Votorantim Cimentos has wrapped up the acquisition of the concrete company Prestige in Florida (US) for US$200m and begun the construction of a new cement plant at Sumter, a US$250m project to be completed by mid-2009. Both moves involve US$450m investments and aim at reinforcing the position of Votorantim in this American state where it already boasts a 25% share.
It is also is part of a strategy to secure the company a 30% - 35% of the income from external operations, comments president Walter Schalka, pointing out new opportunities in the US or Europe would be considered.
Its priority is the US. Votorantim posted sales of R$5.2bn in 2006 and is investing R$1.6bn to expand capacity in Brazil. It moved in North America in 2001 via the acquisition of of the Canadian St Mary’s, from Lafarge, in a US$750m deal; in 2003 it acquired 50% on Suwannee in the Great Lakes, US. Since then it has expanded and currently runs seven plants in North America generating a R$1.56bn turnover.
Votorantim’s expansion abroad is tied to the slowdown of the Brazilian market from 40.4Mt in 1999 to 34Mt in 2003, but now is resuming to estimated 50Mt in 2008. The growing of the the domestic market - where it has a 40% share - would not impose a change in the international strategy and Votorantim is to keep hands in both markets.