French cement maker sets up branch in southwest China

Updated: 2007-07-11 01:28

French cement maker Lafarge Group, a Fortune 500 company, opened a branch in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan province, on Tuesday, after acquiring a Chinese cement company there.

Lafarge Shui On Cement Co. -- which has bought out Sichuan Shuangma Investment Group in Mianyang City -- will operate three cement plants in Sichuan, located in Dujiangyan, Jiangyou and Yibin, according to Cyrille Ragoucy, CEO of Lafarge Shui On.

The Ministry of Commerce and the China Security Regulatory Commission have both approved the acquisition.

Ragoucy said that Lafarge will retain the Shuangma workforce and upgrade the production facilities by replacing some of the old technology, so that they reach Lafarge's environmental and safety standards as soon as possible.

Lafarge Shui On is a joint venture established in November 2005 between Lafarge Group, a world leader in building materials, and Shui On Construction & Materials Ltd., a subsidiary of the Hong Kong Shui On Group.

The joint venture now has five business units in Beijing, Sichuan, Chongqing, Guizhou and Yunnan with 20 cement plants, a 21 million-ton capacity and over 10,000 employees.

Shuangma, founded in 1956, had an annual capacity of more than 3 million tons of cement and is one of the largest cement manufacturers in Sichuan.

Lafarge entered western China in 1999, setting up a 1.3 billion yuan cement subsidiary in Dujiangyan with an annual output of 1.4 million tons.

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