Portland Cement to enhance operations after plant revamp

By Peterson Githaiga | Aug 01, 2023
East African Portland Cement Company Managing Director Oliver Kirubai (in blue helmet) and directors inspect a limestone quarry in Kajiado County. [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]

East Africa Portland Cement Company (EAPCC) is set to resume full operations after the implementation of its strategic plan, plant refurbishment and new management. 

The Athi River-based plant that has recently been operating at a capacity of 20 per cent, has now recorded a major increase of up to more than 50 per cent.

Currently, production stands at 1,500 tonnes of cement per day. Speaking during the induction tour of the new board members, directors and chairman at Ilbisil Limestone Mines and Managing Director Oliver Kirubai said the company revival is bearing fruit.

He said the company recently upgraded its clinker at a cost of Sh500 million that has seen the firm cut out 16 metres of its Kiln shell and replaced it with a new one. ‘’We

have already started producing our own clinker after an upgrade of our Kiln. With the upgrade, we expect improved plant reliability and an output increase of almost 50 per cent. Blue Triangle Cement will be produced in plenty and availed across the country,’’ said Kirubai.

Kirubai said the upgrade is part of the company’s recently launched five-year strategic plan that is pegged on a long-term performance-driven cycle to put it back on profitability. Kirubai observed that the upgrade and optimal running of the plant will also lead to efficient energy consumption.

This means that the company will be able to produce its products at a lower cost which will allow it to avail Cement to its customers at friendlier prices.

Among the key challenges the firm has been grappling with include low production occasioned by the frequent breakdown of the plant, lack of sufficient working capital and bad debts. Kirubai said the company is exploiting the selling of its vast Athi-river land worth billions of shillings and investing the money into the company.

Refurbishing the company has also facilitated high production at a low cost according to Kirubai. “Our employees have been severing a lot in a situation where we have been struggling even to pay their salaries. We are now back on foot,” said Kirubai.

Outstanding debts

He said through the support of the government, companies that owed the cement maker including the National Land Commission have been directed to pay outstanding debts.

“We had a number of companies who owed us millions of monies. They have been ordered to pay us by the government. If they honour the agreement, the problem we are facing will be a thing of the past,” said Kirubai.

He noted that the implementation of the 17 per cent excise duty on imported clinker will improve the firm’s profitability. EAPCC is a major clinker manufacturer. 

EAPCC Director Patrick Ole Tutui said the audit has proved there are sufficient cement raw materials to sustain operations.

Ilbisil and Kibini quarries are the main limestone sites. EAPCC chairperson Richard Mbithi said his leadership will focus on ensuring the profitability of the company. 

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