Paraguay’s state-owned cement maker Industria Nacional del Cemento (INC) is seeking to invest US$30m to increase installed capacity, INC president Amílcar Troche announced. The move is to increase clinker and cement production in order to improve the company’s competitive strength, local daily Última Hora reported.
To seek financing for the plan, Troche met the country’s vice-president Luis Castiglioni, who promised to look into the plan’s feasibility and to act as intermediary to the government’s economic committee. Castiglioni warned that if INC’s competitive strength is not boosted in the short term, foreign-based cement makers might be able to muscle in to the local market. A previous plan to increase capacity using state funds was turned down by the government’s economic committee last year.
INC posted a 1.46bn-guaraní (US$232,000) net profit in 2004, after closing six years in the red. In 2003, the INC posted a 27.4bn-guaraní net loss. The turnaround is expected to help the VP convince ministers to back the plan. Last year’s result was helped by a drop in cement and clinker production costs, based on the purchase of lower cost raw materials and replacement parts.
The INC is Paraguay’s sole cement producer and has installed clinker production capacity of some 675,000tpa. The investment plan is designed to take production capacity to 1Mta if implemented.