Friday, October 22, 2010

PARAGUAY: INC reinició producción de su horno de clínker

La Industria Nacional del Cemento (INC) reinició esta semana su producción de clínker, luego de 10 días de paralización debido a la falta de fueloíl. De acuerdo a los datos de fábrica de Vallemí, llegó un cargamento del combustible de 4.000 metros cúbicos.

El último paro de horno de INC fue el número 14 de la administración actual, presidida por Optaciano Gómez Verlangieri, de acuerdo al archivo de nuestro diario. 

Según los técnicos de la cementera, el cargamento de fueloíl permitirá producir clínker, principal insumo del material de construcción, hasta la segunda semana de noviembre. 

La empresa contratada para la provisión de fueloíl, período 2009-2010, Proyectos y Construcciones (de Emigdio Lovera Martínez) entregó a la fecha poco más de 22.000 metros cúbicos de combustible del total de 56.000 metros cúbicos. 

Vale decir que debe alrededor del 40% de provisión, a pocas semanas de la finalización del contrato. El documento había sido firmado el 2 de noviembre de 2009 y su vigencia es de 12 meses a partir de esa fecha.    

Debido a los sucesivos incumplimientos de la proveedora, el horno quedó paralizado en varias ocasiones. Por ejemplo, del 6 al 12 de diciembre de 2009; también 18 de febrero al 17 de marzo del corriente año. Otros paros fueron del 24 de marzo al 2 de abril, del 12 de julio al 12 de agosto y el último, del 9 de octubre hasta los primeros días de esta semana. 

Todas estas paralizaciones son perjudiciales para el horno atendiendo a que normalmente, solo deben registrarse dos paros al año, según los técnicos. 


El stock de clínker de la INC para la elaboración del cemento es de 15.198 toneladas, de las cuales 4.795 se encuentran en tránsito; 3.703, en Vallemí (donde está el horno), y 6.700, en Villeta (lugar donde se realiza la molienda). 

Esta cantidad de materia prima permitirá la elaboración de 364.752 bolsas de cemento de 50 kilos, para siete días de expendio, repartiendo 50.000 bolsas diariamente (INC solo suministra de lunes a viernes). 

Asimismo, con la última provisión de 4.000 metros cúbicos de combustible se podrán elaborar 37.800 toneladas de clínker (en 21 días), que se traducen en 907.200 bolsas de cemento de 50 kilos. Esta cantidad permitirá a la estatal el expendio durante 18 días, si la entrega diaria es de 50.000 bolsas.

Baltic index falls, focus on China economy

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index .BADI, which tracks rates to ship dry commodities, fell for a fifth session on Thursday with sluggish activity taking its toll.

Brokers said there was still support for larger capesizes. The index, which gauges the cost of shipping commodities including iron ore, cement, grain, coal and fertiliser, fell 0.33 percent, or 9 points, to 2,720 points.

"The factors which drove the market up in the last couple of weeks are still in place," said Georgi Slavov, head of dry research and structured products at ICAP Shipping.

"I suspect (iron ore) activity will remain pretty strong for at least a couple of weeks ... there is a bit more way to go on the capes."

China's growth ebbed in the third quarter while inflation edged higher, suggesting that the world's second-largest economy was far from overheating and that an interest rate rise this week may be enough for now.

"The rate increase (in China) will not necessarily influence the investment activity in the country and therefore the purchasing of iron ore," Slavov said.

The Baltic's main index has been erratic this year, as it was in 2009, because of swings in Chinese demand for iron ore, the primary ingredient of steel. It reached a 2010 peak of over 4,200 points in May.

"We would keep an eye on any signs of more (policy) tightening, but for the time being, the rest of the year, China will likely continue to spur global equity and commodity markets with solid demand," Arctic Securities said.

Activity in the capesize market has also been volatile in recent months. A rally in August was driven by Chinese iron ore imports from Australia and Brazil on capesizes after Karnataka, India's second-largest ore producing state, banned exports from 10 of its ports in July.

Brokers said they were watching the development of Typhoon Megi which looked set to make a landfall on Saturday east of Hong Kong. Key oil and container ports in southern China closed on Thursday ahead of the typhoon.

"The typhoon is likely to result in delays in shipments and an increase in coastal congestion," Commodore Research said.

The Baltic's capesize index .BACI fell 0.16 percent, with average capesize earnings down $119 to $45,490. Capesizes typically haul 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal.

The Baltic's panamax index .BPNI rose 0.32 percent on Thursday, with average daily earnings rising to $17,545, while the supramax index .BASI fell 0.61 percent.

"Lack of demand and too many ballasters took the panamax market further down despite the strong cape market. Charterers were in the driving seat," broker Fearnleys said.

