CBR to close Harmignies cement plant, Belgium

CBR to close Harmignies cement plant, Belgium
Published: 23 January 2014

CBR, part of HeidelbergCement, announced Wednesday to staff representatives that the company plans to close the Harmignies 0.22Mta white cement plant in Belgium, a move which is expected to affect 97 jobs.

"This announcement can be explained by the structural difficulties faced by the plant as well as the deterioration of the white cement market. If it is confirmed, this could generate for the collective dismissal of 97 workers at the site," said the works’ management, stressing that a the process of information and consultation has started.

Structural issues such as  high production and logistics costs, the plant’s poor location, low production capacity, increasing competition and a fall in white cement demand are all factors behind the decision.

"Various measures have been taken in recent years to try to maintain the profitability of the plant, including restructuring in 2007 and 2013, as well as significant investments to reduce production costs of the site. But these measures and efforts have unfortunately not been sufficient to ensure the sustainability of the group at the Harmignies plant, which is no longer competitive enough and no significant improvement can be expected in the future ," said the executive.

CBR is the leading cement producer in Belgium and the only manufacturer of white cement in the Benelux.