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Ready-mixed ready to go

Article - June 27, 2012
Mineral-rich Algeria has no shortage of natural resources for producing building materials
“Our wealth is our soil and subsoil,” says Yahir Bachir, Groupe GICA’s CEO. “These are our assets and we are working to make the best use of them.”

While Groupe GICA’s cement factories carry out its core activity, the group also has subsidiaries producing aggregates and is in the process of developing a ready-mix concrete business.

Groupe GICA produces three types of cement: Portland Cement 450 CPJ 42.5, CPJ 32.5 and CRS 400, a sulphate-resistant product.

“We pay great attention to producing good quality cement,” says Mr Bachir. “The cement manufacturing process is more complex than people realise.”

The cement manufacturing process is more complex than people realise.

Yahia Bachir, CEO of Groupe GICA

Feasibility studies are carried out by the group’s technical centre, which specialises in construction material technologies. “The technical centre does geological studies to determine where the best raw materials are located, which allows us to produce the best finished product,” says the CEO.

“During the whole process of fabrication, from the extraction of the raw material to the finished product, we have quality control.”

When demand for cement exceeds supply, priority is given to businesses involved in development projects such as public works or the construction of dams.

“These companies account for 55 per cent of our customers and we can still satisfy their demands even with a deficit of 3 million tons,” says Mr Bachir.

Three of Groupe GICA’s subsidiaries produce aggregate: one in the east of Algeria, one in the centre of the country and one in the west. Current production is 4.5 million tons per year, but it is being increased. The target of
7 million tons is expected to be reached at the beginning of 2013.
As part of its five-year plan, Groupe GICA is also launching a ready-mixed concrete business this year.

“We are installing 14 ready-mix concrete stations, of which seven will be ready by the end of the year. We are also in discussion with a foreign partner. We could move forward alone but if we can find a partner with whom both sides can win, why not?” says Mr Bachir.

Complementing these activities, the group has industrial maintenance companies, marketing companies and distribution companies.

Groupe GICA has three distribution subsidiaries, two in the centre of the country and one in the west, while the cement factories in the east have their own distribution network.

“When you are part of the public sector, you have a responsibility to make construction materials available to all of the regions of Algeria,” says Mr Bachir. “We have a network that goes from Algiers in the north to the borders of Mali and Niger deep in the south.”