A new dawn for Steel Manufacturing in East Africa.
Roofings Rolling Mills has been operational in Uganda since 1994 with the inception of Roofings Limited in Lubowa. Roofings Limited is the market leader in Uganda for the manufacturing of a wide range of steel and plastic construction materials used throughout the East and Central African region. Founded by Chairman, Mr. Sikander Lalani, Roofings Group has recently completed its ambitious expansion plan by commissioning Roofings Rolling Mills (RRM) limited, a Ugx320 billion(US$127 million) mega project which is set to change the face of steel manufacturing in the East African Region. This state of the art complex is located in Kampala Industrial Business Park, Namanve.
The complex consists of 3 production units which in combination will have a production capacity of 250,000 tons per annum, doubling the group’s total capacity to produce steel to the tune of 500,000 tons per year, making it the largest in East-Africa.
Further to expanding the supply of steel in the regional market, the project has the added advantage of engaging in backward or vertical integration, which substitutes high value imports with value addition within the Ugandan economy and the region at large. Vertical integration is a process by which a producer of a finished product diversifies upstream to produce its own raw materials. Undeniably having a massive impact on the economy though value generation and job creation, ultimately improving the balance of trade and thereby allowing economic wealth to remain within a country or regions boundaries.
The project has been funded partly through private equity (Roofings Limited) combined with financing from a consortium of 6 banks, including International Finance Corporation (IFC) amongst others. In its third production unit (or cold rolling mill complex), RRM has Yodogawa Steel Works, a Japanese based steel manufacturer as its equity partner.
RRM Namanve plant has established the following three production units:
Phase 1: Wire galvanizing plant – $8 Million, 12,000 tons/annum capacity
Phase 1 was commissioned in early 2010 and houses a modern wire galvanizing plant unlike any other in Sub- Saharan Africa. The highly advanced machinery was manufactured and imported from Canada, Germany and Italy and applies a patented high turbulence pickling system with economically friendly processes with the capacity to produce 12.000 metric tonnes of galvanized wire per annum. Galvanized steel goes through a chemical process to keep it from corroding/rusting.
The steel is coated in layers of zinc so that rust will not attack its protective metal. For countless domestic and industrial applications, galvanized steel is an essential building component. Thanks to the quality and efficiency of the operation, RRM prides itself that this material is re-exported to Mombasa, after paying the transport cost from Mombasa to Kampala.
Phase 2: Hot rolling Mill – $ 15 million, 72,000 tons/annum capacity
Phase 2, commissioned in 2010 is a hot rolling mill with the capacity to produce 72,000 tons of billets and thereafter high tensile TMT bars widely used in the concreting of structures all over the region. The process involves melting of steel scrap at 1,400 degrees centigrade until fully liquid, after which billets are casted and finally rolled in their hot state to re-enforcement bars ranging from 8mm to 32mm in width. RRM bars were the first in Uganda to conform to British Standard, BS 4449. Another unique aspect of this plant is the Air Pollution Control system which is installed in the melt shop. At full capacity, this system captures and recycles about 6,000 million kilograms of ‘burn losses’ of CO2 during the melting process. Even now, it is the only functioning system in Uganda.
Phase 3: Pickling, Cold Rolling, Batch Annealing, Galvanizing and Color Coating plant -$100 Million, 150,000 tons/annum capacity
Phase 3 is the largest part of the works and was commissioned in July 2013. In this plant, RRM has acquired technical assistance and equity participation from world renowned Yodogawa Steel Works (YSW) from Japan. YSW has over 75 years of experience in the manufacture of Galvanized and Color Coated coils and has been supplying Roofings limited, Lubowa GI and PPGI coils since 1994 to make metallic roofings sheets. The success of Roofings Limited is accredited to the use of world class raw materials, combined with modern machinery and trained manpower to achieve the best quality output. Phase 3, through this joint venture will allow Roofings Group to control the quality upstream in order to achieve high quality downstream. As RRM will supply these coils to other sheet forming companies in the region, they are confident to say that the overall standard of metallic roofing sheets will improve substantially with the commissioning of this project.
In contrast to other factories where fumes and smoke are visible around the factory, the environment surrounding Roofing’s Rolling Mills is very clear.
Oliver Lalani the Executive Director of Roofings Rolling Mills says an industry like theirs can have a serious impact on the environment therefore they deal wisely with their resources and manage residue such as effluent, waste and emissions very precisely. Through sustainable production processes they ensure that surging demand for their products does not then result in the detriment of the resources which are necessary for the continuance of life.
“RRM has adopted a certified Environmental Management System (EMS); ISO 14001:2004. This management tool enables identification and controlling of the environmental impact of Roofings’ activities, products or services, to improve environmental performance continually. The supervision and management of each aspect is under a team leader whose responsibility is to ensure that all individuals and processes involved therein perform effectively.” Oliver Lalani explains.
RRM has invested over US$5 million in environmental friendly technologies. They have an acid regeneration plant (ARP) in phase 3, the first of its kind in East Africa that cleans off acid from the strip and re-uses it by regenerating its concentration. Their treatment plant purifies the contaminated water from the industry before discharging it.
