Increasing demand for cement from the New Zealand building boom has prompted Fletcher Building to spend $60m on its plant at Whangarei. Mark Binns, Fletcher’s chief executive of concrete, said last year was a record for Fletcher’s domestic sales of cement at 673,000t.
But when the upgrade of its Golden Bay Cement plant at Portland, south of Whangarei, was completed, Fletchers would be able to produce closer to 920,000t. The plant’s coal-firing system and cooler have already been upgraded, but material-handling and cement- processing facilities are still being improved.
Binns said Fletchers imported clinker from Thailand, but the expansion at Whangarei would resolve supply issues. “The first stage of the upgrade has been completed and the second stage will be completed this year,’’ he said.
Fletcher Building’s latest annual report made note of Golden Bay’s earnings growth being constrained by two factors: the need to import high volumes of clinker because of capacity constraints at its plant, and the higher distribution costs from increasing demand and a 33-day shutdown of its ship, MV Golden Bay, for an equipment replacement.