Cementos Argos becomes second major stakeholder in Class C ash formulator Ceratech

Only three months after announcing that third-largest coal producer Alpha Natural Resources had acquired 10.3% of its business (with an option to increase the stake to 28.3% under certain future terms), Ceratech Inc., Alexandria, Va., has accepted another strategic equity investment from Colombian cement giant Cementos Argos, the fourth-largest U.S. concrete producer.

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Cement consumption forecast drops; lower prospective highway funding culprit

Source: Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill.

Uncertainty regarding highway spending legislation and government policy related to the debt crisis has caused the PCA cement consumption forecast to be downgraded from a 1.4 percent increase over 2010 figures to 0.2 percent for 2011. Additionally PCA Chief Economic Ed Sullivan's recent forecast indicates 2012 figures will be nearly flat as well, with a downgrade of his 4.0 percent consumption increase to just 0.4 percent. According to Sullivan, the “previous forecast was based on the assumption that the new highway bill would be 20 percent higher than existing levels, but we now believe the funding will remain at current levels.”

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Canadian cement consumption on the decline

Source: Portland Cement Assoication, Skokie, Ill.

According to a recent report by PCA, a weaker assessment for the U.S. economy in tandem with a slower Canadian construction outlook suggests Canadian cement consumption will not perform as previously anticipated.

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