SUCCESS STORIES IN KAZAKHSTAN. VICAT GROUP
Mr. Pietro Cala, General Representative of VICAT Group in Kazakhstan and Director of Jambyl Cement company, told us about VICAT Group and its activities in Kazakhstan.
- Mr. Cala, how long has the company been working in Kazakhstan and what results has it achieved?
In his strategy of internationalization of the Group, VICAT has been looking, with interest, at Kazakhstan since 2005 or earlier. Many prospective projects were examined and our technical and financial teams worked, locally, for a couple of years in assessing how to better set up our first cement plant in Kazakhstan. Eventually, at the end of 2007, the VICAT Group became part of a project for establishing a cement plant in Mynaral, a village on the shores of Balkash Lake at 400 km distance from Almaty. The site was considered ideally located along the main route Almaty- Astana and, so far, having easy access to the main construction markets of the country.
At the beginning of 2011 the plant started operating and soon the company stepped into the market by offering first class products very appreciated by the most demanding customers. Very quickly cement produced and sold by Jambyl Cement became popular and representing 15% of the country consumption.
Nowadays Jambyl Cement capacity is as high as 1,4 million tons cement per year and a part of it is exported to neighboring countries. Since its creation, over 250 jobs have been created directly and at least some other 450 indirect employment opportunities were generated; the company is heavily investing in recruiting and training local specialists and the aim is at having most of the plant employees living in apartments purposely built for them by Jambyl Cement Company in the surrounding area.
- How was your experience, as investor, in carrying on such big project in Kazakhstan?
Our Group has provided into this project not only financial resources and technical skills but also organization, management culture, international relationships. Being a French Group has been, I believe, an additional advantage in pursuing our goals and in achieving them: the friendship in between France and Kazakhstan has no need to be further remembered; I can only recall that the project has been supported both by the French administration and from the Kazakh one: at such a level that our Honorary President, Mr Merceron-Vicat has met many times President Nazarbayev which was, personally, interested in how the project was progressing.
- What prospects do you see for the company and what are the company's plans for the near future?
The corporate culture of VICAT Group comes from a long lasting tradition and dates back to 1817 when Luis Vicat invented artificial cement: our objectives are strictly related to proximity to our clients, reactivity, innovation and a very strong sense of belonging. We think, we take decisions and we act only having in mind long term objectives and we do care about resources and sustainability: it is not by chance that the Group has almost two centuries of history: not many companies have the same track record nor many of our competitors.
Our goal in Kazakhstan is establishing a company which will operate for at least one century, which is the expected duration of our raw material reserves, and contributing, socially, to the development of the country and, technically, to its infrastructures. For doing that, Jambyl Cement has to be financially self-sufficient and autonomous and able, also, in renewing and improving its industrial tools along the time.
- Please, tell us about your personal impressions on our country
Living in a fast developing country with a young population willing to emerge and progress has been great. People are friendly and interested in a better future: this makes living in Kazakhstan extremely fascinating and motivating for me.
At human level, living and working in Kazakhstan has been such an experience: your culture, traditions and hospitality are remarkable and we got introduced and used to some of your traditional meat food.
Professionally speaking, I look forward to that a French company, like us, operating in Kazakhstan can be considered as a reliable partner for the country and for its citizens: in this sense having the two cultures closer and more understanding each other can be a good way to realize this integration.