As mentioned earlier, in Phase 2 RRM melts steel scrap to make rebar. In this process, there are huge risks of polluting the atmosphere and in order to mitigate these they have installed a one of a kind Air Pollution Control system (APC) which prevents smoke and other chemicals from contaminating the environment. For every ton of steel scrap melted and casted, the estimated burn loss due to impurities in the scrap is about 10%, meaning that at full capacity of 72,000 tons per annum, a total of 7, 200 tons of Carbon Dioxide will be filtered through their APC system and bagged in powder form, eventually being disposed of as a by product used in road building, cement making, etc. RRM is proud to have brought this technology to the region and hopes other scrap melting industries will follow suit to take precautionary steps to help sustain our environment and the communities we live in.
Contribution to the Sector
Oliver Lalani says Roofings Group is among the highest tax payers in the manufacturing sector in Uganda. They employ about 3000 people within the group on direct/ permanent basis. The company has helped promote inter regional trade and also guided the government in key policies that affect the construction industry like establishing more stringent quality measures.
Roofings Rolling Mills does a lot of training for their employees in Japan, South Africa, Germany and other countries for technology advancements and training in the local sector. “We anticipate that we are likely to see fabrication industries grow and develop in Uganda.” Oliver Lalani says. Other downstream industries are also set to reap benefit from such an investment in Uganda as raw materials will become more readily available, in abundance.
During the initial stages of constructing the plant, they faced a problem of power and water shortages. However the government came in to give them assurance and have kept promises made to them for which RRM is very grateful. At full capacity the company will consume about 43 megawatts of electricity as well as 40/50 litre cubes of water per hour. The only major challenge remaining is the 3.5 km access road, which is proving a real logistical complication especially during the rainy season.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Roofings Group is responsible for rehabilitating a community school at Namanve Industrial Park. They have a unique project named Forever Forestry in Lubowa which houses a model sustainable farm from where they are not only going out to plant trees all over the country but also giving out training on sustainable farming as an added measure to ensure that deforestation and habitat loss are reversed in Uganda.
Correspondingly in their phase two, Roofings Rolling Mills produces oxygen and supplies it to hospitals like Mengo and Rubaga for free.
Even though remarkable progress has already been made in the manufacturing sector in recent years, Oliver Lalani urges people to learn to buy local products and also urges the government to go ahead and keep regulating the quality of goods available in the country.
“The public should also play a role and reject substandard goods” he adds. Where someone can save 5-10% on price during the time of purchasing materials, often it leads to losing out more than 50% of the products lifespan. More thorough sensitization should be done with regards to this. Furthermore, infrastructure developments like Railway, Roads and power generation will also be critical components to initiate further backward integration in the economy.
Within the next few years, Roofings Group will continue to expand within the East African region and beyond.The construction needs of the region are developing as people construct more sophisticated commercial buildings, houses, infrastructural projects, etc. therefore Roofings Group believes that high quality and variety will become ever more apparent in the sector. They have sufficient capacity to cater for such future demand in the region and strongly believe that they will continue to play a dominant role in the strengthening of Uganda and beyond.
Roofings Group aims to be a one stop shop for all steel construction materials. Today, Roofings Group produces the widest range of steel products in the East African Community.
Why use Roofing’s products?
According to Oliver Lalani, Roofing’s products have proper measures and weights, and are competitive in prices. In addition, the after sale services provided to their customers makes Roofings Group the number one choice for steel and plastic products. With expansions such as these, there is no doubt that Roofings has innovated and positioned itself to cater for the ever growing demand in the construction sector.
Roofings Limited- Lubowa works:
Galvanized & pre-painted iron sheets
– Super V & VI, Super Eco, Ecotile, Super Tile, Ordinary
– Corrugated, Plain Sheets, Bull Nose/Crimped
– Galvanized Expanded Metal lath
– Sheets, Gutters, Valleys, Ridges & Flashings
– Round, Square, Rectangular, Structural Tubes
MILD STEEL PLATES
– Mild Steel Plates, Louvers, Chequered Plates
– MS Expanded Metal
– Z-Purlins, Facia Boards, Cold Rolled Channels , Door
– Frames, Omega Sections, Bottle Sections, Slitted Coils
– Cold Rolled Angles
Nails (Wire Nails, U-Nails, Ceiling Nails), Binding Wire,
Drawn Wire, Round Bars, BRC & Welded Mesh
GALVANISED WIRE PRODUCTS
Barbed Wire, Galvanized Plain Wire, Galvanized Binding
Wire, Galvanized Chain Links, Razor Wire
Roofings Polypipes & fittings
Hot Rolled Angles, I Beams, Window Sections (T & Z)
Reinforcement Steel, Black Round Bars, Square Bars,
Galvanized Pipes, Mild Steel Flats
Filler Blocks, Self Tapping Screws, J- Bolts, Ridge Caps
Roofings Nails & Ruber Washers, Wood Screws,
Insulation Materials, Translucent Sheets.
Roofings Rolling Mills – Namanve Works
• Galvanised wire
• TMT – re-enforcement bars (bs 4449)
• Cold rolled, galvanised & colour coated coils