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Holcim New Zealand will spend more than $100 million constructing a terminal

Aug, 01 2013



Holcim New Zealand will spend more than $100 million constructing a terminal to import and distribute bulk cement for the New Zealand market.

The terminal and related-infrastructure project is expected to be operating in two to three years and will be based on similar Holcim operations throughout the world.

Holcim NZ managing director Jeremy Smith said the site of the new terminal had yet to be decided. The company was investigating options at New Zealand ports.

Once operational, cement imported through the new terminal would replace production at the company's Westport plant. This would mean up to 130 jobs would go at Westport.

Holcim has signalled for some years that the Westport plant was not sustainable long-term.

The decision meant that the proposal for a cement plant at Weston, near Oamaru, was on hold, but Holcim would continue to maintain ownership of the land assets.

"We recognise that this decision has an impact for our staff, customers and for the Westport and Weston communities,'' Smith said.

''It's one we've arrived at after extensively investigating a range of cement supply options, and we will be working through the implications with those who will be impacted by the move.

"For the current economic environment, constructing an import terminal and importing cement is simply the most appropriate decision."

Smith has talked about a lift in earthquake-related rebuild work in Christchurch, particularly in the second half of this year.

The Auckland region also looked poised for a gradual recovery in demand for cement and concrete.

In the company's 2012 annual report, Holcim reported that cement sales had lifted on previous years.

Holcim's cement plant at Westport was more than 50 years old. A Weston plant could cost $500m-plus, Smith said.

Holcim NZ is a Christchurch-based subsidiary of a Swiss cement-maker, Holcim Group, with cement, aggregate and construction-related services represented in about 70 countries.

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