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Morocco’s Cimaf prepares for clash with Dangote Cement in Gabon

By Omer Mbadi
Posted on Tuesday, 16 June 2020 09:52

Ciments de l'Afrique (Cimaf) production plant in Gabon.
Ciments de l'Afrique (Cimaf) production plant in Gabon. © Cimaf Gabon

The Moroccan cement manufacturer founded by Anas Sefrioui is taking out the chequebook and boosting its capacities, with the imminent arrival in Libreville of the Dangote group.

Ciments de l’Afrique (Cimaf) Gabon has just completed the installation of a second grinding line, with a capacity of 350,000 tonnes, at its Owendo cement plant in the suburbs of Libreville.

The subsidiary of the Moroccan company Ciments de l’Atlas, founded by Anas Sefrioui – who is also the CEO of the Addoha real estate group – has disbursed 9 billion CFA francs (13.7 million euros) for this production line, which will be inaugurated at the end of June.

At the same time, Cimaf Gabon, led by Salim Kaddouri, Regional Managing Director (Gabon and Congo), is investing 100m euros to build a clinker processing unit at Ntoum, 40 km east of Libreville.

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In total, the cement company is targeting annual production of some 850,000 tonnes thanks to these new investments.

This series of investments comes more than two years after the Gabonese government allowed the Moroccan group to consolidate in the country.

In July 2017, Libreville suspended cement imports for two years. Established in Gabon since 2013, Cimaf had a de facto monopoly situation in the country, via two establishments, Cimaf CIMGabon and Cimaf Gabon.

Overcapacity in the Gabonese market

Cimaf Gabon established its market power shortly after the Dangote group confirmed its intention to establish itself in Gabon.

The Nigerian giant in February announced an imminent investment of CFAF 45bn for the construction of a crushing unit at Owendo, with a capacity of one million tonnes. This unit is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2021.

This entry will certainly accentuate the overcapacity of the Gabonese market.

Cimaf’s current potential, which includes the Owendo and Franceville assets of CIMGabon, acquired in 2013 from Norway’s Heidelberg, is estimated at one million tonnes, to which can be added the 200,000 tonnes of Africa Cement & Steel Gabon, located in the Nkok Special Economic Zone.

These two players produced 538,729 tonnes in 2019, up 10.6% compared to 2018, and generated revenues of 39.6 billion CFA francs (+9.7%).

Local demand is only 600,000 tons annually. Traditionally, Congo and Equatorial Guinea are outlets for Gabonese cement.