Holcim Bulgaria to push capacity increase in 2006

Holcim Bulgaria to push capacity increase in 2006
Published: 05 July 2006

Holcim will complete a Euro 26.5m investment in raising the output capacity of one of its Bulgarian plants by the end of August, a senior company official said on Tuesday. 
Holcim Bulgaria is reconstructing the kiln line of its Beli Izvor cement plant, aiming to raise the furnace’s daily output to 2500tpd clinker from 1500tpd now, Holcim Bulgaria CEO Todor Kostov told SeeNews. The reconstruction started in the second half of last year.  "This investment will also enable us to produce some 1.1Mt of cement per year," Kostov said. The Beli Izvor plant located in northern Bulgaria has an annual output capacity of 700,000t of cement. 
The cement market in Bulgaria of nearly eight million people exceeded 3Mt in 2004, according to the latest data available. 
The reconstructed furnace will use up to 15 per cent less fuel and will have a lower electricity consumption, Kostov said. The economic impact, however, is difficult to project at the moment, because the prices of oil products and electricity are rising, said Kostov.
He added that the development of big infrastructure projects like the second bridge over the Danube river linking Bulgaria and Romania, would be the main driving force behind the growth of demand for cement after 2007, when the two countries hope to join the European Union.  "Another 5.5 million euro will be spent on minor projects by the end of the year," said Kostov. 
Holcim’s plant in Beli Izvor planned a net profit of 20 million levs (Euro 10.2m) for last year, up from 11 million levs in 2004, as sales were expected to exceed 100 million levs, up from 60 million levs in 2004.  Besides the plant in Beli Izvor, Holcim runs another factory, in the northern Bulgarian city of Pleven. Holcim acquired the plant in Pleven from Greek-based Titan Cement Company in 2003 in return for its 46.5 per cent stake in Macedonia’s Cementarnica Usje.