Billionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote, is taking his cement empire to Asia. He says it will be operational in 30 months.
According to bloomberg.com, Dangote, 58, said Dangote Cement Plc should complete a factory in Nepal by the end of 2017. It has received 90 percent of the regulatory approvals needed to start construction in the south Asian nation hit by two earthquakes this year, he added.
“It’s going to be one of the first factories for us to build outside our comfort zone, outside Africa,” Dangote, wearing white traditional robes, said in a June 16 interview at his office in Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos. Further expansion beyond Africa mainly “will happen through acquisition,” he said.
Dangote, who has never visited Nepal, will invest $400 million in the country to build a cement plant with a capacity of as much as 2 million metric tons. He’s also eyeing South America and surveying for limestone in Brazil, where he registered a company two years ago.
Nepal’s government estimates reconstruction costs from April’s quake, which killed thousands, alone will exceed $10 billion, even before the country was hit by a separate 7.3 magnitude temblor last month.
“It will be a major boost for them, especially with what happened,” Dangote said. “They don’t produce cement at the moment, they import mainly from India.”
There is room for Dangote to move into Nepal, said Andy Gboka, a fund manager at Bellevue Asset Management AG, which manages more than $5 billion and holds Dangote Cement shares.
“There is not enough production capacity and unfortunately you saw what happened with the earthquake and the infrastructure that was damaged,” Gboka said by phone from Zurich. “Even though this is coming from a negative event, there is a strong growth story in the Nepal region.”