2013 News


Sephaku Cement, South Africa’s customer-focused cement producer is pleased to announce that it has dispatched its first bags of cement to customers across Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. From its current offering of 50kg bags and bulk orders of Sephaku 32 and Sephaku 42 to its technical solution support and customer service, the company is in a position to deliver quality from start to finish.

Pieter Fourie, Chief Executive of Sephaku Cement said, “Building cement operations from the ground up has given us the opportunity to ensure that we use the most high-tech cement manufacturing equipment. We can dictate product quality rather than be dictated to by existing operational constraints that other producers face.”

“We want to ensure that every customer gets the best from our cement. We will assist technically from the start when a customer is deciding which class of cement is needed,” he added. The company’s value-driven service approach is backed by product testing and special mix design support provided by its Technical Laboratory based at its Delmas plant.

The founding team successfully navigated financing and development of their R3.2 billion company and projects through the global recession. Instilling confidence through their 200 years of combined experience in the cement industry and can do approach, they emerged with shareholding of 64% by Dangote Cement and 36% by Sephaku Holdings, together with local debt funding of R1.95 billion.

Sephaku Cement’s momentum in producing cement is well underway. “We are well prepared and ready to serve our customers in a way in which they have not been served before in this market,” concluded Fourie, whose leadership team all talk of the importance of delivering a ‘wow’ factor, from the way in which their people - right up to Fourie - are accesible, proactive and decision-focused.
The cement milling plant of Sephaku Cement, located to the South West of Delmas in Mpumalanga, the forerunner of the company’s Lichtenburg plant known as Aganang, is 95% complete. The plant , which will come in on budget, is on track for production early in the new year.

During the past week cold commissioning milestones have included the starting of the Mill motor, ID fan and mill separator, explains Heinrich de Beer, Engineering Project Manager at Sephaku Cement. “Clinker offloading is in full swing and in the stage of final setting optimisation.”

Gypsum offloading has also been commissioned with the first gypsum off loaded mid November. In addition, the packing plant is about to be hot commissioned with cement while the palletizer and stretch hood machines have been cold and hot commissioned. “Our first stack of pallets have been wrapped and the full sequential start-up and commissioning of the packing plant is on the cards for the next week,” he says.

Incorporating the latest technology in cement manufacturing, the equipment is all representative of high efficiency and reduced power consumption technology, with high regard to environmental control throughout the design.

Supporting infrastructure is progressing well, adds de Beer. Roads and intersections are on target to being finished before the end of this month and weigh bridge systems are being implemented imminently, while Telkom is expected to finalise communication installation during the coming two weeks.

As a green fields project, the initial construction of the turnkey project started in November 2011. “Everyone on site is looking forward to getting moving with their work. All buildings including the CCR, administration and sales offices are ready for occupancy,” concludes de Beer.
South Africa’s forthcoming entrant into the cement market, Sephaku Cement, has concretised support for pragmatic skills development in the industry by co-funding a new organisation that will drive concrete-related training and accreditation. The new industry body replaces the C&CI that closed its doors on withdrawal of support from a key funder earlier this year.

“What is important about the body is that it is a central, independent organisation,” says Sephaku Cement CEO, Pieter Fourie. “We believe in the pivotal role of this industry body which, by virtue of the services that it offers, is a necessity. Training, acceditation and the promotion of concrete as a building material of choice is non-negotiable for our industry to keep improving on the quality of work being done in infrastructure development, both in residential and industrial spheres,” he says.

Fourie notes that the focus of the new organisation, which began operating in May 2013 will include expansion of industry participation. “Concrete is often ‘common ground’ across different industries. Because of this, participation by sectors such as construction and manufacturing is important to heighten the value that the industry body can generate,” concluded Fourie.

Sephaku is a black-owned investment company whose core investments are a 36% stake in Sephaku Cement and 100% in Metier Mixed Concrete, a smaller, but complementary cement business.

It is the possibilities inherent in Sephaku Cement that are getting investors so excited.

The company is two thirds of the way through the building of its R3.2bn cement producing facility in Aganang, in the North West and milling plant in Delmas, Mpuma- langa. This is the first new cement facility to be built in the country since 1934 and production is expected to begin in October this year.

