Kenyan cement giant awaits directors' approval for SA plant

Eric Ombok

Plans are afoot to build a cement plant in South Africa although procedure and budget have not been approved as yet.

Kenya's per-capita cement consumption has surged 60% to 85.7kg over the past five years versus 300kg in South Africa and 500kg in Egypt. (AFP)

ARM Cement, Kenya's second- largest maker of the building material, has yet to receive its directors’ approval for a plan to construct a plant in South Africa, Managing Director Pradeep Paunrana said.

"We have not approved any budget or plans at our board yet," Paunrana said in response to questions via text message on Thursday.

Mafikeng Cement, in which ARM has a 70% stake, plans to build a plant with daily capacity of 3 000 metric tons in the continent’s biggest economy, Nairobi-based Business Daily newspaper reported on Thursday, citing Paunrana.

Sub-Saharan African nations from Kenya to Nigeria are investing in the construction of ports, railways and power-generation projects that will help accelerate economic growth.

ARM is considering selling Eurobonds to help fund a planned $300-million expansion program that will double cement production within four years, Paurana said on November 7.

Kenya's per-capita cement consumption has surged 60% to 85.7kg over the past five years, according to Kestrel Capital East Africa. That compares with 300kg in South Africa and 500kg in Egypt, according to ARM. Bamburi Cement, the Kenyan unit of Lafarge SA, is the nation’s biggest producer of the material.

ARM shares declined for a second day, losing 2.8% to 87.50 shillings by 11:48 am in Nairobi. About 14 000 shares, or 11% of the daily average over the past three months, changed hands. – Bloomberg

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