The Moroccan arm of Lafarge has launched a drive to expand in the north of the country, where it sees demand for cement growing by 20 per cent this year, its managing director said. It is now making the most of a programme to improve low-income housing and develop the country’s infrastructure, especially in the long-neglected north where the government is building a massive port and industrial complex near Tangier.
The company has raised its forecast for growth in Morocco’s cement market twice this year, from five per cent to between 7 and 8 per cent, Lafarge Ciments Managing Director Jean-Marie Schmitz told Reuters in an interview. "We’re surely going to have growth of over 20 per cent in the northern region. These are figures we are not used to," he said.
Lafarge Ciments controls most of the cement market in northwest Morocco, where it plans at least to double the capacity of a plant in Tetouan to as much as 2.5Mt.
Schmitz said the northern market could absorb 2.1 million tonnes annually by 2014, up from 1.3Mt today. Any excess production at the Tetouan plant could be exported to Europe, where demand is strong, he said. He said the company also aimed to double the capacity of a crushing factory in Tangier and build another crushing plant close to Morocco’s new port and industrial complex, Tanger-Med.
Schmitz said the company could pay for the 2-billion-dirham (US$230.5m) expansion and modernisation using its own funds, but would probably need to resort to external financing for any future projects abroad.