests in limestone, coal and tin, is the first mining firm to list in Johannesburg this year.

The company debut share price gave it a market capitalisation of ZAR1.1bn.

The JSE has said it expected at least four new listings, mainly from resource firms, on the main board in the second half of the year, as well as some new companies on the Africa board over the next six months.