Acquisition of the Joliette cement plant: Béton Provincial wants to go “step by step” to invest hundreds of millions

Acquisition of the Joliette cement plant: Béton Provincial wants to go “step by step” to invest hundreds of millions
Acquisition of the Joliette cement plant: Béton Provincial wants to go “step by step” to invest hundreds of millions

The Quebec company Béton Provincial does not intend to rush its investments of several hundred millions that it must make in the Joliette cement plant, its most recent acquisition, to comply with government environmental standards which will be required in 2030 .

“The most appropriate and intelligent way is to go step by step,” mentions CEO André Bélanger in an exclusive interview with the Newspaper. You have better control over your costs and improvements. You reduce the risk of cost overruns.

“We are going to sit down with the people in place. We will establish good predictability. It is with predictability that we will be able to make investments in this cement plant. We will analyze all the initiatives.”

The Joliette cement plant will need investments of several hundred million to meet government environmental targets for 2030.

Photo David Descôteaux

According to 2021 reports, the Joliette cement plant, which has 130 employees, is one of the biggest polluters in Quebec. Its CO2 emissions exceed 305,000 tonnes.

“The Joliette plant meets all current standards,” says Mr. Bélanger. We will look at the best options for positioning the factory in anticipation of 2030 in order to produce cements with the authorized carbon rate.

“The plant is a reference in Canada in terms of alternative fuel. Nearly 35% of fuels used in cement production have no carbon footprint. We want to increase this rate to 50% by 2026. We want to produce more cement, more green cement. We want to optimize this carbon footprint.”

No government assistance

After biting the dust during the sale of the Port-Daniel–Gascons (McInnis) cement plant in 2021, Béton Provincial decided to change strategy for this transaction, the sale price of which has not been revealed.

“We have not benefited from any government assistance,” confirms Mr. Bélanger. We only obtained bank financing.”

At the time, Béton Provincial had registered with the register of lobbyists to obtain aid of $150 million. However, despite this approach, the Port-Daniel–Gascons cement plant passed into the hands of the Brazilian company Votorantim with the assistance of the Caisse de dépôt.

“It was a generational opportunity,” he adds of his company’s new acquisition. CRH Canada Group Inc. (Irish multinational which had owned it since 2015) decided that its Quebec assets were less essential to them.

“We put a lot of energy into it and we were the winning company in the process.”

Keep assets in Quebec

For the CEO of Béton Provincial, this 60e transaction since 1994 has a special character.

“In addition to a childhood dream coming true for me, we will be able to achieve perfect integration with our supply network,” emphasizes Mr. Bélanger.

“When you control your network, you can find all the optimizations to go green.”

Above all, he is proud to be able to keep the assets of a company in Quebec.

“Quebec assets often leave the hands of Quebecers to go into the hands of foreign multinationals. This time, we reversed the trend.”

In addition to the cement plant, Béton Provincial is acquiring assets elsewhere in Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador and New York State.

The three other cement plants in Quebec are owned by the Papillon Group (Saint-Basile), the Swiss Holcim (Saint-Constant) and the Brazilian Votorantim (Port-Daniel–Gascons).

Founded in 1960 by entrepreneur Walter Bélanger, Béton Provincial has more than 2,000 employees, 90 factories and 500 concrete mixers on the roads.

HISTORY OF THE JOLIETTE CEMENT PLANT

1965 The Miron family, owner of a quarry in Montreal, built the Joliette cement plant, which it would operate under the name Ciment Indépendant.

1976 The Ciment St-Laurent Group acquires the cement plant.

1979 Construction of four additional silos

1994 Installation of a used tire supply system

2009 Holcim buys Ciment St-Laurent and the cement plant

2013 Introduction of natural gas

2015 The cement plant comes under the control of CRH (Ash Grove)

Source: actualitecimenteriejoliette.com

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