BIG BOSS Cement, Inc. (BBCI) is spending P10 billion to build two cement facilities in the country as it looks to increase production to 10-12 million bags of cement a month.

The cement manufacturer led by businessman Henry Sy, Jr is currently undertaking a P7-billion expansion of its plant in Porac, Pampanga, and a P3-billion new facility in Zamboanga del Norte.

BBCI President Gilbert S. Cruz said the Pampanga plant is currently running with two lines, while two more will be opened by February and May next year. This will bring its capacity to 4-5 million bags per month.

Meanwhile, one more line will be opened in Roxas, Zamboanga del Norte before the year ends. It will have a total of two lines each producing two million bags every month.

With 25 bags of cement equivalent to one ton, BBCI will have a capacity of about 4.8-5.76 million tons annually from the two plants.

“For the last one year and three months, we produced 10 million bags already. Everybody prefers our cement. The only problem is we don’t have the volume,” Mr. Cruz said in a media roundtable in Bonifacio Global City on Friday.

Mr. Cruz added that once they reach their target of 10-12 million bags per month, they plan to bring down prices to as low as P100 for each bag of cement, from the current price of P150 to P160.

“This will really bring about construction development and it may not sound good, but this will drive (away) all the foreign companies, because there is no way they can compete with our process,” he said.

Unlike other companies that use clinker as the main material to produce cement, BBCI uses a cement manufacturing process called Grinded Activated Sand by Heating, or G-ASH. This replaces clinker with substitute material that are readily available. The company’s patent for this technology is currently pending.

Once they secure the patent, the company is eyeing to expand to other countries. Mr. Cruz said they already have invitations from Malaysia and Indonesia.

BBCI has also requested for tax incentives from the Board of Investments (BoI) for its cement plants, although Mr. Cruz said they were previously turned down because they do not use clinker, which is what is granted tax breaks under the law.

“We changed our position and said that we are making clinker-like material which is called G-ASH. They’re now listening to us, and they’ve given the case to DoST (Department of Science and Technology)…Looks like they were convinced so now we’re waiting for BoI,” BBCI Vice President Ishmael D. Ordoñez said in the same event.

BBCI launched on Friday bulk cement products called B40 and B43, used for ready mix concrete and precast applications, respectively. The products have a minimum strength of 40 megapascal (MPa), indicating how much pressure concrete can withstand before it cracks or breaks down. This follows the same standards as the US and other parts of Europe. — Arra B. Francia