Analysts said freight rates would be dampened in the coming months by the pace at which new ships are set to enter the market between 2010 and 2012, despite indications of some vessel cancellations and delays.

INDIA: Sri Lanka new port lures Micro Car, Madras Cement

A new port being built in Sri Lanka's southern Hambantota has drawn investment proposals from local and foreign businesses including the local Senok Combine and Micro Car for vehicle assembly, officials said.

Madras Cements, India's fifth largest cement maker and part of Chennai-based Ramco Group, has also proposed investing in a cement terminal at the port, a greenfield site to be operated as a free port with no taxes.

A Sri Lanka Ports Authority statement said that 27 local and foreign companies among 63 that collected the request for investment proposals have submitted bids.

"The response shows investors are keen to invest in the new port," said Agil Hewageegana, SLPA chief engineer in charge of the port project in Hambantota known as Magampura Port.

He said some of the local firms that sent proposals are in joint ventures with foreign partners.

The new deep water harbour close to the main shipping route across the Indian Ocean, to function initially as an industrial port, was built by Chinese firms and largely funded by Chinese loans.

The SLPA received six investment proposals for cement terminals in Hambanthota when bids closed last week, two for vehicle assembly, two each for liquid petroleum gas and petro-chemical complexes, and three for warehousing.

Investors have also bid to set up a sugar refinery and a fertilizer plant.

The two local firms interested in vehicle assembly are Senok Trade Combine, agents for vehicle manufacturers like Audi, Subaru and Skoda, Transmec Engineering, which assembles the 'Micro Car' in Sri Lanka.

Pakistan's Jamshoro, based in Lahore, which had bid for part of the Shell Gas assets in that country has submitted a proposal for an LPG terminal.

Proposals petro-chemicals investments have come from a Singapore firm and Advance Surfactants Lanka, which makes industrial chemicals.

The SLPA said a total land area of 2,000 hectares belonging to the Magampura Port will be available for local and international entrepreneurs.

"Magampura Port is being developed as a multi-purpose, industrial and service port and aims to make the best of the expanding markets of the Indian sub-continent, with short transit times to India, Africa and the Gulf region," it said.

The government plans to start phase two of the project during the last quarter of this year with the contract agreement recently signed between China Harbour Engineering Company and SLPA.

The financial assistance would be extended by the the People's Republic of China on a concessionary basis, the statement said.

The second phase will expand and deepen the harbour, adding more berths and cranes to handle containers.

AFRICA: Senegal Exports Fall 10% in August to $175.7 Million on Cement Shipments

Senegalese exports fell 10.2 percent to 83 billion West African CFA francs ($175.7 million) in August on declining petroleum and cement shipments, the state statistical agency said.
Exports from the West African country rose 13.1 percent to 685 billion West African CFA in the first eight months of 2010, as total cement shipments increased 44.5 percent and gold shipments gained 7.6 percent, the agency said in a statement e- mailed to Bloomberg News.
Imports into the former French colony fell 20.1 percent to 175.3 billion CFA in the first eight months of the year, 4.0 percent higher than the same period in 2009, the statement said.

OMAN: Raysut Cement Company posts lower earnings

MUSCAT -- Raysut Cement Company has reported a 21 per cent decline in net profit before tax for the nine months ending September 30, 2010. Earnings eased to RO 19.03 million this year, compared with a profit before tax of RO 24.18 million during the corresponding period last year, Mohammed bin Alawi Ali Muqaibal, Chairman of the Board of Directors, stated in the Chairman's Report issued here yesterday.

Sales revenues slumped 30 per cent to RO 49.88 million this year, from RO 71.30 million during the same period last year. Gross profits were 19 per cent lower at RO 18.6 million this year, from RO 23 million earned during the same period last year.

Mohammed bin Ali attributed the decline to, among other factors, severe competition and demand recession. "The decline in profit may be attributable mainly to the severe competition from the external markets coupled with demand recession in the export markets put pressure both on sales volume and pricing, and also to the fall in prices of marketable securities compared with that in the last year. The prices of marketable securities, however, are recovering its ground since the beginning of the year. Cost reduction initiatives and drastic reduction in import have significant favourable impact on holding the profit at a level that otherwise would not have been possible to attain," he said.

During the period under review, the government had fully settled the company's claim of RO 6.12 million, being the excess of cost over sales price of cement imported to meet the demands of customers during the years 2007 and 2008. Of this claim, an amount of RO 4.53 million was already recognised in the books of relevant periods, while the balance of RO 1.59 million was recognised in the revenue of the current period, the Chairman said.

