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Taiheiyo Cement Corp., Japan’s top cement maker, said Monday it has agreed to take a stake of about 90 percent in Grand Cement Manufacturing Corp. of the Philippines for about 9 billion yen.

The purchase is aimed at beefing up its group operations in Asia, a market now being targeted by U.S. and European cement manufacturers, Taiheiyo Cement said.

The company said the deal will give it its first manufacturing foothold in the Philippines, one of the most promising cement markets in Southeast Asia. Grand Cement has a production capacity of 1 million tons a year.

Taiheiyo Cement has run a distribution terminal jointly with a Philippine partner since 1998.

U.S., European and Mexican cement makers have rushed to expand into the Philippine market recently, leaving about 90 percent of Philippine cement makers under foreign ownership.

The acquisition illustrates Taiheiyo Cement’s drive to strengthen its business operations in Asia and follows a deal last week to take a stake of about 20 percent in Ssangyong Cement Industrial Co., South Korea’s biggest cement maker.

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