The Ugandan Cement Industry has historically been a playground for two rivals- Hima Cement and Tororo Cement, the latter being the market leader with about 55%-60% market share and Hima with about 40%.
Hima Cement is owned by LafargeHolcim, the global Swiss-headquartered giant, formed by the 2015 merger between France’s LaFarge and Switzeland’s Holcim. Tororo Cement is owned by a reclusive Indian family.
Some players from Kenya, especially East Africa Portland Cement with their Blue Triangle brand, have always tinkered with the Ugandan market with imports from Kenya, but with not so much success- scraping, barely 1% of market share.
The two giants- Hima Cement in the West and Tororo, in the East lived happily, side by side in the market and even prospered.
For example in 2015 Tororo Cement, grew their turnover by 26.6% from UGX657.3 billion to UGX831.9 while Hima Cement also grew by a healthy 15.8% from UGX475.2 billion to UGX550.1 billion.
That year, Tororo Cement’s profits grew by 76.1% from UGX46 billion to UGX81 billion, while Hima’s grew by 33.5% from UGX47.2 billion to UGX63 billion.
East Africa Portland Cement, only sold cement worth UGX11 billion- nothing much to write home about in the bigger scheme of things.
But the same year; March 2015 to be exact, also marked the entry of a new player- Kampala Cement, into the market.
Majority owned by Multiple Group that specializes in logistics and the manufacturing and trade of domestic and industrial building materials, together with businessman, Charles Mbiire, Kampala Cement opened a fully-fledged cement plant at Namataba, just outside of Mukono town, on the Jinja-Kampala Highway.
According to their website, Kampala Cement has an installed capacity of 1.2 metric tonnes per annum and produces nyati, chui, kifaru, ndovu and supercrete brands.
That year, Kampala Cement turned over UGX10 billion.
In 2016, with aggressive marketing and intense lobbying, Kampala Cement quickly penetrated the bulk cement market ready-mix batch plants and top infrastructure contractors and sooner than later, their cement found its way into huge infrastructure projects such as the Karuma hydroelectricity dam, Kampala Northern bypass project Project Phase II and the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) headquarters building.
Leveraging its links with Multiple Hauliers, one of East Africa’s largest logistics firms, Kampala Cement also put onto the market several transport trucks, setting up a factory-agent-site delivery network.
Kampala Cement begins to rock the market
By end of 2016, Kampala Cement’s turnover had grown by 505%- from UGX10 billion to UGX60.5 billion; as expected for any startup, the company however made a loss of UGX38.1 billion.
However, that same year, Tororo Cement’s growth rate slowed to 9.3%- from UGX831.9bn to UGX909.3bn. Hima Cement too slowed to 2.5%- from UGX550.1bn to UGX564.1 billion.
With the slow-down in turnover growth, coupled with the rising costs of operation, for the first time in years, there was a slackened growth in profits for the two cement giants. Tororo Cement’s profits in 2016 grew, but at a slower rate, this time at 38% from UGX81 billion the previous year to UGX111.8 billion. Hima Cement also saw their profits grow, but at just 15.1% from UGX63 billion to 72.5 billion.
East African Portland Cement only turned over UGX7.3 billion and made a loss of UGX2.4 billion.
The year 2017 saw Kampala Cement make more inroads into the industry, this time, selling UGX118 billion worth of Cement, a growth of 95% compared to the previous year. Tororo Cement’s turnover, this time hardly grew, rising only by 0.6%, to UGX914.7 billion. Hima Cement, on the other hand, instead saw its turnover reduce by 4.7% to UGX537.4 billion.
Profits at both giants’ declined. Tororo profits declined by 24.7% to UGX84.2 billion while Hima Profits declined by 1.1% to UGX71.7 billion.
Kampala Cement’s losses continued to widen to UGX43 billion.
However, despite the entry of Kampala Cement, the growth rate in total industry turnover, also slowed down from 9.9% the previous year to just 1.4%- from UGX1.54 trillion to UGX1.57 trillion, partly due what industry sources say was a below target GDP growth of just 4%.
Troublesome 2018 as Simba Cement disorganises market with ‘low-prices-to-the-people’
If Kampala Cement, was being a thorn in the market, the entry of National Cement Company Limited with their Simba Cement brand in August 2018, would prove to be an even bigger problem.
But perhaps if the presence of Simba Cement, alone was not enough to cause the big boys to think twice, the words of Narendra Raval, the chairperson of Simba Cement Uganda Ltd, would probably get the big boys to rethink their strategies. Mr Raval told the public at the opening of the firm’s plant in Tororo, that his company would drive down the prices of cement in the country down to UGX25,000 per 50kg bag.
