Egyptian firm invests in SA

31 August 2007

Egyptian multinational company Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) announced plans this week to build a cement plant worth around US$440-million (R3.2-billion) in Mafikeng in South Africa’s North West province, in partnership with local black economic empowerment groups.

The Cairo-based multinational launched the Mafikeng Cement Company in the povincial capital on Wednesday. The company will begin production by 2010, with a planned capacity of 2-million tons per year.

OCI chief executive Nassef Sawiris said his firm was committed to building a state-of-the-art plant that would cater for the fast-growing demand for cement in the country, while also contributing to the local economy.

South Africa is currently going through a construction boom, with major projects such as the government’s R410-billion capital infrastructure upgrade, 2010 World Cup related infrastructure and the Gautrain leading to increased demand for cement.

“Our new subsidiary will contribute to the development of the North West province in numerous ways, including the creation of new job opportunities during and after the construction of the plant,” Sawiris added.

Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa said the investment would help ensure that the country had the resources and opportunities it needed to facilitate economic growth.

He added the deal was a good example of South African industrial policy, which aims to support broad-based growth as well as the continent’s productive capabilities by increasing regional trade.

OCI will own 67.5% of the new cement company, with the rest being owned by broad-based black empowerment groups, including traditional councils and trusts representing local communities.

Sawiris said that the provincial government, the Department of Trade and Industry and diplomats from Egypt had provided their support for their investment plans. He added the company was also pleased to partner with local communities, who played a vital role in the project.

“We are proud to be able to further contribute to the South African government’s black empowerment (BEE) initiative through partnering with a diverse base of BEE shareholders,” he said. reporter

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