Despite the lower earnings, production of clinker during the nine months period ended September 30, 2010, was marginally higher at 1,613,317 MT, as against 1,570,693 MT produced during the same period last year, an increase of 2.7 per cent. Cement output jumped 20 per cent to 1,537,913 MT this year, as against 1,280,331 MT produced during the corresponding period of previous year. This significant increase in production offset any need for imports, as was the case during the previous year, the report said.

The company sold 1,556,788 MT of cement and 319,370 MT of clinker (aggregating 1,876,158 MT) during the first nine months of this year, as against 2,221,882 MT of cement and 96,772 MT of clinker (aggregating 2,318,654 MT) during the same period last year, a decline of 19 per cent.

"The inflow of cement from UAE coupled with price competition in the northern market in Oman, as well as the demand recession and competition in the export segment, have impacted the volume of sales and revenue during the period," Mohammed bin Alawi stated.

Price sensitivities would continue to be a factor during the rest of the year, the Chairman noted.
"Oman has witnessed a growth in public expenditure during the year as well as in domestic demand. While growth also is envisaged in the areas of infrastructure, tourism and residential projects, the supply of cement from UAE at an unviable price in the longer term is expected to continue during the year, exerting a pressure both on the volume and price of the product.

It is expected that even with some positive global and regional developments during the year, the impact of the price sensitivities would continue to exist affecting the average price realisation for the product as well as the volume of sales," he said.

ESPAÑA: Cimsa y Colacem finalizan los tres primeros silos en el puerto

Cimsa y Colacem ya han construido tres silos en el Muelle 21 de la Dársena de Poniente del puerto de Alicante, aunque está previsto que entren en funcionamiento el primer trimestre de 2011.

La crisis ha hecho cambiar el proyecto inicial. De los 17 silos de cemento que se contemplaban en el proyecto de 2007, se ha pasado a nueve de 36 metros de altura.

El traslado de las empresas que operan en el Muelle 14 del puerto deberá realizarse en un espacio breve de tiempo, ya que la Autoridad Portuaria de Alicante debe acometer cuanto antes la remodelación y mejora de toda la zona Volvo del puerto, tras la designación de Alicante como base para acoger el evento hasta 2017.

PAKISTAN: Lucky Cement profits down 34pc; FFBL earnings up 62pc

 Lucky Cement announced its first quarter results on Thursday, booking profits of Rs 727 million (EPS of Rs2.25) versus Rs 1.1 billion (EPS of Rs3.41) in first quarter of the fiscal year 2010 - a decline of 34 percent. 
The top line of the company showed a decline of 8 percent annually, primarily because lower dispatches during the year. Local cement dispatches of the company increased by 2.4 percent to 678k tons while exports sales fell to 713k tons, down 18.1 percent annually. Hence, total dispatches stood at 1.4 million tons, down 9.2 percent annually. Moreover, higher coal prices resulted in gross margin falling to 31% from 37% last year. 

Meanwhile, Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim (FFBL) announced its 9M2010 result on Thursday, posting earnings of Rs 2.9 billion (EPS: Rs3.14) versus earnings of Rs 1.8 billion (EPS: Rs1.93), an increase of 62 percent annually. In third quarter alone, the company posted earnings of Rs 1.2 billion (EPS: Rs1.29) against profits of Rs 1.3 billion (EPS: Rs1.4). 

Although the topline declined by 18 percent annually due to lower offtake during the year, however, higher prices of both urea and DAP pushed the margins up by 6ppt to 30% in 9M2010. Moreover, lower finance cost of Rs720mn (down 39%YoY) and profits of Rs129mn from its JV augmented the bottom line of the company. 

The company also announced a third interim cash dividend of Rs1.25 per share taking the cumulative dividend for the year to Rs3.05 per share.

AFRICA: Dangote Cement eyes 46.2m metric tonns production in five years

DANGOTE Cement Plc’s merger with the Benue Cement Company Plc may push the firm’s production capacity to 46.2 million metric tons in another five years
According to the conglomerate’s Chief Operating Oficer, Mr. Kunle Alake, the company was planning to raise capacity more than fivefold by 2015 through expansion in anticipation a boom in the construction industry across the continent.
He put the projection at 46.2 million tons by 2015, from the immediate increased capacity of the company’s capacity outside Nigeria to 16.2 million tons by 2015 and to 30 million tons within the West African nation.
The significant rise in the company production capacity, arose from the current modest production of 5.2 million metric tons of cement from the Obajana cement plant and BCC’s three million tons annually.
Alake said: “We’re in South Africa, Zambia, Senegal, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone; we already have terminals in Ghana and we plan to have a grinding mill in Cameroon,” Alake said. The company is also planning to build a plant in Congo Republic.”
The increased production capacity expected to result from the merger of the two entities, was said to have been necessitated by the massive construction of roads, houses, bridges and railways, across countries in Africa, creating demand for the building material market in Nigeria, a financial report which puts the annual demand growth for cement said.
The merged entity’s capacity was expected to exceeds that of Pretoria Portland Cement Co., which till now has been Africa’s largest maker of the building material, with annual capacity of eight million tons in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Dangote had raised its stake in Sephaku Cement in South Africa, to 64 per cent with the purchase of 779 million shares worth 779 million rand ($112 million) in June.