At the time of launch, retail prices of cement had gone up as high as between UGX36,000-UGX4,000 prompting the Trade and Industry Minister, Hon Amelia Kyambadde to meet the 3 cement manufacturers (Hima cement, Tororo cement and Kampala cement, as well as wholesalers to establish the exact cause of the increased prices and to devise solutions.
The rise in prices was blamed on continued power outages affecting Hima cement and Tororo cement causing a reduction in production.
For example, Hima said they had lost 10,000 MT since January 2018 at their new factory in Tororo. Players also blamed high prices on a rise in demand caused by a 30% growth in the construction sector as well as increased export demand from neighboring countries especially Rwanda and DRC.
Delays in clearance of trucks of clinker at the border by URA and a 10% import duty on clinker that increases the production costs, coupled with the annual closure of cement factories for routine maintenance and high fuel prices were also named as causes of the price increment.
Simba Cement’s threat to cut prices at a time when Hima Cement had just invested in a new $40 million plant- in Tororo with a promise to increase production capacity from 0.9 million tonnes to 1.7 million tonnes annually and Tororo wrapping up their $50m expansion from 1.8 million to 3 million tonnes wouldn’t be good news to the big boys, already under pressure from Kampala Cement.
Indeed, by end of November 2018, prices did fall- as all the players ramped up production. According to reports by The Independent, 50kg bag of cement went down to UGX28,000 compared to UGX38,000 six months before- a 25% drop. Factory prices were as low UGX24,500 per bag and this hurt the bottom lines especially for the big boys.
Simba Cement, which entered the party late, managed to turnover UGX3 billion and a profit of UGX180 million, according the company’s results, CEO East Africa Magazine has seen.
Kampala Cement grew its turnover by 58.1% to UGX186.6 billion as at end of December 2018.
Tororo Cement grew its gross revenue by just 1.8% from UGX914.7 billion to UGX931.3 billion. Hima Cement yet again saw turnover reduce by 8.9%, shading off another UGX48bn from its sales books, from UGX537.4bn to UGX489.5 bn.
Despite Simba Cement’s low-prices-to-the-people approach that forced a fall in prices, total industry turnover turned up by 2.9%, from UGX1.57 trillion in 2017 to UGX1.61 trillion in 2018, compared to 1.9% in 2017, largely driven by Kampala Cement.
As expected, Kampala Cement losses continued to widen- UGX50 billion compared to UGX43 billion in losses the previous year. In total, accumulated losses reached UGX116.6 billion at end of 2018.
Tororo Cement’s 2018 profits took an even steeper slump -45.6% to UGX45.8 billion- the lowest in 5 years. Hima Cement’s was a profit to losses story- profits declined by a record 145%, sliding into a loss of UGX32.5 billion (down from a UGX71.7bn) and this was regardless of the new plant that went into production in May 2018.
Scandal as Hima Cement cooks books to cover up poor sales
Dr. John P. N. Simba and Seddiq Hassani the Bamburi Group Chairman and Group Managing Director respectively, in the 2018 Annual Report, blamed Hima’s bad performance on rising costs of operations; namely fuel, coal and petcoke costs following global market price increases as well as slow growth in the cement market”
They also attributed the heavy losses to higher levels of provisioning without explaining much detail.
However, Nicolas George, the former Managing Director of Hima from February 2018-June 2019 explained that the provisioning was as a result of having to provide for bad debts, previously hidden by the former management.
“The results were negative because we had to write off a lot of things, clean the bad debts that were hidden,” he told CEO East Africa Magazine, adding: “I came to Hima to clean the company following few years of mismanagement. You can easily see it if you read the annual report of Bamburi cement. My job was completed with success. Feel free to check with Hima management if you want.”
“The job was done, the management team completely changed and the company is doing good in H1 2019, except for the loss of Rwanda market due to border closure,” he said.
Daniel Pettersson who was Managing Director between July 2013 and November 2017 took a 3% salary increment in 2017 and a 2% increment in 2016. His monthly salary was increased from UGX34.4 million in 2016 to UGX38.2 million in 2017. In 2016 he also took a UGX9 million performance bonus and a UGX4.9 million bonus in 2017.
He was however, forced to resign in November 2017 over several improprieties.
For example, Pettersson was also involved in the purchase of hundreds of acres of community land in Tororo, Eastern Uganda, that Hima Cement said had been bought in ways that contravened Lafarge Group’s known principles. The land was returned to the community after Nicholas George appeared before the Justice Bamugemereire land probe committee and pledged to return the land.
