India: Birla Corporation’s earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose due to increased sales of blended cement in the last quarter of 2018. Blended cements represented 89% of its total sales volumes compared to 85% in the same period in 2017.
The company’s net sales grew by 14.6% to US$653m in the nine months to the end of 2018 from US$569m in the same period in 2017. Its EBITDA rose by 17.1% to US$96.8m from US$82.7m. Its cement production increased by 10.5% to 9.86Mt from 8.92Mt and its cement sales increased by 9.9% to 9.79Mt from 8.92Mt. It said that better sales in key markets had offset raw material price rises such as petcoke, coal and diesel. It noted that the price of diesel had risen by over 20% in the reporting period although it had started to soften in the most recent quarter.
The cement producer held a ground breaking ceremony in late January 2019 for a new plant being built by its RCCPL subsidiary at Yavatmai district in Maharashtra. The 3.9Mt/yr unit has an investment of US$342m and it includes a 40MW captive power plant and a 10.6MW waste heat recovery (WHR) system. Commissioning is scheduled for the 2021 – 2022 financial year. The company is also planning to upgrade RCCPL’s plant at Kundanganj with 1.2Mt/yr of additional production capacity. Other new projects include a 12.25MW WHR system at Maihar that is expected to be commissioned in mid-2019. It is building solar power plants at Maihar, Chanderia and Satna with 11MW, 3.6MW and 1.2MW capacity respectively. Birla Corporation also said that restrictions on using explosives placed on limestone mining at Chanderia in Rajasthan had increased its costs.