INDIA: Cement prices up 40% in a month

BANGALORE: After water and power problems, soaring cement prices have thrown a spanner in the wheel of infrastructure development . And most developers and people building independent homes are stumped for a solution. 

In the past month, this has severely hit house-building budgets as cement constitutes 25% of the overall cost. 
From Rs 165 for a 50 kg bag in the first week of September , cement is now being sold in some cases at as high as Rs 285. Even at this price, it's not easily available , according to builders. Some builders allege that cement manufacturers have cartelized and have deliberately cut production in order to raise prices. "This is happening too often and the government should have a regulatory body to curb it," said Dayananda Pai, managing director of Century Builders. J C Sharma, MD of Sobha Developers , says cement prices have increased by 40% in the last one month. "It is sudden and unprecedented ," he said. 

Builders are passing on the cost increase to consumers . "But what about individuals who have taken bank loans and invested their savings into building a house? They'll be hit hard. Already many projects have come to a standstill," said Pai. 

It is said that the government has referred the issue to the Competition Commission of India. 

"The government needs to direct leading players — India Cements, Birla (UltraTech ) cements, ACC, Bharathi Cement and others — to produce to capacity . Then cement will be easily available and the cost too will not double,'' said Sharath Reddy of Sindhya Builders. Cement manufacturers deny there is any cartelization . T S Krishnaswamy , marketing head, TN Region, India Cements, said short supply of power and increased cost of coal have resulted in drop in cement production. Builders, however, don't buy this argument . "Coal price has increased by 5-10 %. How can that lead to an 80% increase in cement price?" asks Pai. 

Civil engineer Vasudev Rao said many construction workers, civil engineers and contractors, especially those working on individual units, will be out of jobs if the high cement prices continue.

MEXICO: Cerrara industria del cemento con caida de 6.0% en 2010

El 2010 sera otro ano desolador para la industria del cemento en el pais, ya que se preve una caida 4.

0 por ciento en produccion y 6.

0 por ciento en consumo nacional, a pesar de crecimiento esperado para la economia mexicana este ano.

El presidente de la Camara Nacional de Cemento (Cancem), Osmin Rendon, explico que esta caida obedecera al retraso en la ejecucion del Plan Nacional de Infraestructura, asi como a una disminucion en las remesas hacia el pais, lo que impacta la compra de material de la autoconstruccion.

"Si genera un impacto importante a nuestro sector al no detonarse en plenitud.

Nuestras expectativas de cierre es una disminucion de 4.

0 y 6.

0 por ciento en terminos de lo que es la produccion y el consumo nacional, entonces ya tenemos una repercusion si lo comparamos contra 2009", dijo en reunion con medios de comunicacion.

Esta problematica se viene arrastrando practicamente desde la segunda parte de 2008, pues "llevamos acumulados ya dos anos y medio de esta situacion", destaco tras un recorrido por la planta Barrientos de Cemex, en el Estado de Mexico.

Abundo que el pais requiere de infraestructura para que pueda progresar, por lo que insistio en que hay que detonar en su maxima expresion ese programa nacional para poder avanzar.

Insistio en que "para vislumbrar un mejor 2010 requerimos forzosamente que ese Plan Nacional de Infraestructura detone ya en su totalidad, y que el plan nacional de vivienda tambien tenga una reactivacion importante porque ha estado un poco estancado".

El representante gremial resalto que otro factor que esta impactando a la industria es la Ley de cambios que genero una disminucion en las remesas, impactando en la adquisicion de materiales para autoconstruccion.

El 70 por ciento de las ventas de cemento es a granel que se utiliza para la autoconstruccion, preciso.

No obstante, resalto que el sector sigue trabajando y buscando nuevas areas de oportunidad y nuevos productos que permitan ofrecer a los consumidores nuevas alternativas.

AFRICA: PPC earnings seen 20-30 percent higher

Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) said on Tuesday that its headline earnings per share for the year ended September 2010 are expected to be between 20% and 30 percent higher compared to the previous corresponding period.

Earnings per share are expected to be within a 10 percent range of the previous corresponding period's EPS.

PPC referred shareholders to its trading statement dated 28 October 2009 and that the R490 million IFRS2 charge relating to PPC's Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment transaction and the take-on gain of R213 million relating to the consolidation of Portland Holdings Limited, the company's Zimbabwean operations, outlined in the results for the year ended September 2009 will not recur.
As a result of the non-recurrence of these charges, PPC's HEPS are expected to be between 20 percent and 30 percent higher for the year ended September 2010.

