Holcim loses millions to crooked execs

(Phillipines)  —  Holcim, a major player in the cement industry, is being rocked by what appears to be systematic plunder involving several personnel, including a handful of ranking officials.

Reports indicated that an intensive investigation is now going on following discovery that some P30 million was missing from the corporate coffers, and the investigators were inclined to believe that the amount was just the tip of the iceberg since the anomaly allegedly spanned a five-year period starting in 2004.

The mess involved invoice padding and consultation fees, among others.

Some of those suspected of complicity in the financial foul-up have been either put on preventive suspension or terminated with some being banned from the company’s premises, reports said.

Eight key officials of the finance department were allegedly put in the freezer pending completion of the investigation. One of them has been with the company for 10 years.

Other reports indicate that 13 staff members of the commercial department were also terminated as an offshoot of the scandal.

At least four Filipino executives on foreign postings, specifically Nigeria, have been recalled for questioning relative to the ongoing inquiry by Holcim lawyers.

On the other hand, Ed Sahagun, senior vice president for sales, marketing, distribution and technical services, was reportedly given a clean bill of health.

Holcim entered the Philippine cement industry in 1974, taking over some existing local plants, notably Alsons Cement Corp. and Union Cement Corp.

Holcim has a 40-year history dating back to the beginnings of Hi Cement Corp., the Davao Union Cement Corp., the Bacnotan Cement Corp. and the Alsons Cement Corp. The Holcim group employs over 1,400 employees in four plants nationwide

A listed company, Holcim operates four major plants in the country-one in La Union, another in Bulacan, a third in Davao City and the fourth in Lugait town, Misamis Oriental.

The plants have a total clinker production capacity per year of 7.2 million metric tons and annual cement production capacity of 8.7 million metric tons.

By: Estrella Torres

Source: www.businessmirror.com

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