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Cement and Vicat: A family business flourishing for more than 160 years

Cement mixtures made of different materials, including sand, crushed stone, gypsum and volcanic ash mixed with lime were used widely in the ancient world. Louis Vicat built on the foundation laid by these early engineers and in the early nineteenth century developed a crucial breakthrough - a method of making artificial cement. 

Souillac Bridge (Vallée de la Dordogne, Lot, France)


Louis Vicat invents artificial cement. Vicat, a graduate of the prestigious Ecole Polytechnique and an engineer who specialized in bridge and road building, was commissioned to construct a bridge over the Dordogne River in 1812.

This was considered to be an impossible task, given the rough waters of Dordogne and its unstable riverbed. But, after careful experimentation, Vicat accomplished the impossible. His solution involved mixing powdered lime with clay, which would set after being submerged in water for several days.

Louis Vicat's artificial cement was demonstrated to the French Academy of Sciences on February 16, 1818, and authenticated by the Academy. He opted not to patent his method or become involved in large-scale production of his cement. The Souillac Bridge over the Dordogne river was successfully completed in 1822. 

Louis Vicat also invented the "Vicat Needle" a device that is still used to determine the setting time of cement. 

Bottle ovens

1853: The Vicat family enters the cement business

Joseph Vicat, the son of Louis Vicat, also attended the Ecole Polytechnique, and his interest in engineering sparked his decision to launch the first large-scale industrial production of artificial cement. Joseph Vicat built his first cement factory in 1853, in Isere's Genevrey-de-Vif, a region that is home to particularly fine clay. The company used that clay to develop its fast-setting Prompt Cement. 

Montalieu Cement plant (France)


France's two largest cement plants are built: Montalieu (Isère) and La Grave de Peille (Maritime Alps).

Xeuilley Cement plant in Meurthe-et-Moselle (France)


Consolidation of the cement industry in France.

1969: Acquisition of the Xeuilley companies
1970: Merger with the Voreppe and Bouvesse cement companies
1972: Incorporation of the Chiron Pont-à-Vendin cement company

Ragland Cement plant in Alabama (USA)

Lebec Cement plant in California (USA)


Expansion into the United States.

1974: Purchase of the Ragland cement plants in the state of Alabama

1987: Purchase of the Lebec cement company in the state of California

An aggregate plant in Les Houches in Haute-Savoie (France)

A concrete unit in the Departement of Ain (France)


Development of the Concrete and Aggregate business in France.

Acquisition of SATM and numerous concrete and aggregate companies to form a network in Île-de-France, Centre, Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur.

Konya Cement plant (Turkey)

Baştaş Cement plant (Turkey)

Rufisque Cement plant (Senegal)

Al Arish Cement plant in Sinaï (Egypt)

Al Arish Cement plant in Sinaï (Egypt)

Jambyl Cement plant (Kazakhstan)

Bharathi Cement plant (India)


International business development continues with more acquisitions, namely:

1991: Konya Çimento cement plants - Turkey

1994:  Acquisition of Baştaş Başkent Çimento cement companies - Turkey

1999: Acquisition of Sococim Industries - Senegal

2001: Acquisition of Vigier - Switzerland

2003: Acquisition of Cementi Centro Sud - Italy (Sardinia) and participation in Sinaï Cement Company - Egypt

2004: Acquisition Ciments et Matériaux - Mali (Mali)

2007: Acquisition of Jambyl Cement Production Company - Kazakhstan

2008: Acquisition of BSA Ciment - Mauritania

2009: Launch of Vicat Sagar Cement Private Limited - state of Karnataka, India

2010: Acquisition of Bharathi Cement Company Limited - state of Andhra Pradesh, India

2006: Launching of the 2010 Performance Plan, initiated by Jacques Merceron-Vicat, CEO. 
Objective: increase cement production capacity by 50% through the end of 2010.

2009: Launching of the Performance + Economy Plan to complement the 2010 Performance Plan. 
Goals: improve productivity, develop substitute fuels, reduce overall costs, and postpone non-strategic investments.

2010: Development in India: The Group pursues the implementation of the Vicat Sagar project, and acquires 51% of Bharathi Cement.
The Jambyl Cement plan with a capacity of 1.1 million tons in Kazakhstan is officially in service.


2012: In India, startup of the Vicat Sagar Cement plant in the north of Karnataka.

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Joseph Vicat

Joseph Vicat

Cement plant of La Grave de Peille in the French Alps

Cement plant of La Grave de Peille in the French Alps (France)

Cement plant of Jambyl Cement in Mynaral (Kazakhstan)

Cement plant of Jambyl Cement in Mynaral (Kazakhstan)