France’s Lafarge Coppee has acquired a half share in three cement plants and a cement mill in Central Anatolia from the Yibitas group.

The two groups already operated a cement mill in Ankara as a joint venture and, according to the new agreement concluded between them, the joint ownership arrangement is to be extended to the cement plants, at Sivas and Corum, and the cement mill, at Nevsehir.

Lafarge Coppee says that, with their combined annual output of 2 million tonnes, the four will double the production capacity it controls with its partners in Turkey, giving them a market share of 11 per cent.

The French group moved into the Turkish market in 1989 when it acquired Aslan Cimento, one of the biggest producers around the Sea of Marmara. Since then, the group has extended its activities to the Ankara and Black Sea regions and has diversified into ready-mix concrete.

It said that its expansion in Turkey was part of its strategy of concentrating its development efforts on countries with high growth potential. Cement consumption in Turkey last year increased by 15 per cent to 29.7 million tonnes and is expected to continue growing strongly for some years to come.