PPC also advised that, excluding these adjustments, normalised EPS and HEPS for the year are expected to be between 10 percent and 20 percent lower than the previous corresponding period.

PPC expects to release its annual results on or about 9 November and stakeholders were reminded that the company is in a closed period until then.

ESPAÑA: El consumo de cemento cae un 12 por ciento en septiembre, hasta los 3,1 millones de toneladas

El consumo de cemento en Andalucía ha descendido entorno al 12 por ciento en septiembre con respecto al mismo mes de 2009, hasta alcanzar los 3,1 millones de toneladas, según los datos facilitados por la Agrupación de Fabricantes de Cemento de Andalcuía (AFCA) a Europa Press.

En este sentido, la industria cementera andaluza está compensando "parcialmente" esta menor actividad constructora con un incremento de las exportaciones, según indica AFCA.

Así, el sector ha vendido hasta agosto a terceros países, fundamentalmente en Europa y norte de África, un total de 534.000 toneladas, lo que significa casi duplicar las ventas en mercados internacionales.

Para AFCA, "este esfuerzo exportador de la industria andaluza se ve compensado en parte por las importaciones de cemento que han ascendido en este año hasta la fecha a 355.000 toneladas".

Sin embargo, la entidad apunta a unas perspectivas para los próximos meses de descenso en el consumo de cemento similares a los actuales, ya que "a la mínima actividad del sector de la edificación hay que añadir la repercusión que el recorte en las inversiones de obra pública puede tener en la demanda de cemento".

INDIA: Deadlock continues as truckers strike at Ambuja plant in Himachal

A 13 day long truckers strike continued as talks between truckers and Ambuja Cement over the hike in freight charges today failed to break the deadlock.
‘We have not been able to solve the issue so far. We are still on the job,’ Principal Secretary, Transport, T.G. Negi was quoted in the media.
The talks had taken place at the initiative of the state government. Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has constituted a committee to end the deadlock.
More than 3,000 truckers are on strike, refusing to lift goods of Ambuja Cement from its two units in Darlaghat in Solan district.
Truckers are demanding freight charges for transporting clinker and cement at the rate of Rs. 925 per tonne against the prevailing Rs. 478 per tonne.
An Ambuja official said the strike has severely affected the normal production at the two units as the company has not been able to function at its normal pace since the strike began Oct 7. The strike has piled up stocks of about 40,000 tonnes of cement bags and 195,000 tonnes of clinker.

REPUBLICA DOMINICANA: Environment Minister says Cemex Dominicana pollutes major river

Santo Domingo.- Environment minister Jaime David Fernandez Mirabal yesterday accused some industries of polluting the Higuamo river by dumping waste and warned Cemex Dominicana of drastic measures if it doesn’t halt that practice.
The official said Environment conducts a plan to recover the Higuamo that includes forcing the industries to install treatment plants, and affirmed that some have already taken measures, but noted that the sugar mills still dump their waste directly into the river. “They dump the hot water in the river. The Higuamo in some periods has a temperature that averages 40 © and a PH of 4.5, at that temperature little life can survive in the Higuamo. That’s incredible.”
Fernandez Mirabal, interviewed by newspaper El Caribe, affirmed that the authorities managed to get the Cesar Iglesias and Brugal factories to install treatment plants at the river, but the cement maker Cemex Dominicana “continues spilling such a high level of particulates that it pollutes the Higuamo.”
He said whenever the authorities ask it to stop contaminating, that company resorts to its “famous damaged filter. We sent a letter telling them that our flexibility could appear to be complicity and we don’t want that, they promised us that they are going to correct it in just a short time because those smaller particulates les enter people’s lungs.”
As to the alleged delays when companies request Environment Ministry permits, the official admitted being ”unwavering,” but blamed the technicians hired by them. “They do like the bad doctors who leave a patient hospitalized a few days more to charge more. They say they have to pay me because ‘that minister is unwavering, he’s a hard bastard.”
No frontal fights
The Environment Minister added that he makes a big effort to recover the Higuamo river, but noted that he’s confronted by sectors powerful “the fight cannot be waged directly, frontally, instead in a sustained manner because once we tighten the grip on an owner  of a factory that pollutes, the press slams the Environment Ministry.”

