Companies have fixed their cement prices and are subject to regular ministry investigations and inspections, said Minister of Supply Khaled Hanafy in a Wednesday statement by the Ministry of Supply.
Hanafy said that investigations are conducted at supply firms, factories, wholesalers and cement retailers to ensure their compliance with the prices they state.
The statement added that cement companies announce their prices by the third week of every month.
According to the statement, the Suez Cement Italcementi Group, which operates Tourah, Helwan and Suez cement production facilities, fixed their price at EGP 850 per ton. Amreyah Cement Company set a price of EG 831 per ton, while National Cement put a price of EGP 750 in Cairo and a price of EGP 770 in all other governorates.
Omar Mehanna, chairman of the board of directors of Suez Cement Italcementi Group, told Daily News Egypt that cement prices vary according to market changes and not because the Egyptian ministry obliged the group to do so. He added that the group does not raise the prices of cement unnecessarily.
Regarding the use of coal as an alternative source of energy for the production of cement, Mehanna said the group’s subsidiaries are now being equipped for this. He pointed out that the use of coal started gradually at Katameya plant, and will start in the Suez factory by the first quarter of 2015.
Mehanna also stated that the group is highly committed to applying the global environmental standards for using coal.
As for the future prices of cement, Mehanna expects them to be stable. He also anticipates an increase in the demand for cement in the coming period and a rise in supply as a result of the use of the new energy system, which will bring more efficient results.
Medhat Estafanous, head of the Cement Industry Division at the Federation of Egyptian Industries told Daily News Egypt the cement industry is in the final stages of introducing coal as an alternative source of energy.
In July 2014, the government raised the prices of gas and fuel causing cement companies to raise their prices due to higher production costs. After the increase, cement companies had to buy gas for $8 per million BTUs compared to $6 previously.
Fuel oil prices increased from EGP 1,500 to EGP 2,250 per tonne. The rise in production costs was the main derivative why cement companies were looking forward to using coal as an alternative source of energy this year.