Quarry Southern Africa November 2017 - Page 7

SOUTHERN AFRICA NEWS Nigerian Dangote Cement has approached PPC about a takeover deal, following a joint offer from Canadian Fairfax Financial Holdings and AfriSam. According to Bloomberg, Dangote informed the PPC board that it is interested in buying out “the entire share capital”, although communication is still at the preliminary stage. While PPC will consider all bids, its largest shareholder, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), purportedly supports a merger with AfriSam and Fairfax to create a South African cement giant. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, PIC owns about 11% of PPC, as well as approximately 60% of AfriSam. Dangote’s takeover of PPC, if it comes to pass, would combine two of Africa’s largest cement makers and prevent the much-talked-about merger with AfriSam. expected, which is likely to witness a return to a positive ACI trend before the end of the year.” Dr Botha also points out that the South African economy expanded by more than 1% during the first half of the year — the first time this has occurred since the beginning of 2015. “Construction sector output is traditionally a lagged indicator of overall economic activity. Prospects are likely to improve into the second half of the year, as the country’s GDP starts to build momentum on the back of higher world growth, lower interest rates, and the recovery of several key export commodities.” Combined with the increase in export commodity prices, excellent rains in the summer rainfall regions, and an all-time record maize crop, South Africa’s primary sectors are performing exceptionally well right now. Dr Botha says he expects the economy to grow at more than 1% this year, and with more AfriSam won two of the four awards for the industry’s top performers for 2017 at the recent Southern African ReadyMix Association (SARMA) awards, held during the Concrete Conference in August, namely the Best Plant Award for its Wynberg ready-mix facility and the Best Fleet Award for its Gauteng ready-mix fleet. The SARMA awards are based on detailed compliance audits that measure safety, health, transport, environment, and quality at members’ ready-mix plants. The wide range of criteria include hazard identification, risk assessment, legal requirements, communication, participation, and documentation. policy certainty and further improvement in metal mineral prices, this figure could increase to over 2% in 2018. Afrimat CEO Andries van Heerden says the activity in the construction sector has tightened, but for players such as Afrimat, being well diversified, nimble, and positioned to work on the medium to small projects, the sector remains attractive. “Granted, you have to remain on your toes and ever-vigilant to opportunities,” Van Heerden explains. The results of this study are showing that construction is a sector in which government spend is still taking place and given economic constraints, it is natural for the sector to come off slightly. “However, if companies position themselves correctly on product quality, price, and service delivery, they should be able to make a decent return for shareholders,” concludes Van Heerden. QUARRY SA | NOVEMBER 2017 _ 5