"Holderbank" takes control of cement plant in Azerbaidjan

29 September 1999

"Holderbank" Financière Glaris Ltd. ("Holderbank") has signed a contract to acquire 86 percent of the share capital of Garadagcement, the only cement producer in Azerbaidjan, in a privatization scheme.

The cement plant of Garadagcement is located 35 kilometers west of the Azerbaidjan capital, Baku, and close to the Caspian Sea. Currently, only one of the plant's five wet kiln lines is in production. The country's cement consumption is approximately 1 million tonnes.

With the acquisition of this majority stake, "Holderbank" has agreed to invest over the next five years - dependent on the market conditions - approximately USD 23 million in a plant rehabilitation program. The remaining shares in Garadagcement are held by the plant's workforce.

Azerbaidjan is gaining in importance for European and American investors, due to the present government's liberal economic policy as well as the country's large oil reserves. With the increasing focus of international companies on Azerbaidjan, it is expected that the demand for construction materials will increase over time, in the light of industrial sector expansion as well as the still low level of infrastructure in the country. The renewed Garadagcement will play a key role in fulfilling this higher demand for cement.

With majority and minority interests in over 60 countries on all continents, "Holderbank" is one of the world's leading suppliers of cement, as well as aggregates (gravel and sand), concrete and construction-related services.

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