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Homegrown cement plant deal

Homegrown cement plant deal

More than one half of Cambodia's 1.5 million tons of cement imported through the

Thai border annually will be produced on home soil by early 2008, said Khaou Phallaboth,

the local investor for the future Kampot cement plant.

Phallaboth, the president of Khaou Chuly Group (KCG), together with principal investor

Siam Cement from Thailand, plan to manufacture at least 850,000 tons per year at

the new factory.

"It's a completely new cement plant out of the soil - and of that size it is

a milestone in Cambodia's history," Phallaboth said.

"We have a license from the Ministry already, we have bought the land, we have

the design already, and we have the blessing from the Prime Minister - from everyone."

He said it was dangerous for the country to rely 100 percent on imports as it does

presently with cement. Adding that every other country in the region has their own

cement plant.

"It's a basic industry for an Asian economy," Phallaboth said. "We

have the resources, so why should we rely on the imports, we must have the minimum

industries we can rely on ourselves."

Cambodia has not produced cement since the late 1960s, when civil unrest forced the

closure of a 50,000-ton capacity Chinese cement plant also in Kampot.

Phallaboth said it would be the largest single investment in the country once the

two phases - totaling $200 million - of the project are completed. Siam Cement will

invest 80 percent, and KCG 20 percent.

Siam Cement is the largest conglomerate in Thailand with a turnover of more than

$5 billion last year. He said it was a milestone for the government and Cambodian

people to have them operating here.

"We are very proud to have such people as the Thais [as partners], because they

have corporate culture and governance - we are talking about people who have serious

strength in the market," he said. "And that's good for us. We are learning."

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