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Lafarge may build new plant in Zimbabwe

World Cement,

Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe, which is the country’s second largest producer after South Africa’s Pretoria Portland Cement, is said to be conducting a feasibility study to determine if it will build a new plant in five years to increase its installed capacity to 1 million tpa.

Lafarge SA CEO and Chairman, Bruno Lafont, said, “We’ve invested US$15 million on the existing plant over the past five years The future will require more investments from the Group. We’ll have to increase our growth in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries. We’re currently in the middle of our studies.” Lafont explained that Lafarge has a long-term view on Zimbabwe for three strategic reasons.

  1. Zimbabwe is a “thirst market” with an estimated housing deficit of about 1 million units, which signals the potential for future demand.
  2. The country’s centrality in southern Africa positions the local unit for organic expansion into the regional market.
  3. Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe can serve as a buffer to the group’s regional investments and markets, crowding out low-cost competitors, which would take advantage of a pullout to make inroads into its traditional markets.

Lafont said, “We remain positive in terms of how we view Zimbabwe. The country has a high level of education; it has huge potential and is in the middle of the region.”

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