Displaying items by tag: PPC
South Africa: PPC has announced that in the first-half of its 2014 financial year, which ended in March 2014, its profit grew by 52% as the company consolidated its foreign units and increased its exports to counteract declining domestic sales.
Net income for the six months grew to US$47.2m from US$31.1m for the same period in 2013. Operating earnings before a number of one-time items rose by 3% to US$84.6m, while sales grew by 9% to US$398m.
Cement sales in South Africa were negatively impacted by a platinum mining strike and heavy rains during the period. Sales volumes in the north west of the country, where many of the platinum mines are located, fell by 25% in the first six months of PPC's reporting period and are not expected to recover in the near future.
"Improvements in export sales and the consolidation of sales from our Rwanda operation and newly-acquired Safika Cement business were partly offset by declining sales volumes in South Africa and Botswana," said chief executive Ketso Gordhan. PPC said that it remains optimistic that cement sales volumes will improve.
To combat a slow domestic market, PPC is expanding across Africa, including in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DCR), Zimbabwe, Algeria and Mozambique, to boost foreign sales to 40% by 2017.
PPC said that Zimbabwe's economic slowdown had caused 'in-country liquidity constraints,' resulting in a fall in cement demand. Despite the slowdown, analysts have said that the country's infrastructural deficit presents immense opportunities for cement makers. PPC is investing US$12.4m to expand its cement plant in the country and plans to construct a 0.70Mt/yr cement plant under its subsidiary, PPC Zimbabwe. PPC also plans to retire two 'less-efficient' mills at its Bulawayo plant. "The new mill in Harare gives a competitive advantage and a phased capital expenditure approach reduces risk," said Gordhan.
Gordhan said that PPC plans to construct a US$200m clinker plant on the border with Mozambique and a cement plant in Tete, Mozambique.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), PPC is investing US$280m to build a 1Mt/yr cement plant in the west of the country. The plant is currently under construction. PPC will assume 69% ownership of the plant, while the Barnet Group will own 21% and the International Finance Corporation will own 10%.
Hodna Cement Company, in which PPC has a 49% interest, plans to construct a 2Mt/yr cement plant near Sétif, Algeria to be constructed by China's Sinoma. "We are optimistic that we will be on site by the end of 2014," Gordhan said. Algerian cement demand is estimated at 22Mt/yr.
South Africa: PPC's new black economic empowerment (BEE) deal has shifted the beneficiary base from broad-based trusts to the company's employees themselves, using the 'proximity principle.' The new transaction will increase the company's staff ownership to 12%.
This follows a move in 2013 to close the income inequality gap through an executive pay freeze that bumped up the salaries of lower-paid workers. CEO Ketso Gordhan said that the company has spent time on the ground with its employees, who have shown an appreciation for being listened to. Whether PPC will follow this up with further executive pay cuts and freezes remains to be seen, though Gordhan has said that the company intends to reduce the wage differential further.
Algeria has been steadily building up cement industry interest over the past few months. In late 2013 Lafarge opened its fourth world research laboratory in Algiers. Then this week South African producer PPC confirmed its intention to enter the local market with a new plant and German construction firm ThyssenKrupp announced an order to build a cement plant for Groupe Industriel des Ciments d'Algérie.
According to United States Geological Survey (USGS) data, Algeria saw its cement production more than double from 9Mt/yr in 2002 to 20Mt/yr in 2011. At present Global Cement Directory 2014 figures places the country's cement production capacity from 21Mt/yr with 30Mt/yr a reasonable estimate for 2017. Throw in similarly rising gross domestic product per capita, US$7500 in 2013, with infrastructure investments of US$286bn planned and Algeria appears to be a promising investment for the cement market.
Lafarge, which holds minority stakes in two cement plants in the country, reported that market demand was high in 2012. Its cement sales rose by 9% year-on-year in 2013. The other major foreign player, ASEC Cement, reported in its 2012 financial report that Algeria consumed 21Mt of cement in 2012 but that it had to import 3Mt that year. ASEC was planning to build a 3.16Mt/yr plant at Djelfa to plug that market gap. Yet news reports in early 2013 reveal that the project was paused due to financial issues at ASEC with the suggestion of a possible downgrade to a 1.5Mt/yr production capacity instead.
The decision by PPC to build in Algeria is the first big project by one of Africa's international sub-Saharan cement producers north of the Sahara. It steps away from PPC's expansion strategy so far of building projects out from South Africa. Hodna in Algeria is a long way from Johannesburg! It will also cause tension between PPC and whoever is supplying imported cement to Algeria, most likely indebted southern European producers. Both PPC and its Nigerian competitor Dangote are used to fighting foreign imports to their core markets. Data from the Algerian customs office show that the value of cement imports to Algeria in 2013 rose by 26% year-on-year to US$395m. That's a market worth fighting for.
