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Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa: Record Production At Burundi Cement

BUJUMBURA, Burundi, March 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Burundi's first and only cement producer, the Burundi Cement Company (BUCECO), doubled its production and profits in its first two years of operations and is expected to reach capacity later this year, founder and owner Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa announced today.

BUCECO, which began production in January 2011 and employs 80 people, produced 70,500 tons of cement in 2012 compared to 34,500 tons in 2011. The factory's profits have also skyrocketed: in 2012, its profits were $31.4 billion Burundian francs (BIF) or $22 million USD, compared to $12.9 BIF ( $10 million USD) in 2011.

Ayabatwa said BUCECO provides an essential product to a country with significant infrastructure needs.  He said it is no surprise the company has been so successful in a short time: the cement BUCECO produces is less expensive and of better quality than cement imported from nearby East African nations.

"BUCECO is providing a key product to Burundi and is improving Burundians' quality of life," Ayabatwa said. "Clearly, this country has great demand for high-quality, affordable cement and we are delighted that BUCECO can help meet the need."

Before BUCECO was operational, Burundi imported all of its cement from other East African countries including Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The factory's current capacity is 100,000 tons of cement per year; BUCECO is already eyeing an expansion and installation of a new raw material plant to double that capacity.

On average, a 50-kilogram bag of BUCECO cement costs $16 USD, about $1 less than the imported product. 

"We offer a high-quality product and a great price to meet national demand," BUCECO Managing Director Aime Mananda said. "We are working harder than ever to make this essential product available to Burundi."

Like all of Ayabatwa's companies, philanthropy is central to BUCECO's mission. The company has donated cement to nearby communities to help improve roads, build a sports stadium, upgrade government buildings, and construct churches and housing.

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