VENTURES AFRICA – The Director General of Smb, Mamadou Doumbia has announced plans by the bitumen making company to invest $54 million in increasing the company’s refinery capacity. “This becomes imperative to better position the company for the construction and infrastructure boom in west and central Africa,” he said on Monday.
Societe multinationale de bitumes (Smb), which is Ivory Coast’s sole producer of bitumen, plans to increase the capacity of its refinery to 400,000 tonnes by 2015 from its current capacity of 250,000.
Doumbia said, “Given the economic outlook for Ivory Coast and countries of the sub- region, we plan to invest $54 million to increase annual capacity of our refinery.”
According to the International Monetary Fund, West Africa is expected to record an average annual growth of about 5 percent in 2012, a development that has increased orders for Smb bitumen for road construction projects in Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Angola and Ghana.
“In the past three years, we have averaged 40,000 tonnes per year in Ghana, this year, we are expecting to hit 70,000 tonnes by year-end,” Doumbia said. He also added that by the end of 2012, Smb would have shipped to ship about 60,000 tonnes to Angola.
“Given the outlook, we think we will end 2012 with sales of about 250,000 tonnes. In the first half of the year, we recorded sales of about 140,000 tonnes, compared with 64,000 tonnes in the same period last year,” he concluded.