By Princewill Ekwujuru
Cement manufacturers are moving into hinterlands with the introduction of aggressive distribution network into remote areas in a bid to expand their market share.
The renewed aggression in the distribution of products is reflected in the brands’ delivery of their products directly to distributors in remote areas.
The manufacturers have also developed what is called cement distribution management, CDM, an en route diversion system, third party order that has resulted in easy delivery of products to the hinterlands.
Besides offering discounts, they are also offering other incentives such as mini trucks and additional credit for purchases, to drive profitability of distributors.
The brands competing for market dominance are Ibeto Cement, Enugu; Bua cement, Lagos; Eastern Bulkcem Company Limited, Lagos; Dangote Cement, Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria Limited.
The major contenders for top position are Supaset, produced by Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria Plc; 3X Portland Cement, manufactured by Dangote Group, relegating existing major shareholders in the areas to third class position.
Vanguard Companies and Markets findings in four states, Lagos, Osun, Imo and Ogun states show that Dangote’s 3X and Lafarge’s Supaset were the major products used by construction engineers, block moulders and bricklayers.
A visit to construction sites in Lagos, Osun, Imo and Ogun states, showed that consumers have different reasons why they buy both products.
For example, at a construction site located along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway in Lagos, majority of the contractors use the Dangote 3X, while some use the Lafarge Supaset.
Likewise, in Osun, especially at a construction site in Ede, the contractors are using Dangote Cement.
In Imo, the Dangote brand is creeping into the hinterlands where Elephant Cement earlier held sway, while in Ogun, Lafarge is topping the market, with remarkable in-roads being made by Dangote 3X.
A contractor, Evans Ude, in charge of a building at Festac extension, Lagos, said “Dangote Cement has been a brand used mostly at construction sites because of the result they get from the product, especially now that it is raining. Lafarge is also good, may be the name behind the Dangote brand is responsible for volume of sale.”
A block moulder in Imo State, Ferguson Nwande said: “Dangote is making an incursion into the eastern market particularly in the hinterlands, it is pushing other brands to the second position. The Dangote 3X cement gives faster setting and dries up faster; rain does not easily wash it off.
Anayo Okafor of Umudim village in Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State.
Another block moulder, Jimoh Olaoye, who plies his trade along Lagos-Badagry Expressway said he uses Dangote and Lafarge cement inter-changeably depending on situation call.
A civil Engineer, Jerome Iroka who is in charge of a site in Ede, Osun State said he prefers Dangote 3X Cement.
Analysing the performance of the cement brands, he said: “You know Lafarge has the Supaset cement. The setting rate of Supaset is slower than that of Dangote. Dangote 3X sets faster than Lafarge’s Supaset. The use of the brands for me, depends on the weather condition of an area.
“During rainy season, I will prefer Dangote 3X cement because it sets faster and gets dried quickly when used for plastering.
“For Lafarge, it is slow at setting, when set, it gives you the value you need. The cement brands have what they can do better at different occasions. Both are good products.”
A distributor in Nkwere, Imo State and Director of Mazi and Brothers, Igwebuike Nnawuihe, said the number of Dangote 3X cement he has sold during this rainy season is voluminous. “I wondered what was happening. I was made to understand that it is as a result of recommendation by site engineers.
“Of the number of brands I have here, I think Dangote 3X is selling the highest. For instance, today (October 4, 2018), I have sold 62 bags of Dangote cement. Lafarge’s Supaset – 41 bags and other brands are just minimal.”
Alhaji Ajose Inuwa of Anuoluwapo Ventures, Isasi Road, Iba Local Government confirmed that Dangote is doing well, but it is facing a lot of opposition from Lafarge Cement. “Go around Lagos, most of the cement bags you will see are the Dangote brand.