"Holderbank" to strengthen its market presence in Sri Lanka

7 January 1999

"Holderbank" is to reinforce its presence in the Sri Lankan market by acquiring 51 percent of the equity capital of Ruhunu Cement Company Ltd. (Ruhunu). Ruhunu operates a grinding plant with an annual capacity of 0.5 million tonnes of cement near Galle, a port in the south of the island.

Since 1996 "Holderbank" has also held a controlling interest in Puttalam Cement Co. Ltd. (Puttalam). This company operates a cement plant with an annual capacity of 0.6 million tonnes in Puttalam, north of Colombo. In April 1999, Puttalam is also to open an import terminal for bulk cement which will boost "Holderbank" Group company sales in Sri Lanka to some USD 95 million in 1999.

The acquisition of Ruhunu will enable "Holderbank" - the market leader in Sri Lanka - to strengthen its regional network yet further. The Ruhunu grinding station - and the Puttalam terminal currently under construction in Galle - will in future be supplied with cement and clinker (primary product in cement grinding) from other Group companies.

By contrast with the cement markets in other Asian countries, demand for cement in Sri Lanka rose in 1998 to some 2.1 million tonnes (+ 7 percent) and is set to increase further in 1999.

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

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