Lafarge Cement Services (Philippines), Inc one of the country’s largest cement manufacturer, plans to invest P250 million this year to increase the production capacity of its Batangas plant. But it also wants the government to protect the cement industry from cheap foreign competition. Company president Erdogan Pekena said the capacity of the Fortune Cement plant in Taysan, Batangas will be raised to 3200t daily from 2600tpd. "That’s purely to increase the capacity of the plant and improve its efficiency," he told reporters.
Lafarge, invested P700 million for initial improvements to the Fortune Cement plant last year. The new investment will cover the second phase of improvements that will increase production. Mr. Pekena said Lafarge’s new investment "shows the clear evidence of the fact that we have confidence in the future of the country. Once the Fortune plant is upgraded, the company will "prioritize" investments in other manufacturing facilities, he said. But he also said local cement makers needed protection from imports given the "overcapacity" in the country. "We would like to protect jobs and protect the local industry. After all, our manufacturing base is in this country, and [protection is needed] against unfair imports, the dumping of cement," Mr. Pekena said.
The Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines wants to extend the P15.60 safeguard duty for every 40-kilogram bag of imported cement, which expired last December, for four more years. The group cited the threat of dumping from other manufacturing bases in the region. The Tariff Commission is expected to release its recommendation this month.
Aside from the Fortune plant, Lafarge operates other cement facilities in the country: Continental Operating Corp. in Norzagaray, Bulacan and Tanay, Rizal (formerly Titan Cement Manufacturing Corp.); FR Cement Corp. in Teresa, Rizal; Iligan Cement Corp. in Iligan City; Lloyds-Richfield Industrial Corp. in Danao City, Cebu; Mindanao Portland Cement Corp., also in Iligan; and Republic Cement Corp. in Norzagaray.