Dangote Cement Plc, has announced a reduction in the price of its market-leading 3X brand of cement in Nigeria by ₦300 per 50kg bag, or ₦6,000 per tonne.
Blomberg reports that the cut in price is expected to stimulate building work across Nigeria and compete with imports.
Chief Executive Officer, Onne van der Weijde said in a statement that the price cuts to its 3X cement brand by N6,000 ($30.23) per metric ton will still allow Dangote to achieve strong returns.
Van der Weijde said the company is also hoping the lower prices will help increase export sales to neighbouring nations.
Dangote Cement, controlled by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, is seeking to grow sales and protect market share in Nigeria, while rapidly expanding elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.
The company has grappled with fuel shortages in its home market this year that have hurt demand, and in December it raised prices to protect profit margins amid a devaluing local currency.
Nigeria, Africa’s biggest crude producer, has been hobbled by a halving of oil prices in the past year and the toll of an Islamist insurgency in the country’s north.
“We hope that reducing the cost of cement will help to stimulate building work across Nigeria at a time when the economy is in need of a boost,” Van der Weijde said. “We believe our cost-saving initiatives and new pricing strategy will help to support the naira by reducing unnecessary imports and by enabling us to generate valuable foreign exchange earnings.”
About 42 percent of Dangote’s cement sales by volume were sold outside of Nigeria in July, the company said in the statement, compared with 22 percent in the first six months of the year, and just 8 percent in 2014.
Before the price increase in December, Dangote had reduced the cost of cement in November, causing a more than 20 percent slump in the market. Paris-based Lafarge SA is Dangote’s largest competitor in Nigeria.
“Competition has no choice but to bringdown the price because Dangote is the market leader,” said Pabina Yinkere, head of research at Lagos-based Vetiva Capital Management. “The last time they reduced the price it was not sustained because they had logistics problems with their distribution.”
Dangote Cement shares have fallen 13 percent this year to 174 naira, compared to the 14 percent drop of the Nigerian Stock Exchange All-Share Index.