Items filtered by date: Wednesday 15 March 2017
Philippines: Holcim Philippines posted higher sales despite increased competition in 2016. Its revenue grew by 7.5% to US$801m due to both higher volumes and prices. Operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 14% to US$215m.
The company’s net income reached US$135m, which benefited from a one-time gain of US$52m from the revaluation of Holcim Philippines’ investment in an affiliate. Without the one-off item in 2015, profits were higher by 24% in 2016.
Holcim Philippines Chief Operating Officer Sapna Sood said, “Ensuring stable supply is critical in these times of high building activity. Last year, we demonstrated our commitment to keep the market supplied by raising our production capacity and leaning on our strong regional network. As a result, we showed our customers we are a reliable partner, which helped us compete, even with the entry of new players.”
Lucky Cement inaugurates WHR unit 15 March 2017
Pakistan: Lucky Cement has inaugurated a waste heat recovery (WHR) unit in Pezu, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, its fifth across its operations. The unit generates 10MW from two 2400t/day cement production lines. It was installed by China’s Sinoma.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by Muhammad Ali Tabba, CEO of Lucky Cement, as well as other members of the company’s senior management. “As one of the leading cement manufacturers in Pakistan, we have the responsibility to reduce energy consumption and improve the environment. With the launch of our fifth WHR plant, we aim to do just that,” said Tabba.
Protests following Limerick fuels decision 15 March 2017
Ireland: Residents of Limerick protested on 10 and 11 March 2017 against Irish Cement’s plans to burn waste solvents and used tyres at its plant in Mungret. In response, Irish Cement stated that it is the only cement plant left in the country that uses solely fossil fuels and that it needs to use waste fuels to reduce costs if it is to keep the 84 jobs at the plant.
LafargeHolcim and Cemex warned over Trump wall supply 15 March 2017
Switzerland/US: French politicians have cautioned construction-materials giant LafargeHolcim about the consequences of supplying cement for the 3000km wall that US President Donald Trump intends to build along the border with Mexico.
LafargeHolcim, the biggest cement producer in both the world and the United States, fell under scrutiny after Chief Executive Eric Olsen said, in remarks published in several media outlets, that the company is ready to supply cement for the border wall.
Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron said that companies such as LafargeHolcim must consider the ‘ethical aftermath’ of their business deals, after the Franco-Swiss firm said it stands ready to work on the project.
"Being a private company, whose headquarters are mainly in Switzerland, does not free it from having an ethical conscience and asking questions before participating in certain projects," Macron told Agence-France Presse. LafargeHolcim is already under attack in France for Lafarge’s handling of its Syrian operations during the spread of ISIS in the region.
The world's second biggest cement producer, Mexican firm Cemex SAB, is also facing pressure at home to boycott the wall. The Mexican government has been a staunch opponent of Trump's project.
Saudi Arabian sales take a slump 15 March 2017
Saudi Arabia: Mubasher has reported that cement-making companies in Saudi Arabia witnessed a near 35% decrease in sales in February 2017. The cement companies sold 4.1Mt of cement in February 2017, down from 5.4Mt for the year-ago period. The companies' production also decreased by 26% in February 2017 to 4.0Mt, compared to 5.5Mt in the same month of 2016.
The country's cement inventory increased to 1.07Mt in February 2017, up by 18.2% year-on-year from 906,000t. Yanbu Cement topped cement sales in February 2017, as it registered sales of 474,000t, with a drop of 21.26% year-on-year from 602,000t.
Updates from PPC 15 March 2017
South Africa: PPC has said that adverse weather negatively affected cement and concrete sales in South Africa in January and February 2017. Rainfall in excess of 200mm was experienced in many parts of South Africa over the two months.
The company also said that it has reduced its net debt further to US$334m as at 31 December 2016 due to the conclusion of a component of its first empowerment transaction. PPC concluded a Strategic Black Partners and Community Service Groups components of its 2008 broad-based black economic empowerment transaction, resulting in a cash inflow of US$77m in December 2016. It said that the improved balance sheet would mitigate the adverse impact of the cyclical nature of its business and that business continued to generate superior cash earnings despite capital expenditure requirements.
Elsewhere, it has been estimated that PPC would be liable for an estimated US$7m in carbon taxes, should South Africa’s proposed carbon tax bill be enacted. However, Darryl Castle, the chief executive of PPC, said the company was looking at a number of initiatives to reduce the forecast amount, including the replacement of coal with carbon-neutral energy sources and further reduction of the clinker factor.
Castle added that the carbon tax regime did not apply to imports into South Africa and had not been meaningfully implemented elsewhere. He noted that a similar scheme was scrapped in Australia because of the impact on the industry. "PPC is ready for the implementation of the carbon tax regime in January 2018. However, we will continue to engage the government on this matter," he said in a presentation at the Merrill Lynch investor conference in Sun City.