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Global viewpoint: the cement markets in East and West Europe

World Cement,

Last year was described by Holcim as ‘another year of mostly decreasing or stagnating economic development across Europe, but conditions eased slightly in the second part of the year’. In recent months, the cement market in the United Kingdom has been stimulated by large infrastructure projects. There are predictions of growth in cement consumption of 2 – 3% this year. However, not all is that promising in those countries where political uncertainties remain or consumer confidence is depressed – particularly in France, Italy, Greece and Spain. Positive growth is anticipated in Germany, Norway and Sweden. Lack of financing for infrastructure projects is adversely affecting the construction industry in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.

Demand for building materials in Russia remains high and cement volumes continue to increase due to strong development in the country’s construction industry. HeidelbergCement reports that it has increased its stake in CJSC “Construction Materials” from 51% to 100% as part of the group’s strategy of low risk bolt-on acquisitions. CJSC’s 1.8 million tpa capacity plant is located in Sterlitamak in the Russian Republic of Bashkortostan. Russia’s Eurocement will invest US$70 – 80 million in a project to upgrade cement production facilities in Belarus. The project involves the conversion of the plant from the wet to the dry process.

The world is of course watching how the crisis in Ukraine will evolve. Talk of a return to the Cold War is in the air, in which case this time next year we may be reporting on a very different situation in the region.

Written by Paul Maxwell-Cook. This is an abridged version of the full article, which appeared in the July 2014 issue of World Cement. Subscribers can view the full article by logging in.

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