Athi River Mining (ARM), has announced plans to buy a multi-million lime manufacturing business in Zambia. The firm has also announced an Sh860 million-expansion plan to boost its production capacity in Kenya. The Zambian acquisition through a privatisation play follows the company’s successful entry into Tanzanian and South African markets. ARM has also signed a joint venture agreement that will see it set up a lime plant in Mali to service the gold mines. Mr Suresh Kumar, ARMs CEO, confirmed that the company is in the process of acquiring Dola Limes Plant, saying the process is set to be concluded before the end of this year. "We consider ourselves a Kenyan company that has gone international.
In addition to conquering the African market, we are aggressively looking for markets in Europe and the Far East as part of our strategy to gain requisite advantage over our competitors," he told Financial Standard. Kumar however, said that despite the regional efforts, the firm would for the next two and a half years concentrate on strengthening its position in the domestic economy, given the emerging threats from competitors within the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa). He singled out Egypt as the country that is posing the most threat given its low cost manufacturing environment.
ARM plans to set up a clinker plant next to its Likoni lime and cement plant to give it the necessary cost advantage and to put itself in a better position in the construction industry. The plant is scheduled to be operational by end of 2005 and is expected to reduce dependency on Bamburi Cement. Some estimates indicate that the local Kenyan construction industry grew at between 8-9 per cent in the last one year with the boom coming from the housing market.