Algeria: PPC announced its advanced plans for entry into the Algerian cement market on 24 February 2014, through a partnership with Algerian private investors that would see it own a 49% stake in the Hodna Cement Company.
The transaction will be funded on a project finance basis, with 80% debt funding from local banks, according to PPC. The stake, which was bought for an undisclosed amount, will see PPC assume management control of Hodna, allowing for the consolidation of the financial results of the project into the PPC group accounts.
According to PPC, Hodna will construct a 2Mt/yr cement plant for US$350m in the Hodna area, which is roughly 300km east of Algiers. PPC is already building cement plants in Ethiopia, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"This project sees us entering yet another African country and gives us confidence that by 2017, 40% of PPC revenues will be earned outside of South Africa," said CEO Ketso Gordhan.
"The Algerian cement market is very attractive, as consumption exceeds local production by approximately 3Mt/yr. Moreover, the Algerian government has committed itself to large-scale capital spending programmes, including the US$6bn New City Hassi Messaoud project, which will see the rollout of thousands of housing units," he said, adding that this would "certainly boost the demand of cement in this country."
The company said that once the feasibility study has been concluded, construction of the plant will take up to 30 months, with commissioning anticipated by the fourth quarter of 2016. As with its other expansion projects, PPC said it would engage China's Sinoma International Engineering as the contractor to supply and build the plant, supported by India's Holtec Consulting.
"With a population of close to 40 million people, of which 74% live in urban areas, combined with a relatively high GDP/capita of US$5582, Algeria still requires the construction of 225,000 housing units per year to meet demand. The national housing shortage in Algeria is estimated at 1.2m units," stated PPC.
Algeria: South African cement firm PPC has announced that it will buy a stake in an Algerian cement company as part of its drive to boost sales outside its home market.
PPC said that it will buy a 49% stake in Hodna Cement, which plans to construct a US$350m plant in the country. PPC did not disclose how much the deal will cost, but said that it will be funded on a project finance basis, with 80% of the debt to be sourced from local Algerian banks.
"This project sees us entering yet another African country and gives us confidence that by 2017, 40% of PPC revenues will be earned outside of South Africa," said PPC CEO, Ketso Gordhan. PPC is also constructing cement plants in Ethiopia, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Both Dangote Cement and PPC have reminded the world about their development plans for sub-Saharan Africa. In the wake of PPC's yearly results on 19 November 2013 came a spotlight on the South Africa-based cement producer's international ambitions. Not to be outdone, Nigeria's Dangote Cement then put out a press release detailing all of its big development projects.
Dangote and PPC are set to go into direct competition when the Dangote subsidiary, Sephakhu Cement, opens its 3Mt/yr integrated cement plant at Aganang, North West province in early 2014. It will be the first time the Nigerian cement giant will be producing cement in the same country as its competitor in sub-Saharan Africa, PPC. The encounter will set the tone for the producers' next clash when they both open cement plants in Ethiopia in 2015.
Both the African cement producers are targeting a swathe of south to east sub-Saharan Africa from South African to Ethiopia. PPC, based in South Africa, has a presence in neighbouring Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. It has bought stakes in cement producers in Rwanda, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and has new cement plants on the way in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In contrast to PPC's more 'organic' growth strategy from an established base, Dangote, with its existing presence in west Africa is about to enter this region. It has new projects planned in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia, as well as in Ethiopia and South Africa.
To compare the financing behind each company's expansion, Dangote reported that it had committed US$884m for acquisitions in 2012. PPC intends to spend US$276m on capital expenditure in its 2014 financial year. If these figures from financial reports are correct, Dangote is spending three times as much as PPC on expansion. Dangote may have more money for expansion but PPC has long-standing presences in the region or has recently acquired them.
Dangote reported an 18% rise year-on-year in turnover to US$1.8bn in 2012. The same year its sales volumes increased to 10.4Mt from 8.66Mt in 2012. The company's installed cement production capacity was reported as 19.25Mt from three plants in Nigeria. In comparison, PPC reported a 13% rise in revenue to US$820m for its financial year to the end of September 2013. No exact cement productions figures were released but PPC said that cement sales increased by 7% in the period.
How Dangote and PPC spar in South Africa remains to be seen but one area where they may agree will be on imports. In its final results for 2013, PPC again highlighted the continuing threat of imports from Pakistan, mainly via Durban. Imports comprised 7.6% of national demand as of June 2013. In Nigeria in 2012 Dangote led successfully a campaign to cut foreign imports. Irrespective of increasing demand for cement, adding Dangote to the anti-cement import lobby in South Africa might well make space for a new producer.
South Africa: PPC (formerly Pretoria Portland Cement) has announced that full-year profit in 2013 was increased by 10% after improved sales in its home market and neighbouring Zimbabwe. Net income rose to US$92m in the 12 months to September 2013 from US$83m in 2012.
