Public, commercial work ‘drive demand for cement’-A A +A
By Mia A. Aznar
Sunday, October 6, 2013
UNLIKE other Asian countries, the demand for cement products in the Philippines is fueled by public and commercial projects, a top official of a cement firm noted.
Taiheiyo Cement Philippines president and chief executive officer Satoshi Asami noted the basic demand for cement in other countries is supported by individuals building their own homes.
What the Philippines needs, he said, is to grow its middle class, noting that the private individuals with a demand for cement products to build their own homes are very few. Most of the projects in the country needing cement are public construction works and projects of large companies.
Asami spoke to reporters Friday at a dinner the company hosted for the media.
The Taiheiyo Cement Philippines plant in San Fernando, Cebu produced 1.2 million tons of cement last year, providing solely for the local market. It has a capacity to produce 1.5 million tons, but Asami said they will be increasing capacity by 15 percent this year to meet the demand of the country’s booming construction industry.
The company will be investing $5 million to increase its capacity, higher than the $3 million it regularly spends for expansion. For the next two years, the company plans an investment of $10 million to increase its production capacity.
After securing its third investment grade rating from Moody’s, Asami said the Philippines will have an even higher demand, as investors are expected to come in and put up their own projects. Current demand for cement in the Philippines is at 18 million tons.
With backing from international credit rating agencies, Asami said the country is in a good position to attract more foreign direct investments, which he hopes will lead to a wider middle class for the Philippines.
He assured that Taiheiyo Cement wants to be part of the country’s development through the manufacture of high quality cement products for infrastructure development, adherence to environmental protection and enhancement policies and active corporate social responsibility programs.
He hopes the Philippines will take advantage of the position it is in, citing the stiff competition for foreign divest investments (FDI) from Asian countries.
Asami believes, though, that the Philippines has much to offer as long as the government works hard to promote the country better and get FDIs to choose the Philippines over other investment destinations.
He added that increasing labor costs in Vietnam and China and the flooding that hit Bangkok a few years ago could become advantageous for the Philippines.
He also said stable policies, proper taxation schemes, efficient customs processes and security are key considerations foreign investors need to decide where they want to invest in.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 07, 2013.