Vietnam is a potentially large market for cement manufacturers, said Bertrand Collomb, chairman of French building material firm Lafarge. The local cement market annually grows around 15% and cement demand is estimated at nearly 24Mt, he said. The Lafarge leader wrapped his first Vietnam visit early this week, which aimed to promote a US$30m cement project underway in the southern province of Dong Nai. Lafarge, he believes, will become a popular cement brand in Vietnam within the first three years. Lafarge started work on the 500,000tpa facility late last month, which is set to come into commercial operation late next year.
The local cement market’s strong growth provides an opportunity for investors, Collomb said, noting the market still enjoyed State protection and that local cement prices were 15% higher than those in the region. Lafarge has been in Vietnam since 2001, with three ready-mix concrete plants able to turn out 350,000 cubic meters.