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African cement king expands to Nepal

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Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, was expanding his cement empire to Asia and it would be operational in 30 months, he said.

The 58-year-old Nigerian billionaire said Dangote Cement should complete a factory in Nepal by the end of 2017. It has received 90 percent of the regulatory approvals needed for construction in the Asian nation, hit by two earthquakes this year.

“It’s going to be one of the first factories for us outside our comfort zone, outside Africa,” Dangote said. Wearing white traditional robes, he was speaking on Tuesday at his office in Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos.

Further expansion beyond Africa would mainly “happen through acquisition”, he said.

Dangote, who has never visited Nepal, will invest $400 million (R5 billion) in the country to build a cement plant with a capacity of as much as 2 million tons.

He is also eyeing South America and surveying for limestone in Brazil, where he registered a company two years ago.

Nepal’s government estimates reconstruction costs from April’s quake will exceed $10bn, even before the 7.3 magnitude earthquake last month.

“It will be a major boost for them, especially after what happened,” he said. “They don’t produce cement. They import it.”

There was room for Dangote in Nepal, said Andy Gboka, a fund manager at Bellevue Asset Management, which manages more than $5bn and holds Dangote Cement shares. – Bloomberg

BLOOMBERGDangote Group chief executive Aliko Dangote. Photo: Bloomberg

Chris Kay Lagos

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