Lafarge Continues to Increase Capacity in Iraq

Lafarge's Karbala plant produced the cement ingredient 'clinker' for the first time last week and they expect the first cement to be in the market from this plant in 10 days under the Lafarge brand.

The CEO of Lafarge expects growth of at least 10 percent next year in Iraq as it produces sulfate-resistant cement suited to the salty soils in the middle and southern parts of the country.

About 60 percent of Lafarge’s sales in the country are directed to the middle and southern regions, where new oil contracts have “had a multiplier effect,” Cobuz said. “We see a concentration of 35 percent of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Basra and the southern region. Growth is coming in the south and around Baghdad and Karbala.”

In the past two months, the company sold 100,000 tons of cement to Iraq’s housing ministry as the government tries to ensure the continuity and quality of supply, he said.

Lafarge acquired two plants in northern Iraq when it bought the cement unit of Orascom Construction Industries for 8.8 billion euros ($13.1 billion) in January 2008. It currently employs 3,000 people in the country, the CEO said.

(Source: Bloomberg)

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