EEUU: Mantra to Deploy Carbon Capture and Recycling Technology at Lafarge Cement Plant

Mantra Venture Group Ltd. is pleased to announce that it has secured an ERC demonstration project with Lafarge Canada Inc.
Lafarge North America Inc., together with its subsidiary, Lafarge Canada Inc., is the largest diversified supplier of construction materials in North America.
Over the course of the project, Mantra, Lafarge and its wholly owned subsidiary Systech Corporation, will build and deploy a 100 kg Electrochemical Reduction of Carbon Dioxide (ERC) pilot plant at one of Lafarge's North American cement plants. The project is expected to further advance Mantra's ERC technology for large-scale applications and demonstrate the effectiveness of Mantra's ERC technology in converting CO2 into valuable green chemicals. 
John Russell, VP of Technology, commented: "This is a tremendous opportunity for Mantra's ERC technology -- the benefits of which are twofold. Firstly, Mantra will gain valuable experience and exposure through its first-ever North American ERC pilot demonstration project. Secondly, Mantra may have the opportunity to deploy commercial-scale units across multiple Lafarge sites upon completion of the project."
Randy Gue, Director of Resource Recovery and Business Development at Lafarge Canada Inc., noted: "Lafarge is continuing to look for new and innovative ways to reduce our carbon footprint and make our operations even more sustainable. We are excited to be involved in this trial and are hopeful the Mantra Energy technology can prove to be a commercially viable option for utilizing the CO2 in our cement plant stack gases." 
Larry Kristof, CEO of Mantra, added: "ERC could potentially reshape the way industry mitigates CO2 emissions, and industry leaders such as Lafarge are starting to recognize the economic and environmental potential contained therein. Lafarge's commitment to sustainable development is particularly admirable, and we look forward to helping the company achieve their corporate and social responsibility objectives." 
The project is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2011, and further details will be announced as they become available.

CARIBBEAN: Carib Cement cuts price

In an effort to recapture share in the domestic market defined by economic downturn and an insurgence of dumped cement, Caribbean Cement has dropped the price on its main product — Carib Plus — by 7.5 per cent.
Carib Cement's general manager, Anthony Haynes, said the company is also saw this as "an opportune time to be aggressive with pricing and give people an opportunity to rebuild at the lower price", following the effects of Tropical Storm Nicole.
"We are trying to stimulate sales — the dumped cement that comes in from the DR (The Dominican Republic) and the US has been discounted below our product, which has been eroding market share," Haynes told the Business Observer in a telephone interview yesterday. "This is a direct response to win back market share and we also hope to stimulate demand."
Haynes said the new price of $525 per 42.5 kilogram bag of Carib Plus was determined by market surveys and through direct discussions with customers.
"It's not an exact science but $50 (discount) is a nice number... we hope it will cpature the interest and imagination of the people," he said.
Prior to the latest move, Carib Cement had increased the price of its cement by an average of 3.2 per cent in mid-June this year.
However, Lower domestic demand — approximately 18 per cent less than the same period last year and down by 36 per cent since the start of the recession by Carib Cement's estimation — has hurt the manufacturers' sales. While an aggressive export thrust that led to 30 per cent of the company's production for the year thus far being exported did not generate enough revenue to compensated for the loss in domestic revenues.
By Haynes reckoning exporting the product helps bring down the fixed unit cost but he ihopes that "the increased sale wiill compensate for the price reduction and that we will have a net positive revenue and contribution benefit".
The reduction in the local sales volumes has come just after the company invested US$177 million in the modernisation and upgrade of its plant and equipment, which put exceptional pressure on the company's ability to meet its financial commitments.
Carib Cement even kept its new Kiln 5 clinker manufacturing line out of service for 40 days -- starting in August -- to reduce high inventory levels of both clinker and cement.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

TRADELAND is in its fifteenth year of existence and evolving at a dramatic and exciting pace.  As you can see in our periodical Newsletters, our projects which truly aim to reflect our mission to facilitate cement, clinker and cementitious products trading among our clients.

We hope you will continue to engage with our work as we grow and expand in the coming years.
As part of our yearly planning we would like to inform you that a Delegation from TRADELAND will be attending to the next intercem at Singapore

    *  Intercem Asia taking place next October 25th–27th in Singapore.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ESPAÑA: Cementos Portland Valderrivas presenta tres cementos de uso específico

La fabricante Cementos Portland Valderrivas ha presentado los cementos especiales 'MicroVal', 'RapidVal' y 'UltraVal' en fechas recientes. 'MicroVal' es un microcemento ultrafino de altas prestaciones de durabilidad, con un tamaño de partículas inferiores a 32 micras en el tipo TP-32 y por debajo de las 12 micras en el TP-12, destinado a solucionar problemas de permeabilidad y fisuras.

Por su parte, 'RapidVal' constituye un conglomerante hidráulico de fraguado muy rápido (4-5 minutos) y resistencias iniciales rápidas (15 minutos), especialmente indicado para trabajos de albañilería y restauración. Finalmente, 'UltraVal' es un cemento de muy altas prestaciones mecánicas, especialmente a cortas edades, que permite la inmediata puesta en servicio en obra y está indicado en construcciones de elevada resistencia como torres eólicas y pistas de aeropuertos, entre otras.

