Lafarge Africa CEO talks about Nigeria commitments
Guillaume Roux, Group Managing Director/CEO of Lafarge Africa Plc, in this interview with some journalists in France, speaks on the cement and construction industry in Nigeria, the price war, as well as what his company is doing to improve the industry.
SULAIMON OLANREWAJU presents excerpts.
What is Lafarge Africa bringing to the table in Nigeria?
With the creation of Lafarge Africa, we are now number six on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Lafarge Africa is a combination of all our Nigerian operations: Wapco, Ashaka, UniCem and Atlas, as well as our South African operation.
We decided to choose Nigeria as our base. This shows our commitment to Nigeria. We have a number of investment plans in Nigeria which I am not going to repeat because you know about them and it would be unnecessary repetition. We also have a lot of commitments on our development in terms of products.
What is your reaction to the slashing of prices by one of your competitors?
For us at Lafarge, pricing is a function of certain economic and operational indices. It is a competitive decision based on certain factors. Our competitor made the decision to slash the prices and we just have to live with it.
If we look at the price of cement in Nigeria today before this price action, prices were already lower than they were four years ago. So, over the last four years, thanks to a lot of work improvement, increased capacity and backward integration, we have seen a lot of improvement in the cement sector. All these contribute to make the product affordable.