Strong demand for cement in the North and Midwest regions of Brazil are leading Votorantim Cimentos, the biggest producer in the country with a 40% market share, to update its expansion plans in the area and to increase investments. Revised plans include the construction of a new production line at Nobres (MT), where the company already has a production facility, and for a new pozzolana line there. Together, the new projects will absorb BRL$380m (US$234m), which will be added to the BRL$1.7bn (US$1bn) already announced in August, also to be invested through 2010.
Cement sales for the domestic market grew 13.7% in the 12 months through May to a total 47.3Mt, according to estimates of the National Cement Industry Syndicate (SNIC). In May alone, the increase was 12.7% over May 2007. The highlight, according to the entity, was the North, where sales were up 57% last month.
With this performance, outstripping all forecasts, Votorantim already is operating at its full capacity of 900,000t a month at its Mato Grosso plant, which serves not only that state but also Rondônia and Acre. The company will invest R$300m (US$185m) to double production, with a line that will add another 1Mt a month and should be ready in 2010.