21 August 2009

Publication: Moneyweb
Author: Reuters

South African diversified mining exploration firm Sephaku Holdings unveiled plans to build a new cement plant on Friday, its first day on Johannesburg’s main board, where it debuted at 7.50 rand per share.

Sephaku Chief Executive Officer Neil Crafford-Lazarus told reporters that the company was in the advanced stage of planning the cement plant, which would have a capacity of 2.1 million tons per year once it reached full production in the second quarter of 2012.

Crafford-Lazarus said Sephaku was in talks with South African, Chinese and European financiers to fund the plant.

“We have raised 420 million rands and we are currently discussing with specific investors to raise 800 million for our cement business,” he said.

“We are not going to place any shares on the market (to finance the project).”

The cement plant will produce at 30 percent capacity by 2011 and then will ramp up to 2.1 million tons, which would give it a 16 percent share of South Africa’s cement business.

Crafford-Lazarus said Sephaku China’s Sinoma unit would build the plant over 21 months and would begin construciton once financing had been settled.

“We see our cement business as a proxy for our other commodities. We … believe we have a strong core competence in bringing assets up the value curve,” Crafford-Lazarus said.

Sephaku holds 80 percent of Sephaku Cement, which will be diluted by listing on the bourse to 55 percent valued at 1.9 billion rand.

The company also holds 100 percent in the Fluorspar project, 30 percent in Taung, which holds properties in the Free State goldfields, and 26 percent interest in African Nickel Holdings. The company also has a number of mining prospecting rights.

Sephaku, which also has interests in limestone, coal and tin, is the first miner to list in Johannesburg this year.

Sephaku debut share price gave it a market capitalisation of 1.1 billion rand.

South African bourse operator JSE Ltd has said it expected at least four new listings, mainly resource firms, on the main board in the second half of the year, as well as some new companies on the Africa board in the next six months.