PPC commits to new DRC plant

PPC commits to new DRC plant
Published: 01 October 2013


PPC has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Barnet Group, its local partner in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to build a US$230m cement factory there. Ketso Gordhan, CEO of PPC, said that the greenfield project in the DRC included the construction of a 1Mta cement factory and associated quarry. The plant would take about 24 months to complete.

PPC previously confirmed the company was finalising an agreement with Chinese engineering, procurement and construction company Sinoma International Engineering to build its cement plants in the continent.

The agreement forms part of PPC’s strategy to increase its turnover from outside South Africa from the current 22 per cent to 40 per cent by its FY16.

Located 20km from Kimpese in the western DRC, the plant will ensure easy access into the country’s main markets. Gordhan said there were existing cement manufacturers in the region, but the market was severely undersupplied. At present, the DRC’s annual per capita consumption of cement is 16kg, which is the lowest in Africa.

“This investment is another of PPC’s commitments to invest in sub-Saharan Africa and we are very confident about the DRC. “We look forward to a growing contribution and partnership with the DRC in the years ahead,” he said.

The DRC government has put emphasis on infrastructure projects and South Africa-based companies have been encouraged to explore the opportunities offered by its new special economic zone.

Last year PPC acquired a 27 per cent stake in the Habesha Cement Share Company in Ethiopia for US$12m and 51 per cent of Cimerwa of Rwanda for US$70m. The construction of the US$130m Habesha cement plant is scheduled to begin this month, with output starting in October 2015 to coincide with the commencement of production at its Rwanda plant.

PPC has also received its Zimbabwean indigenisation certificate, which opens the way for it to expand its operations in that country where it plans a new 1Mta plant.