The word CEMENT comes from the Latin CAEMENTU, which in ancient Rome was the name for a type of un-quarried natural stone. The product is the basic component for concrete. Around 1830 Englishman Joseph Aspdin patented the process of manufacture of a binder, which resulted from the mixture, calcined in the right and defined proportions of limestone and clay. The result was a powder which by appearing similar in character to a stone found abundantly on the island of Portland, was called “Portland cement”.
In Brazil, the first initiatives for the manufacture of cement occurred at the end of the 19th century. 1926 marked the start of the cement industry in Brazil, with the inauguration of the Companhia Brasileira de Cimento Portland factory, em Perus. From then on cement was produced in Brazil on an industrial scale. In 1933, domestic production started to overtake imports.
After WWII, Brazil started a process of industrial development and its infrastructure. Consumption per capita of cement jumped from 12.9 kg/inhab/year in 1935, to 22.3 kg/hab/year at the end of the war, and to nothing less than 67.7 kg/inhab/year in 1962. Between 1945 and 1955 the sector established 16 new factories, and from then the country became self-sufficient in cement consumption.
The 60s were difficult years for the Brazilian economy, and consequently for the cement industry. Excess capacity reached 17% and the scenario only started to change at the end of the decade with the return of economic growth.
The economic miracle happened in the 70s as a consequence of government investments in infrastructure. The cement industry received considerable stimulus to increase its productive capacity and inaugurate new units all over the country. In all 22 new cement factories were installed in the country during this period. However, the oil crisis, at the end of the decade, prevented the continuation of this growth.
During the 80s Brazil experienced crises never before seen, the world recession and the consequent fall in investments resulted in a period of little activity in civil construction. Cement companies reached a figure for excess capacity of 55%.
The creation of the Real Plan brought stability to the economy and an increase in the purchasing power of the population. The reaction was immediate, driving the cement market into two digit growth. In 1999 the cement consumption reached a record level of 40 million tons. As of 2000 the sector’s results started to weaken in face of the oscillations in the economy. The following economic crises, and the end of exchange parity caused the Real to devalue, fully affecting the consumption.
Starting in 2004, with the regulations in civil construction , the incentive to build real estate, the overall increase in salaries, credit expansion, reduction of interest and the capitalization of the incorporators and construction companies, civil construction showed strong growth and consequently the cement industry. Year after year cement consumption broke records, achieving 69.3 million tons in 2012.
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