Italcementi SpA CEO Giampiero Pesenti said he sees the group investing EUR1.5 over the next five years, one third of it in Italy – the same amount as it invested over the last five years.
Pesenti was speaking at the inauguration of a EUR150m plant at Calusco d’Adda, outside Bergamo in the north of Italy, where he also said Italcementi is facing obstacles expanding in China.
’In the last five years we have made industrial investments worth EUR1.5bn, a third of these in Italy. For the next five years, we expect to be able to maintain this trend,’ he said.
Italcementi’s strategy includes expanding its presence in emerging countries, such as India and China, which are growing at 10 per cent per year, and in other Asian countries, he said.
In China, Italcementi has had a representation for 12 years via its Ciments Francais unit, but is facing difficulty in finding a local partner and managers to set up production there, he said.
’In China, the companies are very different to western ones. It is difficult to find partners,’ he said, adding the legal framework is different from the English style practised in India. All western cement companies face difficulties entering China, he added.
Elsewhere, Italcementi has managed to find partners, for instance through a privatisation in Egypt, with a major bank in Thailand, and with a leading business family in India, he said.
Turning to the new Italian plant, co-general manager Carlo Pesenti said this will use less energy than its predecessor, while capacity will rise to 1.5Mta from 1.2-1.3Mta. The plant is already operating at full capacity to meet demand in the north of Italy, and the high cost of energy has been partly offset by using alternative fuels such as chemicals and refuse, he said.
In other comments, Giampiero Pesenti said Italcementi has ’room to increase’ its stake in Mediobanca SpA to 3 pct, and added that it has not decided about investment in RCS MediaGroup SpA. Any increases would be part of shareholder pact agreements, due to be renewed in next months, he said.