Malaysia: Holcim banks on green cement

SWISS cement group Holcim Malaysia is optimistic that its new green cement range will contribute to better sales and profit for 2012.

In 2010, the company recorded RM202 million sales of various types of cement products and ready-mix concrete.

Chief executive officer Mahanama Ralapanawa said Holcim Malaysia’s sales and profit growth will also be driven by greater operational efficiencies through the implementation of new and better technologies, upgrading and improvement of existing facilities and an increased focus on providing solutions through a value-add approach.

“The move towards green certification by developers should drive demand for our green cement range. This range is designed to appeal to the less price- conscious and more value-conscious customers,” he told Business Times in an email interview.

Holcim Malaysia, located at Pasir Gudang, Johor, had recently secured the eco-label certification from Sirim which makes the company the country’s first green cement manufacturer.

Formerly known as Tenggara Cement in 1985, the company was acquired by the Swiss-based Holcim Ltd in 1999, becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary the following year.

Mahanama said Holcim Malaysia is optimistic about Malaysia and will continue investing in the country.

“Our existing operations are being expanded to full capacity and we are continuing to convert and upgrade several of our production facilities this year that were previously acquired,” he said.

Mahanama is also positive with the outlook for 2012.

“Malaysia remains fundamentally strong and as a multinational corporation, we feel the current policies, especially the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), are responsive to the needs of the country.

“The government’s commitment to major construction and development projects will drive demand for cement and other construction material,” he said.

Currently, all of Holcim Malaysia’s sales are from lite green cements. For a start, Mahanama said 15 per cent of the company’s production will be focused on the new green cement range.

“In the short term, obligations to maintain availability coupled with a market that still lacks awareness, education and environmental consciousness necessitates that we continue to offer both (conventional and green cements). However, this may change as we are reviewing and monitoring the response from the industry,” he said.

Mahanama said Holcim’s green cement is the best product for those seeking green certifications such as the GBI (Green Building Index) and Green Mark, or even those vying for international property awards like Fiabci.

“We have expertise in helping our customers achieve this as our green cement has already been selling in the region like in Singapore and Holcim has already been assisting customers in project certification of its materials. Thus, some have secured awards and green certifications as a result,” he said.

He said numerous interested parties including developers seeking green certifications like the GBI and Green Mark or even awards like the Fiabci have approached Holcim Malaysia.

“We held a private industry preview a few days ago for Holcim Top Standard, our signature cement range used globally with confidence in residential and commercial developments,” he said, adding that the firm will launch Holcim Duracem in January and will open preliminary bookings of stock from January 9.

Besides Duracem and Top Standard, another key product in the company’s premium green cement range is Holcim Mass Pour.

Mahanama also said that Holcim Malaysia will be embarking on a brand awareness and education programmes in both technical and non-technical aspect of sustainable construction and development.

It will introduce a series of publications, guides and seminars with international experts within Holcim, the Holcim Foundation and its partners.


Source : Business Times

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