French cement demand due to drop 7% in 2012, says union president
First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com
The president of French cement industry union SFIC said he expected a 7% drop in national demand for cement in 2012.
Rachid Benyakhlef said the reduced demand would contrast the 8.6% cement demand increase in 2011. He added that cement production was expected to be under 20million tonnes in 2012.
Despite the forecasted decline in demand for cement, Holcim is opening a new grinding unit in La Pallice, and Kercim is opening a new grinding unit in Saint-Nazaire.
Benyakhlef said the drop in demand was partially due to less housing construction (380,000 units expected in 2012 compared to 420,000 in 2011), which has been affected by the change in real estate investment tax structure and tougher loan conditions in banks. In addition, public works investments have dropped. Benyakhlef said cement companies are looking for ways to reduce costs in order to compete with cement imports, which account for 8% to 9% of cement in France.
According to the SFIC president, one measure could be increasing the amount of alternative combustible (tyres and waste, among others) from 30% to 50% or 60%. Another might be focusing on multi-component cement, which requires less clinker and has a healthier environmental impact.
Benyakhlef said the cement production sector must work to meet French environmental law, boost energy efficiency through its products, determine means to keep jobs in France, and support efforts to build one million more residences.