LAGOS, Dec 6 – Nigerian conglomerate BUA group has accused Dangote group of trying to force it to relinquish mining rights in a limestone field as part of a bid to monopolise the cement market and asked the president to intervene, BUA’s chairman said.
Both BUA and Dangote have an interest in cement in Nigeria and have expanded rapidly across Africa.
Nigeria, which has Africa’s biggest economy, has become a cement exporter from being a net importer. But last year’s recession and currency crisis has hit domestic demand, reducing sales for companies which are now trying to cut costs.
BUA’s chairman, Abdulsamad Rabiu, said Dangote group was undermining security around his plant in southwest Edo state, a region with limestone, a key ingredient in cement. Dangote’s cement operation is in the central state of Kogi.
A Dangote group spokesman referred Reuters to a mines ministry statement and said he did not wish to comment further.
The mines ministry said BUA group does not have a mining lease for the disputed site, which is the subject of a legal case. The ministry, in a statement, also said it had issued a stop work order to BUA.
It said the area was within a section owned by Dangote.
“Our cement business has of late come under intense, consistent attacks … as the minister, Dangote group and their cohorts have sought to employ instruments of state … to forcefully wrest control of our mining areas,” BUA said in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari and seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
Rabiu called on Buhari to investigate. He said the company was under pressure to relinquish its mining area to Dangote.
Dangote group, majority owned by Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, already has around 70 percent of market share in terms of output in Nigeria.
Lafarge Africa, the local unit of Franco-Swiss cement maker, LafargeHolcim ranks second, industry analysts say.