Natal Portland Cement Gets Empowerment Partner

Natal Portland Cement Gets Empowerment Partner
Published: 17 November 2006

Cimpor, owner of Natal Portland Cement, said yesterday that it would sell a 26% stake in the South African operation to a black economic empowerment entity. 
By selling a stake to a local consortium, Natal Portland Cement will be following a trend that has been set by other industry players. Swiss cement maker Holcim and French group Lafarge earlier this year sold stakes in local operations to black economic empowerment groups. 
Cimpor-Cimentos, majority shareholder in Natal Portland Cement, said this week that it planned to conclude an empowerment deal before year-end. 
The Lisbon-based newspaper, Diario de Noticias, this week reported that Cimpor-Cimentos would raise more than a‚80m from the sale of the 26% stake. 
Natal Portland Cement MD Piet Strauss said yesterday that negotiations for the introduction of the new shareholders were at an "advanced stage". 
He said that the company wanted the transaction to take effect in January. 
Strauss said that the transaction would affect only Natal Portland Cement’s South African cement operations. The company has operations in several countries, including Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Mozambique and Egypt. 
Diario de Noticias reported that Cimpor-Cimentos would invest a‚100m next year to expand its capacity by 60%. 
Strauss said Natal Portland Cement was on track to complete its new 80tph cement milling circuit next month.
The company’s expansion initiative also includes a new packing plant capable of carrying 3000 bags of cement an hour. 
Natal Portland Cement had been importing cement and clinker because of rising demand in cement in the past four years, said Strauss. 
He said the commissioning of the company’s second cement kiln in August next year was on track. The new kiln would have a capacity of 1500tpd. 
The company was also constructing a 12,000t cement storage silo.