Lafarge Africa enters consolidation phase
The newly-emerged Lafarge Africa is showing strong confidence in the Nigerian economy, having entered into a consolidation phase.
Last Monday Lafarge completed the acquisition of its shareholdings in Lafarge South Africa Holdings (Pty) Limited (LSAH), the United Cement Company of Nigeria Limited (Unicem), AshakaCem plc (Ashaka) and Atlas Cement Company Limited (Atlas). The transaction makes Lafarge Africa the sixth-largest entity listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), with a market capitalisation of N521.9 billion.
Lafarge Africa now has 12 million metric tons (MT) capacity, with 5.5MT additional capacity by mid-2017.
As part of its consolidation exercise, the firm has entered into an electricity supply partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Wärtsilä worth $400 million.
The project could more than triple the output of Lafarge’s Ewekoro plant, improve electricity access for about 1.4 million Kenyan households and help mitigate energy problems of many Nigerian firms.
By implication, the cement maker will soon have the capacity to be self-sufficient and even sell excess energy to homes and companies.
“We hope we will be able to sell excess energy in 2015,” said Guillaume Roux, group CEO, Lafarge Africa plc. He said the firm remained the only cement maker in Kenya usinf local coal (at Ashaka) to produce cement, and that the firm now used biomass to replace fossil fuels at its Sagamu plant.
He said 10% of the firm’s needs had been replaced by biomass. As part of the consolidation exercise, Lafarge Africa aims to use more renewable energy sources and plans to have the capacity to use 50% of non-fossil fuels, including 30% of biomass in their plants.
By Odinaka Anudu