The company is run by Peter Fourie, Duncan Leith and Duan Claassen, old hands in the cement industry, and is backed by Nigeria’s Dangote Cement, Africa’s biggest cement producer.

The cement industry, along with the construction sector, has been in the doldrums since 2010, but activity levels are rising. Yes, supply exceeds demand, but that is expected to reverse within five years, Sephaku Holdings CEO Lelau Mohuba told delegates at the small and mid cap companies’ conference in Cape Town earlier this year. “The anticipated shortfall in cement capacity is due to lack of investment and shortage of high quality limestone deposits,” he says.

Sephaku, which has mineral rights and mines its own limestone, will be the lowest cost producer of cement in the country. Its plant is being built using the latest technology, which is not only more environmentally friendly but more efficient, too. This means the company should be able to compete on price with its better established competitors PPC, Afrisam and Lefarge.

“Cement is a fantastic business,” says Peter Armitage head of investments at Anchor Capital.

“Pricing is high, margins are wide and cash flow is good because you are not investing heavily in stock – the raw material comes out of the ground.”

Sephaku Cement’s management team has years of experience in the cement industry, he says. The company has an additional advantage in that its competitors all have highly indebted balance sheets and cannot afford a price war.

The industry is growing at 4% pa and Hugan Chetty, construction sector analyst at Afrifocus Securities expects that Sephaku could reach the 20% market share required to sell its production within two to three years. “The market should be receptive to them. There has not been significant price competition from the current players, who grew up in a regulated cartel.” He notes though, that Sephaku has no intention of entering into a price war.

Written by: Sasha Planting The Citizen 16th April 2013 Click here for the original article
Construction of the Sephaku Cement Aganang plant, a Greenfields project through which a high tech integrated clinker and cement production plant is being establishedin the North West Province of South Africa, is forging ahead. To date, the majority of the large civil structures are complete and the remaining civil work is progressing well, reports Heinrich de Beer, Engineering Project Manager at Sephaku Cement.

Aganang, which will be a state of the art producer of 6 000 tons of clinker per day and 1.2 million tons of cement per annum is proof of the magnitude of operational establishment that is possible. With storage volumes of 50 000 tons, its clinker silo will be one of the largest single clinker storage bunkers in South Africa and its kiln, the biggest single kiln in the country.

At least 100 000m3 of concrete and 14 600 tons of structural steel in the build. To date some 70 000 m³ of concrete has been placed on site, said de Beer. The plant will also have raw meal silo storage capacity to accommodate 20 000 tons, along with pre-blended stockpiles that extend the length and breadth of four rugby fields. Its cement silos will have the capacity to store 22 000 tons of finished cement product.

He explained that as at the end of April 2013, the Limestone Crusher building, the last of the large concrete structures to be constructed is far advanced and progressing as required. “The structural steel erection work is continuing in all areas. The space frame structures over the three raw material stockpile areas are well advanced with the Limestone storage area structure already sheeted.”

“Since January 2013, rapid progress has been made on the RMPS (Raw Material Proportioning station), the CPS (Cement Proportioning station), the Pre Heater structure, the Grate cooler area, the Kiln area, the Cement Packing plant area, the limestone crushing area, the clinker silo roof structure and the plant wide conveyor gantry structures,” highlighted de Beer.

In addition, the pre assembly and erection of the Coal Mill, the Raw Mill and the Clinker Mill have started. The Raw Mill erection is well advanced with the main drive gearbox (95 tons), the hydraulic cylinders and mill roller rocker arms already installed. Assembly of the Raw Mill, Coal Mill and Clinker Mill bag houses onto the concrete superstructures is on track.

November 2012 saw a major milestone reached as seven individual elements or sections that have been welded together to form the approximately 74m long kiln arrived on site. Imported from China, this extra abnormal load was transported by road from Richards Bay, a journey that took 12 days. Leith reports that great progress is being made with the Kiln installation, noting that the Kiln shell is in place and is being welded together.

“Mechanical equipment assembly work has started with solid progress being made on the Stacker and Reclaimer machines located in the Limestone, Gypsum, Additives and Coal storage areas. Electrical cable racking installation has also begun throughout the plant with exceptional progress being made in the RMPS, CPS, the Pre Heater/Kiln area as well as inside the many conveyor gantries already erected,” concluded de Beer.