Thursday, 12 June 2014 00:52
Global Group CEO Bernard Fontana in town to commission $ 22 m expansion
Global giant Holcim said yesterday it sees great opportunities in Sri Lanka, and has a strong commitment to the country since 1996 – a commitment confirmed by Group CEO Bernard Fontana during his visit to local Group company Holcim Lanka.
As a Swiss-based company with unique competences in solutions for the building industry, Holcim is committed to contributing to the ambitions of Sri Lanka and its people and will continue to invest in the island.
“We are committed to supporting the social and economic development of this country through comprehensive sustainability and investment programs,” Fontana added while visiting Holcim Lanka’s operations on 11 June. “We wish to express our support for the country on its path to a brighter future for its people by enhancing their livelihood opportunities and helping to build a stronger economy.
“Our group-wide Holcim Leadership Journey aims at increasing our performance in various streams based on our strong commitment to the health and safety, compliance as well as the development of our people. Our operations in Sri Lanka have contributed to the success of this specific program as well as the success of the entire group through a number of initiatives and we have plans in place to expand our manufacturing facilities here.”
Fontana expressing his views on visiting Sri Lanka, said: “I am pleased to visit our Sri Lankan operations which we consider a very valuable part of our worldwide network. My visit here has given me an insight into how the local Holcim Group company is fulfilling its vision to be the leading and preferred supplier of cement and related building materials to build foundations for Sri Lanka’s future. Sustainability has been at the core of our operations locally and globally and this is how we create value for all our stakeholders. The commitment and engagement of the Holcim Lanka teams as well as their focus on their customers is a strong base for our continued growth in the country.”
He added: “Holcim’s business strategy is based on growth in both developed economies and emerging, high-growth markets and Sri Lanka occupies an important place in this context. As a global leader, we strive to set benchmarks to promote sustainability and innovation across our enterprise. Keeping in line with the objectives, some of our key focuses for the next five years would be to increase the cement grinding capacity at our Ruhunu Cement Plant by 0.6 MN MT to reach 1.0 MN MT capacity per year, capacity upgrade on Geocycle shredding line to enhance waste management solutions together with upgrading kiln system, building up clinker warehouse to better cater the market demand with uninterrupted supply, process efficiency improvement via Sludge drying facility. We also intend to make considerable improvements to our distribution by enhancing our logistics.
“We are operating in a heavy machinery industry and creating a safe environment for the employees to perform their best is the number one priority – here in Sri Lanka and across all our operations. Every decision, investment or action is guided by its focus on the three dimensions – economic value, environmental protection and social responsibility. Hence, proper investment that ensures efficiency, reliability and environmental protection plays a huge role towards leading Holcim Lanka to achieve its mission,” he concluded.
Towards cement self-reliance
Commenting on Fontana’s presence in the island, Holcim Lanka CEO Philippe Richart said: “We are delighted to welcome Holcim Group CEO Bernard Fontana on his first visit to Sri Lanka. We believe the Sri Lankan operation adds significant value to the group and Mr. Fontana’s visit here reaffirms our belief. In our 18 years of existence in Sri Lanka, we have tripled our cement manufacturing capacity to reach 2.3 million tons. We are currently investing Rs. 2.9 billion ($ 22 million) in our Galle operations to increase our manufacture as a reflection of our strategy to fully localise our cement production, thereby rendering the country self-reliant in cement production. This strategy underscores the company’s commitment to partnering the national resurgence of the country through our operations. Our employees are at the heart of our success and we invest heavily in people development through participation in global programs for excellence and by providing high quality training. Cross-country sharing of human resources is another motivating factor for our employees to excel and we are proud of the fact that many Sri Lankans are employed at different Holcim companies around the world. We are fortunate that the latest technology and construction trends are at our fingertips as a result of sharing of global best practices and knowhow across the Holcim global network. I express my gratitude for the strong support and technical expertise that we are able to leverage on thanks to our global presence and best practices. I also express my gratitude to the country and to our committed employees who supported our success.”
During the past two years alone, Holcim (Lanka) Ltd. has been the proud recipient of many prestigious awards. These include Holcim Safety Global Awards – Zurich, Asian Holcim Best Customer Excellence Award, Asian Best Energy improver – Mumbai, Silver Award for Best Front Liner and Territory Manager at SLIM NASCO Awards and Best in Training & Organisation Development – Dubai.
Founded in Switzerland in 1912, Holcim is one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement and aggregates (crushed stone, sand and gravel), along with ready-mix concrete and asphalt, and related services. It is a global company employing some 71,000 people, with production sites in around 70 countries.
Holcim Lanka is a part of the global Holcim group. The company currently operates one fully integrated cement plant in Puttalam, while also operating a grinding plant in Galle for better customer focus and coverage. Holcim Lanka sold approximately 1.5 million tons of cement in 2013. The Holcim cement range meets customer requirements with the application based product Sanstha & Ambuja (retail concrete application), Readyflow for infrastructure projects and Holcim Extra bulk cement for large scale infrastructure project in more aggressive environments. In addition, Holcim Lanka provides a host of technical services as construction solutions to its customers. The company operates in all regions of Sri Lanka selling cement and providing services, creating approximately 15,000 (direct and indirect) employment opportunities. Holcim Lanka generated annual revenues of approximately Rs. 20 billion ($ 152.7 million) in 2013.