Later, in October 2018, Eric Kironde, the Ugandan Bamburi Group Finance Director, who also doubled as Interim CEO between October 2017 and February 2018, was dropped as Group Finance Director. It is not however clear if it was over the same book-cooking scandal, as he is said to have remained within the group.
Kironde briefly replaced Bruno Pescheux who although Bamburi in the official statement said had opted to retire, had been forced out following a French government probe into his tenure at LaFarge Syria, where it is alleged by French prosecutors that he participated in bribing ISIS terrorists to keep LaFarge operations there running.
In December 2017, Pescheux (CEO of the Lafarge Syrian subsidiary between 2008 and 2014); alongside Eric Olsen and Bruno Lafont, former CEOs of Lafarge, Pescheux’s successor Frédéric Jolibois; Jean-Claude Veillard, Lafarge’s director of security ; and Christian Herrault, vice director at Lafarge, were indicted on charges of financing terrorism and deliberate endangerment of people’s lives, and for breaching the EU embargo on Syrian oil.
In March and May 2018, Lafarge’s human resources executive Sonia Artinian and former safety director at LaFarge Syria, Jacob Waerness, were also indicted on similar charges.
A ruling will be handed down on 24 October 2019.
OUTLOOK: A tougher 2019 as Simba Cement ups the pressure and Rwanda locks out Ugandan cement exports
2019 promises to be an even tougher year for Uganda’s cement industry majors- as Simba and Kampala Cement continue their onslaught on the market.
A market survey at most hardware shops show cement prices have further collapsed to UGX26,000 per 50-kg bag- just UGX1,000 short of the UGX25,000 price target announced by Simba Cement.
Both Dr John P.N Simba and Seddiq Hassani, the Bamburi Cement (owners of Hima) Chairman and Group Managing Director respectively, have predicted that the Rwanda issue remains a pain on their books and could hurt 2019 performance.
“The impact of the difficulties experienced at the Uganda Rwanda Border is a downside risk and the group hopes the matter will be resolved swiftly,” the duo said in a commentary to Bamburi’s half-year 2019 results.
According to figures from Bank of Uganda, exports to Rwanda have virtually ground to a halt, reducing by 96.2% from USD17 million per month in January to USD0.65m in July 2019. The issue of border opening is due for discussion when the joint Ad-hoc Commission set up to help implement the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Rwanda and Uganda in Luanda in August 2019, meets in Kampala later this month.
Conrad van Niekerk, Coca Cola’s Uganda chief appointed regional Managing Director; role includes Uganda oversight
Conrad van Niekerk, formerly head of Coca Cola Beverages in Uganda, has been appointed the Coca-Cola Beverages Africa Managing Director for the Central Africa Region, covering Uganda, Tanzania and Ghana.
He will still sit in Uganda.
In another management change, Melkamu Abebe has been appointed General Manager of Uganda. He will now lead the Ugandan Country Management Team, reporting to Conrad, now the Central Africa Region Managing Director.
Melkamu has been the Supply Chain Director in Uganda since August 2018. Before that, he occupied a number of leadership positions in the supply chain function since joining the Coca-Cola system as a graduate trainee in Ethiopia in 2008.
“He (Melkamu) has developed an in-depth proficiency in supply chain management and demonstrated strong leadership and innovation skills,” said a statement from the company.
He holds a Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Addis Ababa University and “is passionate about developing talent within organisations and learning something new every single day,” according to the company statement.
Conrad, according to the same company was described as “an international commercial leader and strategist with over 30 years’ experience with Coca-Cola, the world’s most recognisable brand.”
“He has held executive roles within the Coca-Cola system with direct experience in people and talent development, sales strategy and execution, and product development,” further read the statement.
Conrad started his career in Coca-Cola SABCO (South Africa) in 1990 and subsequently took up leadership roles working for The Coca-Cola Company in South Africa, Egypt and northern Africa in general, before heading up the Ghana bottler as Managing Director from 2008.
He was eventually appointed Regional Manager for West Africa managing nine countries while based in Barcelona, Spain.
He arrived in Uganda in 2016.
During his time, according to figures available to CEO EA Magazine, he grew the business’ turnover by 12% from UGX383.4 billion to UGX426.7 billion, maintaining Coca Cola’s market leadership against a resurgent competition.
In 2018 Conrad also led a USD15 million (UGX55 billion) investment plan for Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in Uganda that included a USD8.35million (UGX 30.7billion) manufacturing line in April 2018.
