Local cement market impervious to virus fears, insiders say
The impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak on the consumption of cement and other construction materials in the Kingdom has been minimal, industry insiders say.
There are reasons to remain optimistic about the future of the construction sector in Cambodia with demand for construction materials still robust, according to Kampot Cement Co sales and marketing director Wirot Phanitphotchamarn.
Kampot Cement Co, a subsidiary of Thailand’s Siam Cement Group (SCG), is one of the oldest cement manufacturers in the Kingdom and an industry leader.
Wirot told The Post there are no signs Covid-19 or the global economic slowdown is dampening demand in the local construction industry.
“Demand remains strong for cement and building materials due to infrastructure development, urbanisation, long-term investment, and family and population growth. We believe the Cambodian economy will continue to grow strongly in the long term.”
Kampot Cement says it will not lower the price of its products in places like Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, where Covid-19 fears have slowed the flow of tourists, arguing that the market remains strong.
“We are not concerned about the price as it is a matter of demand and supply. SCG focuses on quality and value,” he said.
SCG has a 90 per cent stake in Kampot Cement. The remaining stake is held by local firm Khaou Chuly Group.
Secretary-General of Cambodia Cement Manufacturers Association (CCMA) Puth Chandarith told The Post last week that there has been a small downturn in construction activity in Sihanoukville as a result of the Chinese leaving the city.
However, CCMA members are not too concerned, he said.
“Our members held a meeting recently, but no one expressed any worries,” he said, adding that the association’s members do not intend to lower their prices.
A sales representative of Chray Sokun Construction Materials Depot, a firm based in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district, said the price of cement in the market has not changed.
She said her depot has placed orders for three types of cement: ‘K-cement,’ a product of Kampot Cement that sells for $103 per tonne; ‘Camel Cement Products’ of Chip Mong Insee Cement, which sales for $101 per tonne; and ‘Conch’ of Battambang Cement, selling for just over $90 a tonne.
Cambodia has five cement factories – Kampot Cement Co Ltd, Chip Mong Insee Cement Corporation, Cambodia Cement Chakrey Ting Factory Co Ltd, Battambang Conch Cement Company Limited and Thai Boom Roong Cement Co Ltd.
Together, these factories can produce about eight million tonnes of cement annually. The Cambodian market demands about nine million tonnes every year.
The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction last year approved 4,446 construction projects, worth a combined $9.3 billion and occupying 18.54 million square metres.