Spanish terminal developments

Spanish terminal developments
Published: 29 October 2004

As reported yesterday, Italian cement group Buzzi Unicem has acquired a 68 per cent stake in Orionidas, a fledgling Spanish import company, involving former Agrox officials, for around Euro 680,000.  Orionidas had tried to set up a new grinding facility in the port of Alicante but because of difficulties in sourcing clinker (among other things) decided to approach Buzzi Unicem to affect a sale.

For its part, Buzzi Unicem, which is sparring with Cemex over various regional trading issues, not least, Cemex’s decision to site three grinding terminals in Italy, the opportunity to gain access into the Spanish market in Alicante will prove a bonus, especially as it has got the site for a very small outlay.  The company now plans to invest Euro28m in a new grinding facility in Spain, for which Orionidas had a 35-year concession.

Interestingly, Cimpor has recently bought two Iberian import terminals, both of which apparently involve former Lafarge interests. As reported earlier on CemNet, Portuguese cement company Cimpor announced on September 13, 2004 it had invested Euro17.8m in the takeover of a cement grinding plant in Sines, southwestern Portugal, in the first half of 2004 which apparently had Lafarge involvement behind the scenes.

Some two weeks later, Cimpor also announced that it had bought another Lafarge-linked terminal Cimpor agreeing to buy a 54 per cent stake in Spain’s Materiales del Atlantico but for just Euro 4.55m.  Materiales del Atlantico operates in the Coruna-Galiza region, with a cement mill in Naron. It sells between 250,000t and 300,000t of cement a year and was set up at a time when various interests were manouvering within the Spanish market to gain added market share

However with Lafarge subsequently gaining a stake in Cimpor, this latter investment looks as if it was causing both parties some embarrassment and hence the rather quick sale at this incredibly low price – especially so as Cimpor had earlier paid a respectable Euro17.8m for the Sines terminal.

Meanwhile, Cementos La Union, the successful independent importer located in Valencia, Spain is reportedly linking up with Egyptian interests to secure longer term clinker supplies. This apparently involves La Union linking up with a local Egyptian/Spanish group which has firm plans to build a new greenfield plant in the Sinai peninsular, Egypt, and then to export both clinker and cement out back to Spain and elsewhere. With cement and clinker supplies becoming tighter, especially within the European arena, Cementos La Union has embarked on a laudable longer-term supply strategy.