East African Portland Cement Company has re-advertised the tender for a new cement mill that was cancelled by government in January citing "serious flaws" in the procurement process.
The tender for design, supply and installation of a new 80tph cement milling facility at its Athi River plant closes on April 26, 2006. In an interview, managing director Zakayo ole Mapelu said the cancellation of the tender means the project would fall two months behind schedule.
The Government’s action had put in jeopardy the company’s contract to supply over 1Mt of cement to Southern Sudan.
"Although we have lost the months, we are not very far behind and we believe in the next 15 months the new mill will up and running in time to tap into the new markets, especially Sudan," he said. The new facility will ensure the company meets the needs of a growing market while considerably lowering its energy and production costs.
Economic indicators point to a booming construction industry locally and in the region. The cement maker’s pre-tax profit last year rose 138 per cent from Sh360.6 million in 2004 to Sh857.4m, driven by rising cement demand. Last year, demand for cement went up by 15 per cent compared to the previous year, following increased orders from the construction industry. The turnover rose from Sh2.5bn to Sh3.1bn. "The company is faced with a rapidly increasing demand and the challenge is how to increase its capacity," Mr Mapelu said.