He is also credited for leading several product innovations that especially use local law materials, such as Climb Up Milk- bottled by Rwenzori Bottling Company Limited, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa. Climb Up Milk is made out of Uganda milk supplied by Lato Milk, which directly benefits Ugandan dairy farmers; sugar supplied by the Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited (SCOUL) that supports sugar cane farmers in Lugazi, and packaging elements supplied by Riley Packaging Industries, Bhumi Tapes and Graphic Systems Limited.
Other Coca-Cola Beverages Africa people changes
In another Uganda team change, Edward Ojede, previously the Country Engineering Manager for Uganda, has been appointed the Manufacturing Director for Uganda.
“Edward joined the Coca-Cola system at Century Bottling Company in 2007 and has distinguished himself over the years as an Engineering professional, occupying a number of technical leadership roles and gathering a wealth of experience in his field of expertise. He has in-depth technical knowledge of manufacturing processes and demonstrates superior project management skills. He is known for his agility as a leader and his superior interpersonal skills,” said a company statement.
Edward holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Makerere University and is in the process of completing his MBA. He is a member of the Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers and a Board Member of the Manufacturing Skills Sector Committee under the Uganda Ministry of Education and Sports.
Outside Uganda, Herbert Nuwamanya has been moved into the role of General Manager of Zambia, “after playing a crucial role in the integration of the two Coca-Cola Beverages Africa operations in Zambia as Commercial Director for Coca-Cola Beverages Zambia.”
Before that, Herbert held various senior commercial roles in East and West Africa in Coca-Cola Sabco and Coca-Cola Hellenic.
“Over the years Herbert has built up a seasoned multi-cultural, multi-country and multi-bottler experience with great impact in strategic business and commercial growth,” said the company statement.
Herbert holds an MSc degree and will continue to be based in Zambia, leading the Country Management Team.
In another change, Andrew Musingo Otieno has been appointed General Manager of Tanzania, leading the Country Management Team and reporting to the Central Africa Region Managing Director.
Andrew has previously served as Coca-Cola Beverages Africa’s Head of Sustainability, before which he was Public Affairs & Communications Director for the Group’s International Division.
MEMORABLE 2019 XMAS: Four pocket-friendly reasons to spend this Festive Season at any of Speke Group’s 9 hotels and residences
You have worked hard all year long. The festive season is a time to be together with your loved ones, rekindle the love and toast to the year’s joys as you usher in the New Year with gratitude. But you don’t have to break the bank. Speke Group of Hotels, Uganda’s largest chain of hotels with a portfolio of luxury and budget hospitality facilities has put together special packages for you, to make this festive season a memory to behold.
Christmas season is the longest holiday anyone can have. The moment December starts you can get the feel of the festivities approaching with the Christmas trees, the decoration and Christmas lights spread all over malls, offices and even homes.
Christmas time is with no doubt family time. It is time to bond with your entire family and catch up with them. So people get to travel upcountry while others travel back into the country/ the city to meet their families since they are having a break from work. It is the time that you get to create memories with your family and this Christmas and the Ruparelia group hotels are giving you the perfect plans for you and your family to create more memories together.
Aside from having prestigious hotels around the city, the Ruparelia group has made sure that their guests during the festive season get to enjoy themselves to full capacity by creating a number of discounts so that they get to enjoy the great service that the group has to offer.
Here are 4 reasons why you should spend your Christmas with the Ruparelia group hotels;
1. Discounted Accommodation Packages
Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort and the adjacent Speke Resort and Conference Centre are the flagship hotel brands of the Speke Group of Hotels.
The two hotels are throwing a variety of discounts this festive season to make sure you enjoy, without breaking a bank or two.
From 13th December to 23rd December and from 26th December to 5th January, their single deluxe rooms will be charged at $139 and the double deluxe will be at $188. The one bedroom suite that takes up to 2 people will be at $219, the superior room and the executive room will be each at $250. The executive suite will be charged at $436. The presidential cottage and presidential suites which take up 4 people each will be charged at $498 and $684 respectively.
However, on Christmas eve and Christmas day, the rooms will have slithly higher. The single deluxe room will be charge at $176, The double deluxe will be charged at $262, the one bedroom suite will be charged at $293. Both the superior room and the executive room will be charged at $324. The executive room, executive suite, presidential cottage and presidential suite will be charged at $324, $510, $647, $832 respectively.
All rates are full board- breakfast, lunch and dinner. On 25th December there will be a Grand Christmas Buffet by the Olympic swimming pool. They are also inclusive of a 30 minutes boat ride and a 10 minutes pony ride for children. On top of all that, the guests will also have access to the swimming pool, gym, spa and sauna.
