In line with its diversification strategy, the Group identified the cement sector in Pakistan as an opportunity and subsequently set up the group’s first cement plant in Hattar, Pakistan with an annual production capacity of 1.1 million tonnes in 1995.
With an initial investment of US$120 million, civil works on the group’s first cement plant commenced in 1996 and the kiln was fired two years later. BCL Hattar was established in industry record breaking time of 24 months. This was a greenfield project and the plant was set up in an economically deprived area of Hattar, in the KP Province of Pakistan. Bestway’s investment led to the creation of over 800 direct jobs and the economic development of the area.
In February 2004 anticipating a period of resurgent demand in the domestic market, it was decided to expand BCL’s operations through setting up its second greenfield plant with an annual capacity of 1.8 million tonnes. The plant was set up in Chakwal in the Province of Punjab, Pakistan at a total investment of US$140 million in another record breaking period of 19 months. Bestway’s investment in one of the most underdeveloped areas of Central Punjab led to the creation of 900 jobs for the local community.
In September 2005 the Group acquired its third cement plant, Mustehkam Cement as part of the Government’s Privatisation Programme. This plant had remained non-operational since 1999 and recommenced commercial production within a period of three months post-acquisition. In the post acquisition period the Group has invested in excess of US$50 million. In 2009 plant capacity was enhanced to 1.1 million tonnes per annum. BCL’s investment in Mustehkam led to the creation of 800 new jobs which had a direct positive effect on the local economy.
In June 2008 Bestway set up its third greenfield plant, adjacent to the existing site in Chakwal, at a cost of US$180 million. This plant had an annual capacity of 1.8 million tonnes and created 500 jobs.
BCL saw an opportunity in the Afghanistan market and in 2003 began exporting cement there. BCL is the largest exporter of cement to Afghanistan and has been winning the national export awards since 2004. In 2007 BCL started exporting cement to India and in just over two years became the largest exporter to India. BCL also exports cement to South Africa, Sri Lanka and the Middle East.
Being an environmentally conscious company BCL established Pakistan’s first Waste Heat Recovery Power Plant (WHRPP) under Zameer’s guidance at a cost of US$29 million. The plant became operational in September 2009 and led to the creation of 35 jobs. The plant has the capacity to generate c. 15MW of power from previously wasted heat, thereby reducing the cost of production for the two Chakwal plants as well as their dependency on external source of electricity. The 60,000 carbon emission credits generated from the WHRPP are an additional source of income. The plant gained CDM (Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol) approval in August 2010.
Today, BCL has grown from a start up to Pakistan’s second largest cement producer with four modern state of the art with annual capacity of 6 million tonnes while providing employment to over 3,000 people.
To date the Bestway Group is the only British company to invest in the Pakistani cement sector.
Find out more at the Bestway Cement website.