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ARM not shaken by Bamburi move

ATHI RIVER, Kenya, Oct 26 – Athi River Mining Limited chairman Rick Ashley says the company’s future plans will not be affected by Bamburi Cement Company’s decision to reduce its shareholding stake in the firm.

Bamburi, Kenya’s largest cement maker and whose major owner is French firm Lafarge, last week sold off 10 percent of its 15 percent stake in Athi River Mining.

“In terms of our future plans, they are in place, on track and not going to be affected in any way, form or shape by that change in our shareholder register,” Mr Ashley told reporters at ARM plant.

He denied reports that a Lafarge’s stake had been taken over to by a single entity. “It was acquired primarily by various investors.”

Mr Ashley maintained that Bamburi made a return on its investment in Athi into which it had initially bought a 19 percent stake for Sh180 million through a convertible loan.

“They exercised the conversation of their total investment and they have made quite a handsome return on disposing of that significant portion last week,” he said.

He said Athi River intends to expand production capacity in Kenya and Tanzania to cope with growing demand.

Mr Ashley said the move targeted to cost Sh12.5 billion is aimed at reducing dependence on imported cement in the EAC and COMESA regions. He said the company is planning a Sh2.2 million tonnes expansion at Kaloleni, Athi River and two plants in Tanzania. 

The expansion to 4,000 tonnes per day will make ARM the second biggest cement producer south of the Equator.

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“ARM currently holds five percent of the East African capacity but we will have a capacity 19 percent with a capacity of 2.3 million tonnes second to Lafarge’s 31 percent,” enthused Mr Ashley.

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