Zimbabwe: Lafarge upgrades plant

Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe has approval from its France-based parent company, Lafarge Group, to upgrade its plant at a cost of $5 million this year.

The cement maker last year announced plans to invest about $10 million-$15 million on upgrading its milling plant to increase production by nearly a third of current capacity and bring approved investment threshold to $20 million.

According to the company, the plant upgrades will push its volumes to 500,000 tonnes of cement a year.

Lafarge Zimbabwe chief executive, Amal Tantawi told the Herald Business that the company has managed to secure an additional funding for the upgrade of the plant.

“We are continuing the investment. We secured an approval for an additional $5 million and all the investments will go towards rehabilitation of the plant, refurbishing inlets to the kiln and other small things that will reduce costs,” she said.

“In terms of our outlook for 2015, we are slightly above budget when it comes to EBITDA. Preparatory work done at the plant has started bearing fruits and we hope this new investment approved will go a long way in enhancing our cost-cutting initiatives based on plant efficiencies,” Tantawi said.

She said despite the difficult economic environment, Lafarge invested $7.2 million in capital programmes, with $5 million going to limestone quarry development. Tantawi said the company has found it difficult to export citing lack of competitiveness as the biggest challenge for the leading local cement manufacturer.


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