India: Sagar Cements, India Cements and Bharathi Cements have continued to defend public concerns over cement pricing due to economic trends beyond their control. In a press conference the producers blamed rising input costs, distribution costs, taxes and high margins by dealers, according to the Times of India newspaper. They added that the key demand drivers for the industry are residential house building and government projects.
S Srikanth Reddy, Executive Director of Sagar Cements forecast that cement demand will rise by 10 – 18% in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh over the next two to three years due to large government-run infrastructure projects. Tamil Nadu and Kerala are expected to rise by no more than 5% and Karnataka is expected to rise by 2 – 5%.
However, despite increases in the short term, the cement producers forecast problems for the industry in the south of the country, and in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in particular, due to production overcapacity as producers increased their installed capacity in anticipation of high demand. At present they say that producers are forced to run plants at 60% production utilisation rates with high volatility in price rates in a highly fragmented market with over 50 brands.