Cement maker sets sights on competing overseas

Cement maker sets sights on competing overseas
Published: 13 December 2006

With construction of its new facility in Tay Ninh Province commencing last week, Tay Ninh Joint Stock Cement Company (Tafico) aims not only to meet growing domestic demand but also become a competitor in foreign markets over the next five years, according to the company’s general director, Mai Ngoc Liem.  
"Tafico will focus its investments on technology and equipment for producing high-quality cement, developing human resources and promoting its trademark to penetrate new markets," says Liem.  
The new cement factory will cost about VND2.81 trillion (US$178 million) to build, and is expected to produce 4,000 tonnes of clinker a day, or roughly 1.5 million tonnes a year. The new facility will exploit high grade limestone resources in the province, removing the company’s reliance on imports.  
When it comes online in 2008, the Tay Ninh factory will make Tafico the largest cement producer in Vietnam with about two million tonnes of output a year.  
In September, Tafico took over Ho Chi Minh City-based Phuong Nam Cement Plant, which has since been renamed Fico Cement Factory, in a highly strategic deal worth VND437 billion ($27.3m).  
Fico, which produces 500,000 tonnes of cement a year, will eventually grind clinker from the Tay Ninh plant and then package the cement for sale in Ho Chi Minh City and neighboring provinces. The clinker made at the Tay Ninh plant will also be exported to Cambodia. 
Tran Phuong Tung, the company’s board chairman, says taking over the Phuong Nam cement plant saved Tafico two years in its expansion plan by avoiding having to build its own grinding facility from scratch.  
The company expects to sell 100,000t of cement this year and 500,000t in 2007. Toward the end of its expansion plan in 2010, Tafico executives hope sales exceed 1.6Mt in the domestic market alone.