ANTIPOLO, RIZAL – The government’s P8 trillion infrastructure program fuels the demand and provides expansion opportunities for cement manufacturing firm Cemex, its president said.
Cemex was set to spend P3 billion this year to build an additional 1.5 million-ton cement production line that will bring the total capacity of its Antipolo plant to 3.4 million tons, its president and CEO Ignacio "Nacho" Mijares said.
Mijares said the industry demand is growing 8 to 10 percent, higher than the country’s average 6 percent GDP growth.
“There’s a huge demand and potential in the country for the following years. There’s a lot to be built not only in the next 5 years but we see the next 15, 20 years we’ll have a lot of activity,” Mijares told Cathy Yang in an exclusive interview for The Boss.
“This is one of the highest growing countries in terms of construction in the world and we’re doing this to catch up to be able to continue serving the Philippines with the highest quality products,” he added.
Despite lower margins for the second quarter of 2018 due to depreciating peso, excise taxes and higher electricity cost, Mijares said Cemex was able to maintain double digit growth in terms of volume.
“We recently were able to 'debottleneck' our dispatch which allows us to increase to half a million tons, the amount we can provide to the market. Going forward we will continue looking for the debottlenecking opportunities to be able to catch up with the market growth,” he said.
In fact, its plants in Antipolo and Cebu are in operation 24/7, in maximum capacity, to meet the market demand, he said.
The Philippines is Cemex’ third biggest market next to Mexico and the US.
“The Philippines has one of the most attractive demographics in the world, such a young population that’s why we’re really are committed to the country,” Mijares said.