South Africa's PPC to build cement plant in Zimbabwe
South Africa's biggest cement maker PPC Ltd 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 percent 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 $200 million 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 $69 million for control of Rwanda's only cement maker in December, has said it could spend up to $300 million expanding further into the poor but fast growing continent.
The company also spent $12 million 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 percent 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 Zimbabwe's Mashonaland province.
Shares in the company were little changed at 32.08 rand, largely in line with the JSE all-share index, which was half a percent higher.