Citadel’s ASEC Cement in Talks to Divest Stake in Algeria’s Zahana

Leading regional investment company Citadel Capital looks to divest its minority stake in Zahana Cement Co. as part of its drive to focus on majority-owned investments and drive efficiencies at core businesses. 

Yahia Bachir, Director General of Ciments Algerie (GICA), the Algerian holding company that controls all public-sector entities operating in the building materials sector, has publicly stated that the Algerian state is studying “buying out its Egyptian partner in a cement plant project.” Citadel Capital has confirmed its interest in such an exit and is accordingly pursuing discussions to divest ASEC Cement’s minority stake in Zahana Cement Company of Algeria.

“We are presently in preliminary talks with GICA with a view to having ASEC Cement exit its minority investment in Zahana. This is in line with our aim going forward of holding only majority stakes in all of our core subsidiaries,” said Ahmed Heikal, Chairman and Founder of Citadel Capital, the leading investment company in Africa and the Middle East, 
“A key element of our growth strategy is to reduce risk by focusing on fully controlled investments that have proven to be winners,” Heikal noted. “A rebalancing of the individual holdings of certain subsidiaries will allow us to redeploy capital and thereby open new avenues for growth.” 
The talks come in the context of Citadel Capital’s transformation into an investment company that will hold majority stakes in most of its investments in five core industries, namely energy, transportation, agrifoods, mining and cement. The acquisition of majority stakes in select investments is ongoing as a part of the firm’s bid to raise its capital to EGP 8 billion, an exercise that management expects will be complete in the coming three weeks. In parallel, Citadel Capital will look to divest non-core holdings over the coming three or more years. 
ASEC Cement holds a 35% stake in Zahana, which is located in western Algeria c. 40 kilometers away from the city of Wahran. Civil works for a new raw mill to take Zahana’s production capacity to c. 1.0 MTPA of clinker and 1.2 MTPA of cement are complete. The book cost of this investment is c. USD 52 million. 
ASEC Cement is a portfolio company of ASEC Holding, Citadel Capital’s subsidiary in the regional industry. Citadel Capital directly and indirectly holds a c.45% stake in ASEC Cement.