Foremost Nigerian Milling firm, Flour Mills Nigeria Plc, (FMN) have disclosed it has embarked on an expansion drive of its business operations to now include a full scale manufacturing process for Cement.
The Company which hitherto was into mere importation and distribution of Cement says its decision veering into Cement production is in direct response to Federal GovernmentÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¾Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢s policy initiative which emphasises local manufacturing of the product in the country.
To this end, Flour Mills has joined in a collaborative endeavor with two highly reputable foreign partners, Holcim Trading S.A of Spain and Orascom Construction Industries of Egypt with a view to manufacture Cement at Mfamosing, a locality near Calabar in Cross River State.
Already, the company says it is investing about the sum of $450 million (about N68 billion) on the construction of greenfield Cement Plant with annual production capacity of 2.5 million tons of Cement.
The plant construction work now in its advanced stages is expected to be completed and subsequently commissioned for use by the forth quarter of 2007 or early in 2008 at most.
Disclosing these facts was Chairman of the Organisation, Mr George Coumantaros while addressing shareholders at the 42nd Annual General Meeting of the Company held in Lagos.
Coumantaros, while giving further insights into the companyÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¾Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢s operation during the just ended business year pointed out also that the shareholding of United Cement Company of Nigeria Limited (Unicem) which was founded on 50-50 joint venture between Flour Mills and Holcim Trading will be restructured and strengthened in view of the huge capital outlay required for the successful execution of the new Cement Plant.
According to the Company boss, the new shareholding structure will allow Egyptian Cement Company (ECC), an associate company of Orascom Industries of Egypt to participate in the equity of Unicem.
ECC is the largest cement company in the Middle- East and North Africa region and owns the third largest cement production facility in the world. ECC together with Holcim brings a wealth of experience in the cement industry and specific expertise in the construction and management of greenfield cement plant in emerging markets, having successfully operated large plants in Egypt and Algeria.
UnicemÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¾Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢s new shareholding according Flour Mills boss will reflect a unique combination of international strength adding ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ We will leverage on the global industrial experience and technical expertise of our partners to produce Cement of international standard.
He expressed optimism that Cement production capacity in Nigeria will receive a big boost when the project is commissioned adding that the ongoing construction work has already started to boost the economy of the host State, Cross River as over 1000 employees have been offered jobs with favourable multiplier effect.
He further disclosed the company had acquired a new ultramodern gas powered generating machine worth a about N2.3 billion to boost power supply and enhance facility operation at its Apapa base factory complex in Lagos.
The plant, made up of seven Jenbarcher gas powered generators has a total generating capacity of 21 megawatts of electricity adding that the companyÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¾Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢s planed conversion from the use diesel to natural gas had started to yield immense benefits.