Amaravati is reportedly the city in heaven, where the resident gods have attained immortality. Down in our mortal planet earth, the cement industry in south of India may have been waiting for the elixir of life for quite a long time now, which they have got in the shape and name of Amaravati, the proposed new capital of Andhra Pradesh, which is expected to herald in a big construction boom in the region. Indian cement market is broken up into 5 regions for any kind of analysis, and among these, the south region has been doing rather badly for the last 5-10 years in terms of demand growth and consequently also in terms of capacity utilisation and prices. The prolonged confusion regarding formation of Telengana state did not help matters at all. Overall a region which in the past was the darling of analysts and the driver of demand growth in India has been playing far below its potential in the last decade. As against an exciting growth of 25 per cent in 2005-06 the consumption growth slowed down to as low as -3 to +1 to +2 percent only, in the recent years of 2011-2014, bringing the region to a crawl. Now that the divided states of Telegana and Andhra Pradesh have taken shape, the business community of both these states are expected to come out of their stupor and invigorate investments. Not only that the governments in the two states are expected to kick-in infrastructure building in a big way and the new capital is just one big example.
If the southern region has been waiting for a catalyst to grow cement demand, then this may be it. We expect the other segments of cement consumption to rally round the imminent infrastructure boom and eventually, 2016 -17 could well be the year when the dark horse south region may once again be on the driver?s seat of our country?s cement demand growth. For us, the south side story, in the medium term is full of optimism which is true for India as well.
The expected demand growth will also help the bulk material handling equipment industry which has been hit by the slackness of demand and low capacity utilisation. Our comprehensive feature on BMHE industry tracks the technology and product trends. The BMHE industry is very much dependent on streamlined policy environment and clear road map for the mineral industry to thrive. As the potential for infrastructure development is tremendous, the industry expects a double digit growth in the near future.
In this issue, we have covered the branding that we see in the cement industry. While in the developed countries cement has become fully commoditised, in developing countries where the individual / retail customers still hold sway, cement is almost like a branded FMCG. In country like ours, judicious investments in brand development gives a good return on investment.Therefore, it is always very interesting to analyse the brands in terms of what they promise and how they compete with each other in terms of positioning.
Sumit Banerjee Chairman, Editorial Advisory Board
Adani Group to invest Rs 55,000 cr in Gujarat projects, including cement plant
Billionaire Gautam Adani announced over Rs 55,000 crore investment in next five years in a clutch of projects in Gujarat including the world’s largest solar park, a copper plant, a cement unit, and a lithium battery manufacturing complex, envisaging direct employment to 50,000 people.
Adani Group, which operates Mundra port in the state, announced plans to foray into petrochemical business with a Rs 16,000 crore project with German chemical major BASF.
Speaking at the 9th Vibrant Gujarat Summit here, Adani said his group’s investments in Gujarat in the past five years exceed Rs 50,000 crores and “we are further accelerating our investments.”
“Over the next 5 years, our investments will include the world’s largest solar hybrid park in Khavda. The anticipated investment in this park is Rs 30,000 crore. We also plan to establish a 1 GW Data Center Park in Mundra, a one million ton copper smelting and refining project, a cement and clinker manufacturing unit in Lakhpat, an integrated Lithium battery manufacturing complex and expand our Photovoltaic manufacturing capabilities. Overall, we anticipate a total of Rs 55,000 crore of investment in all these projects,” he said.
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Bangladesh’s Chhatak Cement announces modernisation project
Bangladesh’s Chhatak Cement Co Ltd has announced plans to modernise its facility and convert it from wet process to dry process. The company has begun to prepare a development project proposal, with a schedule to implement the upgrades by 2021.
According to company officials, Chhatak Cement has incurred an accumulated loss of over BDT3.63bn (US$43.25m) between FY13-14 and FY17-18, mainly due to its outdated machinery resulting in loss of production capacity. The plant is currently operating at 70,000 tonnes per annum (tpa).
However, the new project is anticipated to boost production capacity and increase annual company profit to around BDT1bn. The modernisation is expected to be financed by a BDT8.9bn investment from the government, with BDT5.34bn as a loan with a payback period of seven years and the rest as equity, according to The Financial Express.
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Forced shutdown of Viet-Dung Quat cement plant in Vietnam
The Dai Viet-Dung Quat cement plant has been forced to temporarily shut down in the central province of Quang Ngai due to environmental pollution. Since 26 May, the locals had gathered in front of the plant to call for a shutdown.
Director of Central Region Cement JSC Trinh Van Dien, investor in the Dai Viet-Dung Quat cement plant, said, “We invited an environmental monitoring team to check the dust concentration and the results are safe. The local Department of Natural Resources and Environment hasn?t reached a conclusion on the noise level yet.”
He added, “We?ve had to temporarily close the plant, meaning we”re losing VND300m (US$13,437) and the 100 workers are kicking their heels at home. I don”t know what to do.”
The ground clearance work should have been done this year but the coal-powered plant project was delayed until 2020. As a result, the ground clearance work has also been delayed.
According to the locals, they want to be compensated for the relocation if the plant stays. “We don?t want to stay. We have to move,” local Nguyen Ne said.
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