The Brazilian cement manufacturer Votorantim Cimentos and the Belgian Lhoist have created a joint venture in the lime segment. Known as Mineracao Belocal, the company will integrate all lime assets from Votorantim regarding to plants and exploitation rights of limestone mines. Market sources estimate that Lhoist will invest R$450mil resources through a capital raise. Votorantim has announced that the joint venture will maintain the brand Cal Itau. Meanwhile Belocal, which will be managed by Mr. Marcos Franca, will own a 40% stake in the industrial lime and lime for construction markets. The main four plants, with 900 workers, are based in Arcos, Limeira, Matozinhos and Sao Jose da Lapa (Minas Gerais state). Before this business, Lhoist had no operations in Brazil. Votorantim Cimentos, controlled by the family Erminio de Moraes, comprises cement, lime, mortar and concrete companies. In 2003, it reported a net income of R$4.7bil. Lime and mortar businesses account for 10% of income.
Brazil produced 6.6Mt of lime last year, ranking 5th in international market. Only 5Mt are directed at sales (R$1.1bil). The remaining 1.6Mt are manufactured by steel plants, which use lime as input.