Ibeto rehabilitates NigerCem to shore up cement production
…as Ebonyi signs MoU with Lafarge on limestone exploration
Cletus Ibeto, chairman of Ibeto Group, is rehabilitating Nigeria Cement Company of Nigeria (NigerCem) to tap into the bulging built industry and raise the country’s cement production capacity, Real Sector Watch learnt.
A source close to Ibeto Group said the company is at the early stage of preparations and could start production in 2018.
Apart from production equipment and staff, starting a full-fledged cement company requires identifying mining sites and obtaining licenses, which Ebonyi State government has helped to sort out, the source said.
Cement makers need to mine limestone and gypsum, and must acquire sophisticated equipment and power sources to stay afloat, experts say.
Ibeto re-acquired NigerCem from Eastern Bulkcem, but the firm was mired in legal disputes since 2012. However, the resolution of the dispute was achieved in mid-2016, which now gives Ibeto access to NigerCem facilities.
In June 2016, a deed of understanding was signed between NigerCem and representatives of Nkalagu, Nkalaha, Umuhuali and Amaezu, which are the four host communities where the cement company is sited.
Ebonyi State owns 10 percent equity in NigerCem in the new arrangement.
With this, the once ‘Nkalagu Cement’ could join other players such as Dangote Cement; Lafarge Africa and its subsidiaries such as the United Cement Company of Nigeria (UniCem), Ashaka Cement, WAPCO and Atlas; Cement Company of Northern Nigeria (CCNN), and BUA to swell the industry.
Dangote is the leader of the industry with 29.25 million metric tonnes per annum (mtpa), controlling 65 percent of the market. When its Okpella (Edo State) and Itori (Ogun State) plants are completed in 2018, Dangote’s Nigerian capacity could reach 41.25 MT.
Meanwhile Lafarge Africa has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ebonyi State government for exploration of limestone in the state, Sunday Ugwuocha, senior special assistant to Ebonyi State governor on cement and salt production told Real Sector Watch.
“Any investor that wants to partner with the state government is welcome,” Ugwuocha said.
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