NAIROBI, July 12 (Reuters) - Kenya's Bamburi said it plans to increase its cement grinding capacity by 900,000 tonnes at one of its two plants by mid-2018 and lift total annual production capacity to 3.2 million tonnes.
The company, the East African country's biggest cement maker and controlled by Lafarge Holcim, began work on a new mill at its Athi River plant in January, with proper construction expected to start next month.
The expansion will be carried out at a cost of 4 billion shillings ($38.52 million), Bamburi said in a statement.
The firm posted a pretax profit of 8.27 billion shillings in 2016, up from 8.46 billion shillings a year earlier. Its second plant is located in the coastal city of Mombasa.
With the announcement, Bamburi joins other Kenyan cement companies that are increasing their plant capacities.
In February, ARM Cement said it planned to raise grinding capacity at its 1 million-tonne-a year plant by 50 percent in 12-14 months.
Privately-owned Savannah Cement said in December that it would add a second grinding plant that would double its output capacity this year to 2.4 million tonnes annually.
Latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows cement production rose 1.6 percent in the first quarter of this year to 1.6 million tonnes compared with the same period in 2016.
Production rose to 6.71 million tonnes in 2016 from 6.35 million tonnes a year earlier, its data showed. ($1 = 103.8500 Kenyan shillings) (Reporting by George Obulutsa; editing by Aaron Maasho/Mark Heinrich)