India: Ultratech Cement Ltd, part of the Aditya Birla group, has said that its net profit for quarter ending 31 March 2012 rose by 19% compared to the same quarter of 2011. It attributed the increase to higher sales volume and an increase in product prices.
The profit at India's largest cement company by sales climbed to US$165m for the January-March 2012 period, from US$138m in the same period in 2011.
Sales also increased by 19%, to US$1.01bn from US$582m.
Indian cement companies were helped in the last quarter by revived construction activity which boosted both sales volume and product prices. However, improvement in the profit margin was limited by a rise in costs of coal and diesel. Ultratech sold 11.54Mt of cement during the quarter compared with 10.70Mt in the same period in 2011.
Ultratech didn't say how much prices rose in the January-March 2012 quarter but brokerage firm Emkay Global Financial Services Ltd said that prices grew by 10% compared to the same period in 2011. Ultratech said its variable costs also rose by 10% as a result of higher energy prices. It also added that the surplus capacity in the Indian cement industry is likely to continue until 2015. Together with the rising cost of raw materials this is expected to put pressure to profit margins.