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India’s cement engine powers on

World Cement,

Latest statistics from India’s top players such as Jaiprakash Associates, Shree Cement and JK Lakshmi Cement continued in January where they left off in December with robust sales as a result of strong demand. Indications are that there will be another double digit growth following on from December’s figure of almost 11%.

Jaiprakash Associates sales were up 60% at 1.16 million t compared to the same month last year; JK Lakshmi dispatched 38% more cement in January, while Shree Cement reported a growth of 17.76%. Ambuja Cement sold 7.5% more at 1.74 million t and ACC dispatched 1.91 million t, up 1.06%. Birla Corporation, the flagship of M P Birla Group, achieved a third quarter rise of 37.98% compared to the same quarter in 2008, and recorded the highest ever dispatch at 1.5 million t.

In other news, Dalmia Cement has increased its holding in OCL to 45% by acquiring a 22% stake, which was held by the Chairman YH Dalmia, in his personal capacity. ACC has just acquired Vizag-based Encore Cement and Additives (ECA) for an undisclosed sum.

The takeover is said to strengthen ACC’s presence in coastal Andhra Pradesh. ECA has a slag grinding unit at Viskhapatnam and enjoys a long standing agreement with the Vizag Steel Plant that ensures a steady supply of slag.

Binani Cement has announced that its Dubai expansion plans are on hold due to the sharp drop in cement demand. The company is now pursuing other markets in the Middle East and emerging Africa to supply excess cement from its Dubai plant. Countries of particular interest to Binani include Kuwait, Iraq, Oman and Sudan. Machinery scheduled for the Dubai plant is being shipped to the company’s plants in Mauritius and Gujarat. At home, Binani is looking at the possibility of setting up a new plant in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) as part of its plans to increase capacity to 15 million t by 2012 from the existing 8 million t.

India currently has 70 cement companies with a combined capacity of 240 milion t. Estimates released by the Cement Manufacturers Association suggest that the India’s cement manufacturers could add another 110 million t, based on current production capacities, at an investment of some Rs.50 000 crore over the next three years. 

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