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PPC to build factory in Zimbabwe

Feb 07 2013 14:10 Reuters

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Johannesburg - South Africa's biggest cement maker PPC is to build a cement factory in Zimbabwe, it said on Thursday, as part of its stated plan to boost the proportion of sales from outside its mainstay home market to at least 40% by 2016.

PPC, which has had a presence in the southern African country for a century, did not say how much the one the plant would cost.

A senior executive was quoted in the Business Day newspaper last year as saying it would spend $200m on a cement factory in Zimbabwe.

Stuck with a lacklustre economy and a glut of buildings following a construction boom that ended with the 2010 soccer World Cup, PPC and other South African building firms are looking north for growth.

PPC, which paid $69m for control of Rwanda's only cement maker in December, has said it could spend up to $300m expanding further into the fast growing continent.

The company also spent $12m in July for a nearly quarter of Ethiopia's Habesha. It has said it plans to double the stake and Habesha's annual output capacity from 1.4 million tonnes.

PPC's expansion into the rest of Africa, where it currently makes about 20% of sales, will likely pit it against larger rivals Nigeria's Dangote Cement and Morocco's Lafarge Ciments.

The new factory in Zimbabwe, where PPC already runs two plants, would serve markets in the capital Harare and central Mozambique, it said.

PPC is also looking at to build another plant in teh country's Mashonaland province.

Shares in the company were little changed at R32.08, largely in line with the All Share [JSE:J203] index, which was 0.5% higher.

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