2. A variety of options to pick from
Speke Group of hotels, has a variety of luxurious and budget options to pick from- hotels and self-catering apartments. The include: Speke Resort and Conference Centre (www.spekehotel.com), Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort (https://www.munyonyocommonwealth.com), Kabira Country Club (https://www.kabiracountryclub.com), Dolphin Suites (https://www.dolphinsuites.co.ug), Forest Cottages (www.forest-cottages.com), Bukoto Heights (https://www.bukotoheights.com/) and Speke Apartments (https://www.spekeapartments.com)
If it a lakeside room that you want, Speke Resort Munyonyo has you covered with rooms over looking the calm waters of Lake Victoria.
Speke Apartments (Wampewo & Kitante) as well as Bukoto Heights are luxury self- catering apartments that are suitable for both pleasure and business. The apartments are located near town so you are not far from any amenities that you need for you and your family.
The Forest cottages are set in serene environment with ever green trees hovering over the cottages. They give a feel of a get away from town yet they are not so far from the city centre.
Kabira Country Club has a variety of room types that cater for both individuals and families as well.
3. Christmas and New Year’s day programmes
Christmas comes with a lot of excitement and the mention of food cannot be excluded from it all. Normally, women in the house have to get into the kitchen and cook large feasts to feed their family but as opposed to doing that, you can visit any of the Speke Group hotels and enjoy the different kinds of buffets they have planned for this Christmas.
On Christmas day, Speke Resort Munyonyo will serve a lunch buffet at the Speke Resort Poolside. Each adult will be charged Ugx 175,000 and children under 14 will be charged Ugx 75,000.
It will be a 3 course menu that will consist of starters made of salads, cold cuts, dips, soups and bread. The main dishes will have turkey, chicken, beef, pasta, naan bread, hot buffet and so much more. The desserts will comprise of different cakes, fruits, mousse, and so much more.
The La Cabana restaurant at Speke Apartments, Wampewo avenue will also have a 3 course meal to serve its guests on Christmas day. Adults will be charged Ugx 125,000 and the kids will be charged 50% less and have free access to the pool.
Would you prefer burgers by the pool for Christmas? Forest Cottages will be serving these and adults will be charged UGX 50,000 and children will be charged Ugx 40,000. This all comes with a glass of wine and juice respectively.
Kabira Country club will serve a barbecue meal for Christmas where adults will be charged UGX75,000 and children will be charged UGX 45,000.
And if you are in the mood for something more chilled and relaxing like a pool party, Dophlin Suites will be having a pool party on Christmas day with a bouncing castle and face painting for children at UGX 35,000.
4. Well equipped amenities & activities for kids
Don’t let all the Xmas eating scare you- you can break down all the food in the variety of swimming pools, gyms and health clubs- in nearly each of the facilities.
Kabira Country Club, Speke Apartments, Dolphin Suites, Speke Resort Munyonyo and Forest Cottages all have swimming pools where guests can go and relax.
They also have gyms that are well equipped with a variety of equipment from treadmills, benches, treadmills, station bikes among so many other kinds of equipment. This can be used by guests to work out and stay fit even during the festivities.
Now you know.
For more inquiries please reach out to the hotels using contacts on their websites and have yourself a Merry Christmas and A happy new Year!
Bank of Uganda clarifies on staff with unreconciled dates of birth story
Reference is made to a story we wrote earlier today (but has since been taken down) titled: CONFLICT OF INTEREST: BoU board breaks own rules; fails to fire 12 staff for falsifying their age.
Whereas we had made attempts to speak to the Bank of Uganda Deputy Governor, Dr. Louis Kasekende, before writing the story and did not get any response from him, we have since spoken to the BoU Board Secretary, Mrs. Susan Kanyemibwa who has since clarified the following:
- The Bank of Uganda, Director of Human Resources, Dr. Jan Tibamwenda has denied ever authoring the memo particularly referred to in the article addressed to the Deputy Governor proposing a particular course of action on staff with unreconciled dates of birth.
- Whereas it is true that Bank of Uganda like many other public institution is undertaking a reconciliation process of their staff records to align them with biodata presented to the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) and National Social Security Fund (NSSF), this matter is still a management matter and has not yet been brought to the attention of Bank of Uganda Board as alleged in our story and as claimed by the purported memo to the Deputy Governor. In fact, there was no meeting of the Board of Directors to discuss the matter as alleged in the article.
- Some of the Bank of Uganda officials mentioned in the purported memo and therefore in our story have not been affected by the said unreconciled biodata records.
The management of CEO East Africa Magazine regrets the inaccuracies above and has since pulled down the story. We have started a process of streamlining media inquiries with the central bank to ensure improved and more factual reporting.
We pledge to hold our sources more accountable in the future.
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