ASEC Cement, a leading regional cement group, announced today that its subsidiary ASEC Minya (formally Arab National Cement Company) has begun cement production at its 2.0 MTPA cement plant in Minya, Egypt. The plant has already been producing clinker for the past 3 months since May 2013.
ASEC Cement is a core platform of Citadel Capital (CCAP.CA on the Egyptian Exchange), the leading investment company in Africa and the Middle East, with USD 9.5 billion in investments across 15 countries and 5 core industries, namely energy, transportation, agrifoods, mining and cement.
The US$ 360 million greenfield plant has implemented the most advanced technology in the cement industry and is in strict adherence with international environmental standards.
“We are extremely proud to have been able to see this project through to completion despite the challenging operational environment,” said ASEC Cement CEO Giorgio Bodo. “The launch of cement production, which marks the official completion of this project, is a clear reflection of our confidence in the Egyptian economy and our belief in the country’s ability to recover from the current volatility.”
As the only cement plant in Minya producing Grey cement, ASEC Minya is perfectly positioned to serve other high-demand markets across Upper Egypt. The plant has created 400 direct and 800 indirect jobs in Minya.
“The new plant is a major milestone that will help boost economic development in the country and create new job opportunities for the local community,” said General Salah Eldin Mohamed Ziyada, Governor of Minya. “Since the start of the project, ASEC Minya has played an active role in the development of the governorate with important initiatives in support of educational and athletic programs in schools and universities across the governorate.
ASEC Minya will be connected to the national grid via a 42-kilometer transmission line that connects the plant to the Samalloot power station. The lengthy procedure will not allow the plant to have a connection to the electrical grid until the end of 2014 but in the meantime ASEC Minya has come up with a temporary solution with rented generators to provide power to the plant.
Construction on the plant began in December 2010 but work on site was interrupted one month later due to the Egyptian Revolution. In order to make up for lost time, ASEC Cement came up with a recovery plan that allowed it to arrive at clinker production in an impressive 28 months.
Located 250 kilometers south of Cairo and 50 kilometers north of the city of Minya, ASEC Minya is the second greenfield cement plant to be launched by ASEC Cement in 5 years. The first was Takamol Cement in Sudan, a 1.6 MPTA plant that began production in November 2010.
With operational plants in Egypt, Algeria and Sudan, ASEC Cement has plans to control 10 MTPA of cement production capacity by 2016. The company is currently the largest shareholder in ASEC Minya with a 45% stake in the project. Other shareholders in ASEC Minya include Misr Qena Cement (13.9%), Hayel Saeed (30.7%), IFU/FLS (9.2%) and other shareholders (1.2%).
ASEC Minya stands as one of Egypt’s largest project finance deals to date. Citadel Capital owns an indirect stake of 16.7% in ASEC Minya.