New Player in the Georgian Cement Market
High quality cement produced through the latest technological advancements in the field and numerous satisfied customers – these are the ambitions that led a new cement producer, Georgian Cement Company (GCC), to the Georgian market.
“Our aim it is to provide the Georgian customer with some of the know-how that has been readily available to foreign customers for a while now,” say the company’s officials who united over a likeminded idea years ago.
It’s because of these likeminded people’s effort that on the 4th of October a new cement factory opened in Poti. At the first stage the factory plans to produce some 250 thousand tons of cement per year.
The decision to open the cement factory in Poti was made by GCC three years ago based on extensive market research of the cement industry in Georgia which showed a number of interesting results – as it turns out, western Georgia is mainly supplied by imported cement from Turkey. This created a niche for a big business group. GCC decided to act hastily on the back of their research and beat potential competition. “It was an important challenge for the company to start new projects like hydroelectric stations, highways, ports, infrastructural developments and tourist hubs in western Georgia,” says the company’s founder Merab Chikhradze.
To execute this fairly ambitious project, GCC decided to partner up with a French titan of the cement industry, Lafarge. The agreement with Lafarge was the first major victory for the Georgian company.
In 2015, Lafarge became an even bigger player in the market by merging with Switzerland’s ‘Holcim,’ and as a result, an undisputed world leader emerged by the name ‘Lafargeholcim.’
The French company Lafargeholcim is present in 90 countries and is one of the main players in the cement, interior material and concrete sectors. The company employees 115,000 people and owns over 2,500 factories worldwide. This includes 1,600 concrete factories, 180 full cycle and 70 cement factories.
With their partners’ help and own experience, Georgian Cement Company fulfilled its plan and started building a factory in Poti in 2014.
During this process, GCC invited Georgian companies to work on the project. As a result, those companies gained invaluable experience. GCC states that it is ready to work with and help Georgian the manufacturing sector in the future, too, including with charity projects. One of the main priorities of the business group is social responsibility.
The cement factory with ultra technological advancements has already built in Poti, stretching over acres of land, and hosts a unique laboratory based on its French partner’s standards. The laboratory is capable of checking production quality in a matter of minutes, including through chemical analysis. This laboratory makes the founders very proud, and rightly so as it’s the only one of its kind in Georgia.
The process of coming up with a project and building the factory had one main priority throughout, which was to always protect the ecology and as such, the factory boasts the latest technological advancements in this field. Eleven units of filtration ensure the pollution levels are down to European standard. This is another factor which makes the factory unique in the region.
During the first stage 60 locals are to be employed full time but the number of indirect employees will be far greater. With foreign partners, the factory’s executives have come up with a plan which allows the factory to raise the qualification of specialists through training and internship programs. This will be the main factor in developing the relationship with the world leader of cement production, as the quality of cement produced in Poti has to be up to par with Lafargeholcim’s standards.
Special attention will be paid to employee health and safety and the factory will have a health inspector present at all times.
“We’re oriented to producing high quality and offering our customers different levels of service, including premium class,” says Chikhradze on GCC’s future plans. “During a visit to Paris, top managers of Georgian and French companies agreed on further strategies. A long term plan was agreed upon, which consists of several stages. A concrete manufacturing project was also planned.”
A concrete manufacturing project is practically complete in Tbilisi which will also be equipped to the highest Lafargeholcim standard. The factory, which will employ tens of workers, will be without competition in the region. Market research showed that construction companies were demanding a specific concrete. Based on this, GCC decided to offer customers premium class service with timely delivery and a product created to individual requests. The product will be manufactured for modern construction projects.
“If Georgia didn’t have a stable environment for investment, we wouldn’t have been able to fulfill this project,” say the executives at Georgian Cement Company. “The main goal of GCC is to be unique in the Georgian construction material sector and to help the country’s economy develop further.”