Irish cement company Ecocem has invested €30m into a new production facility in the north of France as part of joint venture with the world’s largest steel company.
The investment is split 30pc to 70pc in favour of Ecocem and will increase the Irish firm’s capacity from 1.4m tonnes of high performance, low carbon cement to around 2m tonnes.
Ecocem said the main target markets for the plant will be the north of France and the UK. ArcelorMittal, the company that is investing with Ecocem, is the world’s largest steel firm.
The investment is a strategic partnership as Ecocem use a by product of the manufacture of steel to make cement. The news follows recent builds by the company with the Peel Ports Group.
The pair built an import terminal in Runcorn on the Manchester Ship Canal and will look to add to it with another two, one in Runcorn and another in Sheerness in England.
Ecocem’s continued expansion in the UK is a response to growing demand from the market. The firm has experienced an increase in exports from the UK as a result of a bustling cement market and a shortage of the type of cement Ecocem produces.
Speaking at the time of its UK investment, Ecocem managing director Conor O’Riain said the firm is looking long-term at the market.
“We’ve invested in state-of- the-art equipment to demonstrate to the market that we’re here for the long term, and I’m delighted to say that the response from the market has been phenomenal.
“We’ve made commitments to sell more in the UK in our first year than our total domestic sales in 2016,” he said. Prior to entering the British market Ecocem had already received orders for 200,000 tonnes of product for its first year and stopped taking any further offers in the short term.
Ecocem is also trying to make its first move into the US.
The company is looking to build a €45m grinding mill near San Francisco but has some hurdles to its intentions from its planning applications.
The firm has continued to grow its reputation as a low-carbon cement producer and last month the firm picked up the Green Product Award 2016 for its superfine product