Tanzania Says It May Draw $9.2 Billion in Cement Investment

  • Three potential producers could double national output
  • State plans to develop new port, railway, crude pipeline

Three companies plan to invest as much as 20 trillion shillings ($9.2 billion) in Tanzanian cement production in projects that could double the nation’s installed capacity, Trade and Industry Minister Charles Mwijage said.

The government of East Africa’s second-biggest economy, with gross domestic product of $45 billion, has infrastructure projects planned, including the $10 billion Bagamoyo port development, a $7-billion railway and a $4-billion crude oil pipeline from neighboring Uganda that will require cement.

“There are big projects which are attracting people to put cement industries here,” Mwijage said Tuesday by phone from Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital. He declined to identify the potential investors or give their timelines. “I have people now at different stages of implementing their construction, others are at application, others have secured the land, others are on financing.”

Units of HeidelbergCement AG of Germany, Jona, Switzerland-based LafargeHolcim Ltd and Afrisam Investment Holdings Ltd. of South Africa already operate in the country and have installed annual capacity of 10.3 million metric tons. Production in Tanzania is about 7.1 million tons a year, while local consumption is 4.1 million tons, according to Mwijage. The surplus is exported to neighboring countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Undercut Competitors

Demand for cement is expected to grow as much as 8 percent a year in the “medium-term,” London-based Exotix Partners said in an October research note. Last month, Lake Cement Ltd., a closely held Tanzanian producer, announced plans to almost quadruple capacity to 1.9 million tons by building a new plant at Bagamoyo at a cost of $150 million, according to Standard Investment Bank, the Nairobi-based lender.

Dangote Cement Plc, owned by billionaire Nigerian investor Aliko Dangote, last year commissioned a 3-million ton plant in Tanzania’s southeastern region of Mtwara. The plant stopped production last week on some technical issues that have now been fixed, spokesman Carl Franklin said in e-mailed comments.

When Dangote began production in Tanzania in February, it undercut competitors such as Tanzania Portland Cement Co. and Tanga Cement Co. by selling at about $80 per ton, compared to a national average of about $90-$100 per ton, according to Exotix.

“We expect aggressive cost management strategies from all players to protect the bottom line,” Exotix said in its note.

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