German group unveils DRC cement investments

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The German construction materials group HeidelbergCement said Wednesday it would invest in three cement plants owned by Belgian businessman George Forrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

"HeidelbergCement will hold majority stakes of 55 percent in the Cimenterie de Lukala cement plant, located close to the capital city of Kinshasa, and of 70 percent in the two Interlacs plants, located in the eastern part of the country," a statement said.

"Total cement capacity of all plants amounts to more than 500,000 tonnes per year and shall be expanded to over 1.4 million tonnes," it added.

Both sides agreed not to disclose the value of the transaction, a spokesman for the German group told AFP.

George Forrest, the largest private sector employer in the DRC, will retain stakes of 30 percent in each of the plants.

HeidelbergCement plans "to further increase capacities over the coming years in order to take advantage of the considerably growing local demand for cement," the statement said.

Kinshasa is one of Africa's largest cities, with a population of around 10 million people, and the continent is emerging as a site of significant economic growth in coming years.

The DRC is also plagued by unrest however, and military officials said Tuesday the army planned to launch a campaign in the eastern territory of Walikale, where several armed groups were illegally exploiting mines.

© 2010 AFP

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