Dangote Cement Plc invested over $5bn to build 44 million tonnes per annum cement factories in eight African countries in 2015, the firm said in its 2015 annual report.
These countries are: Nigeria, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Ghana.
The Chairman, Dangote Cement, Aliko Dangote, was quoted in the report as saying that the business model of the company was based on rapid expansion at a time when the world’s major cement companies were occupied with debt reduction, merger or integration.
He said within some months of opening factories in Senegal, Ethiopia and South Africa, the company had achieved rapid gains in market share despite the presence of strong incumbents.
Dangote said, “To put this rapid success into context, we have invested more than $5bn to build this capacity, but at the end of 2015, we had just $1bn of net debt.”
Meanwhile, as returns from African projects lifted the earnings and profits of the company, its shareholders have endorsed the pan African expansion of the company, urging the management to make a foray into other countries in a bid to make the company the foremost cement manufacturer in the world.
The endorsement came just as Dangote assured the shareholders that the company would continue to deploy strategies that would increase profitability in spite of the prevailing harsh operating climate.
He explained that with the measures put in place, the foreign exchange volatility would not affect the operations of the company significantly more so when its other African plants are operating maximally and yielding positive results to cushion the effect of the scarce foreign exchange at home.
He added, “We have good strategy in place, the volatility of the foreign exchange will not affect our operations. I am not an advocate of devaluation of our currency, even if that had happened, it would not have affected your company.
“Diversification is key to our strategy and that is why we have intensified our expansion. The way we have gone about our expansion, it would appear we have over invested in capacity expansion in Nigeria given that at 29 million mtpa and we have another 12 million mtpa capacity plants under construction. But the truth of the matter is that investments can never be enough in Nigeria. We need it.”