Ciments Francais, a unit of Italian cement group Italcementi, plans investments worth EUR1.5bn (US$1.964bn) in the next few years to increase its production capacity and modernise its industrial equipment, in order to maintain a record high level of operating profits, the company’s chairman, Yves Rene Nanot, said.
Ciments Francais will focus on geographical diversification and plans to set foot also on the Chinese market.
The company closed 2006 with a net profit of EUR502m (US$657.3m), up 19 per cent YoY, and an operating profit of EUR871m ($1.14 bln), up 35.2 per cent.
Ciments Francais will strengthen its presence in the Middle East and in the Mediterranean region, using as a lever its units in Egypt, Morocco and Turkey.
The company also wishes to expand in Kazakhstan, where it is present with its subsidiary Shymkent Cement, and in the nearby region through a joint venture company with a local group and a Turkish group, which plans to build two cement plants and targets to become a market leader in central Asia.
Ciments Francais expects for 2007 a rapid growth in emerging markets and consolidation and stability in traditional markets.