INDIA: Ambuja says strike hits cement output

India's No. 3 cement maker Ambuja Cements Ltd said on Monday despatches and production at its plants in Himachal Pradesh had stopped since October 7, due to a transport strike.
The company, in which Swiss cement maker Holcim holds about 46%, did not give details of the likely financial impact of the strike.
The two plants in Himachal account for about 2.8 million tonnes, or about 13% of the company's total annual capacity of 22 million tonnes.

IRAQ: Iraq to restore war-battered factories

 Iraq plans to spend around $680 million in 2011 to renovate its dilapidated factories and start new projects, a senior Industry and Minerals Ministry official said on Monday.

Haifa Hamid, head of the investment department in the ministry, said the economic reform plan was focused mainly on renovating existing factories or establishing new ones under a private-public partnership plan.
“From 2011, we have, altogether 800 billion Iraqi dinars ($684.2 million). Six hundred billion Iraqi dinars is for the rehabilitation. The remainder, about 200 billion Iraqi dinars, is for building new projects,” she told Reuters in an interview.
“We are thinking of cooperating with the private sector. The participation of the public sector should be limited. Later on, even that percentage of participation will be reduced gradually (and) it will be transferred to the private sector.”
Iraq is trying to shake off the legacy of years of violence, sanctions and economic decline by opening up its economy and luring foreign investment and expertise to help it rebuild.
Many of Iraq’s 240 factories were looted in the aftermath of the 2003 U.S. invasion. Some are outdated or located in areas still controlled by Islamist insurgents.
Sectors open for investment range from construction, engineering, petrochemicals and fertilisers to food, drugs and textiles.


Eight foreign firms, including French and Japanese companies, have so far invested in various sectors under Iraq’s Industry and Minerals Ministry, Hamid said.
Earlier this year, the ministry awarded a $200 million contract to France’s Lafarge SA to rehabilitate Kerbala cement factory, while Japan’s Marubeni Corp and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd won a contract in December 2009 for the Kubaisa cement factory in Anbar province.
“Iraq is a virgin country for investment. We have natural resources, in addition to oil,” Hamid said. “The one who wins is the one who will come now. The security, this is the main risk ... But it should get better.”
While violence in Iraq has dropped from the height of sectarian bloodshed in 2006-2007, foreign investors are wary and explosions and attacks happen daily.
Hamid said investors had also complained about some of the country’s regulation, particularly the investment law, which she said was under review.
“We have to make some amendments to some of the articles to improve the law so that there will be more encouragement to the investors to invest,” she said.
Hamid said the ministry had opted for gradual economic reform by choosing a slow move towards privatisation in order to protect government employees from losing their jobs.
Iraq has half a million employees that are seen as a burden on the ministry’s shoulders as it cannot dismiss them because of the law and has to keep paying them salaries.
Hamid said the Finance Ministry had allocated 1.8 trillion Iraqi dinars to the ministry since 2006. (Writing by Aseel Kami; Editing by Alison Williams) REUTERS

Supreme Court to weigh immunity in post 9/11 crackdown

WASHINGTON, Oct 18, 2010 (AFP) — The US Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether the top US justice official is immune from lawsuits stemming from a crackdown on Muslims following the attacks of September 11, 2001.
The case involves a suit filed against John Ashcroft, the attorney general under former president George W. Bush, by Abdullah al-Kidd, a US citizen detained for 15 days as a material witness in a probe of terrorism.
A lower court ruled that Ashcroft, who is being sued for violating the man’s constitutional rights, is not immune from litigation. An appeals court upheld that decision, which would allow the case to go forward.
Ashcroft’s attorneys argued that the appeals court “committed a series of fundamental errors, the immediate effect of which is to expose the former attorney general to burdensome litigation and potential damages for the conduct of his subordinates.”
Al-Kidd’s lawyers maintained that in the aftermath of the worst terror strikes in US history, “dozens of individuals, including many United States citizens like respondent al-Kidd, were arrested as material witnesses pursuant to a policy adopted and implemented by petitioner Ashcroft.”
The brief argued that the actions violated the rights of al-Kidd and others.
“The impetus for arresting these individuals was not to secure their testimony for a criminal proceeding,” it said.
“Rather, these were individuals whom the government viewed as suspects and wished to detain and investigate.
“But because the government lacked probable cause to arrest these individuals on criminal charges, it had them arrested as material witnesses, thereby circumventing the Fourth Amendment’s traditional probable cause standard and distorting the basic purpose of the material witness statute.”
The Supreme Court is expected to render its decision before the end of its term in June 2011.

