Bergamo, April 17 - Italian cement giant Italcementi said Wednesday it would "shortly" close nine of its 17 plants in Italy because of over-capacity compared to a huge slump in domestic demand. It said the Italian market "continues to be marked by productive over-capacity compared to a demand that has reached the levels of the end of the 1970s". Italcementi General Manager Giovanni Ferrario made the shock announcement at the annual general meeting (AGM) of shareholders in the world's fifth-largest cement producer in Bergamo. Italcementi posted losses of 362.4 million euros in 2012, most of it due to plummeting Italian demand. It announced huge layoffs in January. The Bergamo-based multinational produces cement, ready-mix concrete and construction aggregates. It is the biggest cement producer in the Mediterranean. It employs over 20,000 people in Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Canada, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Gambia, Greece, India, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Morocco, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey and the United States. Italcementi's annual sales are over 6 billion euros.