Attock Cement’s new production line comes on line

KARACHI: Attock Cement Company Limited – the makers of Falcon cement brand – added a new production line of 1.2 million tons per annum that commenced production from Tuesday, according to a company notice sent to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX).

The new facility is located at the company’s old production site in Hub, an industrial area just outside Karachi and the only major industrial town in Balochistan.

According to the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA), Attock Cement’s installed capacity was 1.79 million tons per annum in December 2017, which means that its total capacity has now gone up to around 3 million tons with the new addition.

Attock Cement is a subsidiary of the Pharaon Group – a group of companies with investments in cement, oil and gas, power generation and information technology sectors.

The company was the third cement manufacturer to announce expansion that followed such plans of DG Khan Cement and Cherat Cement since the announcement of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in April 2015.

Financial health of Attock Cement remained extraordinary with absolutely no debt, but the company could not expand its operations due to violence in and around Hub.

Pakistan’s total installed cement production capacity was 46.94 million tons per annum as of December 2017, according to the APCMA.

Lucky Cement – the largest cement-maker in Pakistan with 20% market share – added 1.3 million tons per annum to its capacity in December 2017. This helped Lucky to beat Bestway Cement’s production capacity and touch 9.35 million tons. Before that, Bestway was the top cement producer.

The cement industry is enjoying one of the best periods in its history. Thanks to growing domestic demand, cement companies have gone on an expansion spree.

Almost all major producers are either adding new production lines or making investments in Greenfield plants – an altogether new investment to build a new production facility.

More than half a dozen cement companies are making new investments of over $1.5 billion to add about 10 million tons to the annual capacity.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2018.

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