Al Ain Cement producer says rumours of closure are untrue

Market talk said the company was to close down by end of this month

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By  Eudore Chand Published  June 12, 2004

Top officials of Al Ain based Emirates Cement Factory have denied rampant market rumours that the factory is likely to be closed down, some say by as early as the end of this month. “No, we have no idea about it. We have received no knowledge of it (the closure notice) either officially or unofficially,” Yahya Al Amri, the company’s financial and commercial manager, told Construction Week. Other company officials confirmed his statement. The factory is owned by Abu Dhabi government’s General Industries Corporation and consequently supplies various government departments, which implement major projects. It has also played a major role in establishing cement-based industries in the emirate of Abu Dhabi such as Ready Mix, Cement Products, and Cement Block Factories. Al Amri said that the company has taken a decision to go against market trends and is continuing to supply cement at Dhs210/t. The average market price in the first week of June was Dhs340/t. If production was stopped, supplies to various Abu Dhabi emirate departments at Dhs210 would also stop and they would have to start sourcing cement at prevailing market rates. Al Amri blamed a report in the local media that said the factory will have to close as it has been restricted with immediate effect from mining the foothills of Al Ain’s landmark, Jebel Hafeet, on the grounds that it was damaging natural beauty. The report quoted a “source” as saying that the authorities wanted to build a national park at the site. However, Al Amri said no notification has been received. “We are functioning normally. It is going to be the same (in the future) as we are doing now,” he said. The report had set the market wondering as it comes on the back of a current cement price shock that has unnerved the construction sector. There are only 11 cement factories in the UAE and the closing down of a major player like the Emirates Cement Factory, would have further deepened the already wide gap in demand and supply. The UAE is said to have an annual shortfall of over 2 Mt/year in cement. Emirates Cement Factory is situated at the foot of Jebel Hafeet, which overlooks the city of Al Ain. It sprawls across some 160 000 m2 and began production in April 1976. Its capacity today, after successive improvements and expansions, has reached 850 000 t/year. The factory sources raw materials such as limestone, marl, and gypsum from surrounding quarries. The factory produces ordinary Portland, sulphate resistant and type - II cement. Emirates Cement Factory holds ISO 14001 certification for its protection of the sanitary and health conditions of the employees and that of the surrounding areas. It also holds ISO 9002 certificate and the Sheikh Khalifa Industrial Award. In 2000, it had a staff strength of more than 400 employees.

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