"Cement sales in our home territories, particularly Zimbabwe and South Africa, have shown good growth," said Ketso Gordhan, chief executive officer of PPC.
PPC is expanding in Africa through acquisitions to offset tougher competition in its domestic market. The company will have three new plants operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Ethiopia by the end of 2015, boosting capacity by more than a third to as much as 11Mt/yr.
"Due to modest growth, the domestic trading environment remains tough and highly competitive," said a PPC representative. "We are on track to meet our strategic objective of generating 40% of our revenues from the rest of the continent by 2017."
Democratic Republic of Congo: PPC (formerly Pretoria Portland Cement) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Democratic Republic of Congo's Barnet Group to build a US$230m greenfield cement plant. The project will involve building a 1Mt/yr plant and an associated quarry 20km from Kimpese in western Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
"This investment is another of PPC's commitments to invest in sub-Saharan Africa and we are very confident about DRC. 22% of PPC's revenue comes from outside South Africa, at present, but the target is to increase this to 40% by our 2016 financial year. We look forward to a growing contribution and partnership with the DRC in the years ahead," said CEO of PPC, Ketso Gordhan.
In its press release announcing the project, PPC noted that the existing cement market in DRC was 'severely' undersupplied. At present, the DRC has 16kg/capita annual cement consumption, the lowest in Africa, compared with the South African average of 240kg and the global average of 400kg.
For the project PPC has partnered with Jean Saidi Bamanisa, Chairman of the Barnet Group, who is also the Honorary Secretary of the Federation of Congolese Companies. He was elected Governor of the Oriental Province of the DRC. The project will take advantage of DRC's first special economic zone.
South Africa: PPC (formerly Pretoria Portland Cement) has announced details of an agreement to buy a controlling stake in Safika Cement Holdings for US$35.3m, according to a Johannesburg Stock Exchange release.
"We are very excited to be able to add another complimentary business to PPC. This is an important step in our 'Keeping the Home Fires Burning´ strategy. The proposed transaction is subject to approval by the regulatory authorities as well as the conclusion of the due diligence process," said chief executive officer of PPC Ketso Gordhan.
Safika is a blended cement producer that owns five blending plants and one milling operation. It produces blended 32.5N cement under three brands: IDM Best Build, Castle and the Spar Build-It house brand.
In the global cement news this week, we see that PPC (the former Pretoria Portland Cement), a large-scale domestic player in the South African cement industry, has taken it upon itself to provide association-like services to cement and concrete consumers in the country. PPC says that it felt obliged to supply information on things like quantity analysis, setting advice and product testing in the place of the now-defunct Cement and Concrete Institute (CCI).
The CCI, lambasted by PPC and other cement producers for years, was accused in April 2013 by PPC of not providing the kind of advice and services that cement producers should expect from an association. PPC, Lafarge and AfriSam all pulled funding and the CCI collapsed.
If the CCI had simply ceased to exist, PPC's new stance, putting its own cash into industry-wide assistance, might be seen as laudable. However, the CCI has been re-born as the Concrete Institute (CI), an organisation that is, by its own admission, no longer on the lookout for the interests of the whole industry. The CI is largely backed by Sephaku Cement, itself majority owned by the Nigerian cement juggernaut Dangote Cement, making PPC's stance suddenly look like one of self-preservation. Dangote is making rapid progress in the sub-Saharan cement industry and firms like PPC cannot afford to let it sweep aside the status-quo in South Africa.
The speed and scale of Dangote's rise, covered previously in this column, is huge. Nigeria's largest company now has interests in Senegal, Zambia, Tanzania, Congo, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Liberia as well as Nigeria and South Africa. Not a month goes by without the announcement of another upgrade, plant or project. Dangote has a fantastic position in its domestic market that has enabled these new projects to be funded.
By contrast PPC is battling a stale construction market in South Africa. South African cement sales fell by 3.8% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2012. To counteract this, PPC has committed to expand outside of South Africa to the tune of 40% of total production by the start of 2016. It announced in early 2013 that production is on track to come online in Rwanda, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo by the fourth quarter of 2015. Zimbabwe is expected to follow suit by the middle of 2016. It already has interests in Botswana and Mozambique.
With two of its largest home-grown cement producers both expanding rapidly outside of their domestic markets, and a relative lack of interest from the big four multinationals, the sub-Saharan cement market is set for big changes in the medium to long term. PPC and Dangote are expanding towards each other and already share many markets. Dangote has expanded more rapidly and is moving towards exports from Nigeria. PPC is catching up by taking shares in strategically-placed plants. Is sub-Sahara headed for a showdown...? Whatever happens, the future of this rapidly-growing market will certainly be interesting.