Monday, October 18, 2010

PAKISTAN: Pakistan flood victims going into debt to rebuild

 With their villages in shambles, winter on its way and government help slow to arrive, Pakistan's flood victims are scrambling to rebuild their homes. Many are taking on debt as the price of construction materials has soared following the disaster that damaged or destroyed 1.9 million houses.
The rush to rebuild three months after the water first came tearing through is a sign of Pakistanis' lack of faith in the weak civilian government, a key U.S. ally in the fight against Islamist militants whose patchy response to the crisis has undermined its stability. The government has promised it would come up with a long-term reconstruction strategy, but flood victims say self-reliance is a more realistic, and timely, option.
Aid agencies say they, too, are facing the time crunch and are running short of funds to provide temporary shelter for those displaced by the deluge.
Ghulam Ali's three-bedroom, one-story house in this northwestern city collapsed during the floods. To rebuild, he has had to borrow 50,000 rupees ($583) from friends and family — what many Pakistanis earn in half a year — but it hasn't been enough to even get past the foundation. To top that off, the 46-year-old lost a fortune in tools and products when his shoe shop was damaged by the floods.
All around Ali in the Abakhel neighborhood of Nowshera city are damaged houses and desperate residents. An older woman next door cried as she begged for help to build "just a room and kitchen." A few streets away, a family unable to start rebuilding has pitched a tent within their damaged home's walls.
"Courage and hope is the only thing we have left," said Ali, whose family has been staying with relatives.
The only family that seems fairly far along in rebuilding is that of the local mason, who said he'll help others as soon as he gets a roof over his own head.
The floods began in late July and lasted for weeks — some areas are still under water. Around 20 million people were affected — one-third made homeless. In parts of the south and east, numerous villages were swallowed up by the swollen Indus river as it gushed toward the Arabian Sea. More than a million homes were affected in southern Sindh province alone, according to United Nations figures.
The U.N. has asked international donors for $346 million to provide flood victims with emergency shelter, such as tents, and transitional shelter, which are basic structures that typically last a few years. It has so far received only 20 percent of that request.
"We are doing the best we can with what resources we have, but more support is needed for shelter to protect families during the winter months ahead," said Stacey Winston, a U.N. spokeswoman.
Even getting transitional shelters up and running takes time. Catholic Relief Services in Pakistan aims to build 2,600 such shelters in the north and 16,000 in the south. Over the past two weeks, it has constructed about 100 total. The group says it is on track to finish the ones in the north before winter hits.
But in some areas, "people are definitely starting to build with whatever they can find," said Carolyn Fanelli, the group's head of programming in Pakistan.
The Pakistani government has pledged to provide 20,000 rupees ($233) per family now to help rebuilding, along with 80,000 rupees later.
But the distribution of the funds have lagged — most of the flood victims interviewed in Nowshera over the past week said they hadn't seen any government money. Even if they get the full 100,000 rupees ($1,165), victims complain it won't build much. Ali, for instance, estimates he'll need at least 450,000 rupees ($5,244) to rebuild his home.
Several flood victims said they would have to take on debt to finance their new homes, but were worried that without any assets, banks wouldn't lend to them. Others said they couldn't afford to take on loans if they had interest payments attached.
Asghar Ali, acting chief of the Disaster Management Authority in the northwest's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said authorities are trying to disburse funds in a fair manner. He said that in many far-flung villages homes can be built using mud, and 100,000 rupees should suffice.
"It's our responsibility. We are to provide them shelters. We would like them to go back as quickly as possible," he said.
As more flood victims try to rebuild, demand for materials has sent construction prices soaring.
Cement that sold for roughly 200 rupees ($2.33) a bag before the floods is now 370 rupees ($4.31), said Nadeem Khattak, whose family runs a construction firm and operates a relief camp for flood victims. The price of steel is up by at least a third, he said.
Reports have circulated about people stealing bricks from damaged homes, so many flood-hit families keep a member posted at their property to watch their pile. People who want to buy bricks will find they're 70 percent more expensive than before, said Khattak, whose own estate in Nowshera was badly hit.
Even many houses still standing will have to be torn down because they are too unsafe. Cracks were visible in the walls of several homes in Nowshera. Some families had hoisted wooden beams to support door frames. Walls were stained as high as 15 feet (4.5 meters), the top of the water line.
For many flood victims, the disaster is beyond anything they could have imagined — even for a largely impoverished nation of 175 million that has lurched from crisis to crisis over its 63-year history.
Several, such as 47-year-old Delkhushad Khan, a kitemaker, grew up in the houses vanquished by the water. Asked how he and others would survive, Khan offered a typical response: "We are at the mercy of God."