The cement industry in Kenya established itself in the 1950s. The largest manufacturer of cement in the country, Bamburi Cement Ltd., was founded in 1951 by Felix Mandl, with headquarters currently located in Kenya. The company’s cement plant in Mombasa is considered to be the second-largest of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa.
In a December 2015 filing, the company listed their total asset value at $420 million. Shareholders’ equity in the company, at the time, was valued at $298 million.
The Mombasa plant has been active since 1954.
The cement industry in Kenya helps to support the overall construction and building sector for the nation, which has been one of the country’s fastest-growing sectors. Even with political violence and changing macro-conditions, such as the price of oil bottoming out, building and construction has risen at triple the rate of the nation’s GDP.
Important Kenya Cement Industry Statistics
#1. In 2017, cement consumption fell for the first time in Kenya since the year 2000. In total, 6.2 million tons of cement were consumed, which was 500,000 tons fewer than what was consumed in 2016. (Kenya National Bureau of Statistics)
#2. Between 2006-2011, cement production in Kenya rose by an average rate of 11.6%, increasing from 2.41 million tons to 4.09 million tons in that time period. (Dyer and Blair Online)
#3. The estimated industry capacity utilization rate for the Kenya cement industry is about 72%. (Dyer and Blair Online)
#4. Even with increased competition, the Kenya cement industry is still composed of 6 companies, including Bamburi. Four of the six companies operate mines in Athi River. (Dyer and Blair Online)
#5. Between 2006-2011, cement exports accounted for about 21% of the total production levels created by the Kenya cement industry. (Dyer and Blair Online)
#6. Bamburi currently holds one-third of the total cement production capacity that is available to Kenya’s cement industry. Savannah Cement Company owns 22% of the industry capacity, while the East African Portland Cement Company (EAPC) owns 20% of the capacity. (Dyer and Blair Online)
#7. In terms of market share, Bamburi leads with 40% of the market thanks to their Nguvu cement brand popularity. EAPC owns a 24% share of the market. (Dyer and Blair Online)
#8. Cement imports have been driving down the prices for a 50kg bag of cement for the Kenyan-based industry. In 2018, the average price was as low as $5.94 per bag. In 2016, the average price for the same 50kg was $6.93. (Construction Review Online)
#9. In 2014, the combined capacity of the Kenya cement industry was 8.1 million tons per year. Estimates for capacity by the end of 2018 place the total capacity as high as 17.4 metric tons per year. (U.S. Department of the Interior)
#10. Domestic clinker capacity in 2014 was rated at 3.2 million tons per year, with estimates that this capacity could double by the end of 2018. (U.S. Department of the Interior)
#11. Between 2010-2014, the residential construction activities in Kenya’s primary urban centers increased by 53%. Private, non-residential construction activities rose by 81% during the same period. (U.S. Department of the Interior)
#12. In the 2010-2014 period, over 2,500 kilometers of new paved roadways were added to Kenya’s transportation infrastructure, with most of the roadways using cement as their primary product. (U.S. Department of the Interior)
#13. About 6,100 people receive their direct employment through mining opportunities in Kenya, due in part because of the actions of the cement industry. Except for a spike in employment in 2014, job opportunities in this sector have been relatively constant since 2009. (Open Data for Africa)
#14. In 2015, about 37,000 tons of cement was imported into the country., which is a figure that has remained relatively constant since 2007. In 2011, a record amount of 53,000 tons of cement was imported. (Open Data for Africa)
#15. About 681,000 tons of cement was exported by the Kenya cement industry in 2015, which was the lowest amount since 2010. In 2013, more than 823,000 tons of cement was exported by the industry. (Open Data for Africa)
#16. In total, about 6.3 million tons of cement was produced by the cement industry in Kenya in 2015. That was the largest amount produced by the industry to-date, and about 5 times more cement compared to production levels in 2001. (Open Data for Africa)
#17. About 5.7 million tons of cement were consumed domestically in Kenya in 2015, which was also a record amount. In 2014, 5.1 million tons of cement were consumed, while in 2014, 4.26 million tons were consumed. (Open Data for Africa)
#18. About 8,300 people are directly employed in quarrying activities in Kenya, according to data released in 2015. In 2014, about 7,200 people were employed in quarrying. In 2001, just 131 people were documented to have a job related to quarrying. (Open Data for Africa)
#19. The local cement industry is expected to achieve annualized growth of 6.2% through the year 2026. If achieved, this would allow Kenya to outperform every other sub-Saharan country in this sector. (BMI Research)
#20. In 2016, the construction industry, supported by the cement industry, expanded by 13.9% in 2015 and 9.2% in 2016. (BMI Research)
#21. In total, between road and building construction, the cement industry helps to directly or indirectly support about 163,000 jobs in Kenya. (BMI Research)
Kenya Cement Industry Trends and Analysis
The Kenya cement industry faces a challenge from the import sector. Although cement imports are relatively low in quantity, the cheaper pricing of imports threatens the domestic consumption of locally-produced cement. Imports may be of an inferior quality, according to some industry professionals, though the price may make up for the lack of quality to some builders.
Cement production is expected to increase, despite the challenges presented by imports, because of the infrastructure plans that have been outlined by the local government. Even if residential and commercial demand for domestic cement decreases in the coming years, the public sector needs for cement will continue to keep miners and manufacturers busy.
If the export market can be grown simultaneously through a concerted effort to maximize production capacities, then financial strength is on the horizon for the companies that make up the current Kenya cement industry.