The company Medcem Cameroun, owned by Turkish group Eren Holdings, will officially commission on 16 December 2016 in Douala, the Cameroonian economic capital, its cement factory with an annual capacity of 600,000 tons, we learned from sources within the company.
The first cement bags produced by Medcem Cameroun appeared on the Cameroonian market in October 2015, before disappearing altogether. For some months now, this cement has been making a timid return on the market, available only at Quiffeurou, a hardware chain store presented as the leader in the distribution of building material in Central Africa, with whom Medcem Cameroun signed an agreement.
An investment worth approximately FCfa 13 billion, this cement factory benefits from the advantages provided in the 2013 Act on promoting private investment in the Republic of Cameroon; which grants exemptions of 5 to 10 years to companies, during the installation as well as the operational stages.
Medcem Cameroun is the 3rd cement production unit to launch its activities in Cameroon within 3 years; and the 4th cement factory of Cameroon, alongside Cimencam operated by the Lafarge Holcim group, Nigerian Dangote Cement, or Moroccan Cimaf.
This Turkish cement factory will bring to roughly 4.3 million tons, the annual cemrnt production capacity in Cameroon. As it happens, even though the production of cement more than doubled in the country since 2013, with the arrival of Cimaf, which put an end to a 48-year old monopoly by Lafarge on this market, the introduction of competition has not yet led to a decrease in prices.
Indeed, the price of one bag of cement oscillates between FCfa 4,550 and 4,600, against FCfa 5,000 in the past. A situation which will not change with the entry of a new operator in the market, as Medcem already matched its prices to this price interval, by selling a bag of cement at FCfa 4,550 in Quiffeurou’s hardware stores.
During a meeting with the players in the building material production chain in October 2015, the Minister of Commerce, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, openly suspected cement producers of price collusion and ordered an investigation on the phenomenon. The results of this government investigation on cement prices, which were expected to be released after 10 days, have not yet been revealed after more than a year.