Nigeria: Lafarge to invest US$307m into Ashaka Cement expansion

Nigeria: Lafarge to invest US$307m into Ashaka Cement expansion
Published: 08 July 2014


Ashaka Cement (Lafarge Group) has secured a NGN50bn (US$307m) credit facility, in addition to internally-generated cash flows to expand its cement production base.

Umaru Kwairanga, chairman of the Board of AshakaCem plc, disclosed that Lafarge Group was committed to the capacity expansion project in Ashaka and would deploy its global expertise in procurement and erection of new cement plant.

“Given the extent of preparatory work that has been done, the project is a reality and will soon become visible to all stakeholders,’’ he said of the ongoing project.

The cement maker has also acquired sufficient limestone and coal reserves to support existing and new plants, having signed contracts for equipment and engineering supplies.

The surrounding infrastructure (including access roads, site preparation and fencing), which is expected to support the erection of the new plant, is now reported to be underway.

In its recent release, AshakaCem said all members of the board of directors and its management team, with support by experts from other Lafarge Group’s businesses across the globe, were currently devoting energy to fast-track the expansion project to guarantee the future of the company, enhance job creation in the northeast (where it operates) and deliver economic and social welfare to the immediate communities.

“Two weeks from now, engines will be on ground and by the end of the year the site for the new line will be completely separated, with project infrastructure in place and erection and procurement of contracts negotiated and signed,” the statement said.

AshakaCem plc had a ground-breaking expansion ceremony in April this year in Gombe State, where it revealed plans to pump NGN100bn into capacity expansion, a coal-fired captive power plant, among other projects. These projects are estimated to be completed within 24-30 months.

While commenting on the recently-announced planned consolidation of Lafarge Group’s shareholding in AshakaCem, UniCem, Atlas and Lafarge South Africa, Guillaume Roux, country CEO of Lafarge Nigeria and Benin Republic, said Lafarge Group’s shares in these entities would be consolidated into Lafarge WAPCO, which would then transform to Lafarge Africa plc to reflect the vision for the new company. He emphasised that the consolidation of the Lafarge Group’s shareholding in Nigeria was not a merger of the entities involved, but that the transaction was rather a necessary step to speed up the expansion project, particularly in Ashaka.