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- Mr. Kala, tell us how long the company has been operating in Kazakhstan and what results have been achieved?
The VICAT group, as part of its internationalization strategy, drew attention to Kazakhstan as far back as 2005 or even earlier. We studied many promising projects, and our technical experts and financiers worked on the spot a couple of years to assess the best opportunities for building their first cement plant in Kazakhstan. At the end of 2007, the VICAT group developed a project to create a cement plant in the village of Mynaral, which is located on the shores of Lake Balkhash, 400 km from Almaty. We felt that the site is in an ideal location along the Almaty-Astana highway, from where there is convenient access to the main construction markets of the country.
At the beginning of 2011, the operation of the plant began, and soon the company entered the market, offering first-class products, which received high recognition from the most demanding customers. Cement produced and sold by the Zhambyl Cement company has quickly gained popularity, and now the volume is 15% of total consumption in the country.
Currently, Zhambyl Cement produces 1.4 million tons of cement per year and exports part of its products to neighboring countries. Since its foundation, more than 250 production jobs have been created, and another 450 people are employed in contracting organizations. The Zhambyl Cement company invests a lot in the selection and training of local specialists, and also strives to ensure that most of the personnel live near the plant. For this purpose, apartment buildings were built for our workers near the factory.
- What is your experience as an investor implementing such a large project in Kazakhstan?
For this project, our group allocated not only financial resources and technical specialists, but also contributed a lot to organizing, developing a management culture and creating international relations. I, as a representative of the VICAT group, believe that the joint achievement of our goals brings an additional advantage for all of us, not to mention the friendship between France and Kazakhstan. I can only note that the project was supported by two parties: both the French government and the government of Kazakhstan. At such a high level, our Honorary President Mr. Merceron-Vika has repeatedly met with President Nazarbayev personally interested in the development of the project.
- What prospects do you see for the company and what are the company's plans for the near future?
The corporate culture of the VICAT group has a long tradition, established back in 1817, when Louis Vicat invented artificial cement. In setting our goals, we are guided by the principles of proximity to our customers, quick response, implementation of innovations and a sense of ownership in their business. We think, make decisions and act, constantly considering long-term goals. We always take care of resources and are committed to sustainable development. It is no coincidence that VICAT has an almost two-century history. Few companies have the same professional accomplishments as few of our competitors.
Our goal in Kazakhstan is to create a company that will work for at least a hundred years, taking into account the sufficiency of raw materials, contribution to the social development of the country and the technical development of infrastructure. For this, the Zhambyl Cement company should be financially independent and eventually be able to modernize and improve its industrial equipment.
- Tell us about your personal impressions about our country..
It’s great to live in a fast-growing country where the young generation seeks to grow and move forward. People here are friendly and want to have a better future, and therefore I find life in Kazakhstan amazing and motivating me.
A person living and working in Kazakhstan gains rich experience. Your culture, traditions and hospitality are amazing. By the way, we tried your national meat dishes, and we liked them.
Speaking as a professional, I hope that French companies operating in Kazakhstan are regarded by the state and its citizens as reliable partners.