Folowing its 15 per cent profit increase reflecting a strong and growing export market in the Great-Lakes region recorded in 2006, the Lafarge Group has announced an investment expansion of EUR180m (Shs450bn) in East Africa.
Bamburi Cement Ltd Mombasa plant manager Paul Rogers told journalists on April 20 that the Group in 2006 recorded $244m (Shs425bn) profit, indicating a 15 per cent growth.
The two-year expansion plan, which will be rolled out in phases to increase production, is to start before the end the year with a EUR$70m (Shs168 billion) first phase expansion in Uganda code named Hima Cement’s Rwenzori project. Later, a EUR110m (Shs264bn) Baobab project will follow in Kenya.
"After this expansion we will be able to meet the growing demand and economies of the region mainly from Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo, and Southern Sudan," Mr Rogers said.
The Finance Director, Mr Albert Sigei attributed the good performance to a strong export market boost in the region. He said the export market had been growing at 10 per cent. Currently the group produces 3 million tonnes per year.
Mr Sigei said the group’s strong continued efforts to save and produce its own energy to run their operations and at the same time protect the environment have been the other reason why they had excelled.
Mr Rogers said the Rwenzori project would involve the expansion of mining at Dura in Kabarole where the raw material will be processed into semi-finished product (clinker), which will then be transported to Namanve for grinding into Cement.
"By grinding clinker at Namanve, we intend to cut on the costs by bringing the product closer to the customer. This project is expected to double the current production capacity of 300,000 tonnes to about 620,000 tones per year," Mr Rogers said.
He said a feasibility study has already been done and the next phase will be designing and ground breaking before the end of the year.