Lafarge secures cement price change on viable market demand
Lafarge Africa, has anchored any possible price reduction of its products on market forces, insisting that only viable market demand can compel it to tinker with the current market price of its wide range of building solutions.
Sam Ndionyenma, general manager sales and customer service, revealed this while speaking to some select journalists at the sidelines of the just concluded 2014 Lagos International Trade Fair, stated that as far as the firm was concerned, pricing is a function of market demand.
“Cement prices are determined by market forces, the market determines what we do with cement prices. If the market is asking for a lower price we will provide them with solutions that meet their needs,” Ndionyenma said, maintaining that the brand cannot be cajoled into cutting prices.
“As a brand we don’t increase prices because demand is high, likewise we don’t reduce prices because demand is low. We move price on the factors that affect demand,” he added.
Expressing his reaction to the recent moves by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to effect reforms in the cement industry, Ndionyenma explained that as a corporate citizen which has remained a major player in the industry for 54 years, the Lafarge brand will support all efforts being made by the organisation to buoy the industry’s growth, stressing that the brand will continually support every attempt by the government to standardise the sector.
“For us, we see the government of Nigeria as having the right policies. The government has been very supportive and vice versa. If Lafarge has any reason to challenge anything in Nigeria it is, how it is done and not because the government is not doing well,” he enthused.
On the firm’s willingness to expand its market footprint to other African markets, the General Manager, maintained that the Nigerian market remains its major market, saying, “The most important thing for us is to satisfy the needs of our consumers in Nigeria. If we see demand for our products from elsewhere, then we are willing to extend our products to such places. But we are particular about helping the government of Nigeria provide the cement required by Nigerians.”
“However, when the capacity is overstretched and there is too much to supply then we can export to other countries in Africa,” he added.
The manager also reacted to the firm’s perceived relegation to second place in the industry by saying, “Lafarge is a multinational company, operating in as much as 62 countries in the world, so Nigeria is only one of our markets. For our competitors, this might be their biggest market but for us we don’t see size by volume, we believe that size is by quality of people and the business we are doing.”
By: ODINAKA MBONU