Displaying items by tag: Philippines
Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines lobbies for government projects to use blended cement09 May 2016
Philippines: The Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CEMAP) has asked the government to use more blended cement in its infrastructure projects to meet its emissions targets. “In the Philippines, the private sector uses more than 80% of blended cement. The government, on the contrary, does the opposite. It uses 80% Portland cement,” said CEMAP president Ernesto Ordoñez in an interview with local press.
In October 2015 the Philippines submitted to the United Nations its initial commitments to address climate change that included a 70% reduction of carbon emissions by 2030. The reduction is targeted to come from the energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry sectors.
Philippines: Holcim Philippines’ profit was flat year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016 at US$31.7m, despite revenues increasing by 17% to US$213.6m. The company reported, however, that production costs rose by 23%, eating into revenues.
Holcim Philippines president and country chief executive Eduardo Sahagun said that the company’s first-quarter performance was due to its ability to make supply available in the market on time and its strong regional presence.
“Moving forward, we are cautiously optimistic as we await the results of the coming elections. Hopefully, the focus on infrastructure remains, as this is much needed by the country to sustain its development,” Sahagun said.
Cement demand in the Philippines grew 12% in the first quarter of 2016, on sustained rollout of private sector projects and higher state spending for infrastructure.
Cemex has taken action towards its debts over the course of the last week. First, it announced that it had amended its credit agreements in order to delay the looming effects of consolidated financial leverage and coverage ratio limits by one year to March 2017 with other similar deadlines also delayed. Then it announced the pricing of US$1bn of Senior Secured Notes due in 2026, a form of secured borrowing. This was followed by confirmation of asset sales in Bangladesh and Thailand. Finally, it announced that it was seeking regulatory permission to sell a minority stake in its subsidiary in the Philippines.
This column has discussed the on-going financial travails at Cemex a few times, notably recently when the group released its fourth quarter results for 2015 and in the wake of HeidelbergCement’s announcement to buy Italcementi. Basically, it all comes down to debt, as the following graph shows.
Figure 1 - Cemex assets, debt and equity, 2006 - 2015
Cemex took on large amounts of debt following its acquisition of Rinker in 2007. Since then the value of its assets have been falling faster than it has been able to reduce its debts. However, its equity (assets minus debts) is looking like it might dip below its debts in 2016. Hence, action needs to be taken. Cemex appears to have attempted to do this over the last week. Will it be enough?
The credit amendment was probably the most pressing issue for the Cemex management given that the terms have been reliant on maintaining a leverage ratio (debt divided by assets) below a set limit. Cemex has extended the terms of the borrowing in its favour so it can keep the leverage ratio higher for longer without penalty from its creditors. Note that the leverage ratio here means the ratio between debt and operating earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBIDTA).
Selling assets and shares in Asia is the next step in cutting debt in the window the group has negotiated for itself. It holds minor cement production assets in Thailand and Bangladesh that it is selling to Siam City Cement for US$53m. These include a 0.8Mt/yr integrated cement plant in Saraburi, Thailand and a 0.52Mt/yr cement grinding plant in Madangonj, Bangladesh. Unfortunately for Cemex it purchased the Saraburi plant for US$77m in 2001 from Saraburi Cement making it a loss of at least US$24m.
A minority sale of shares in its Philippines assets is more promising. The group runs two integrated cement plants in the country, the Solid Cement Plant in Rizal and the APO Cement Plant in Cebu with a combined cement production capacity of 6.23Mt/yr and a new 1.5Mt/yr production line on the way at Solid Cement also. Local media estimate that the sale could earn Cemex as much as US$850m from the booming market. The Cement Manufacturer's Association of the Philippines reported that cement sales volumes grew by 14.3% to 24.4Mt in 2015 with more growth predicted for 2016.
The credit amendment and asset sales of US$0.9bn may give Cemex the breathing room it requires to keep the creditors at bay for a while longer. It originally refinanced its debts in 2009 at the height of the financial crisis to keep the business running until the markets picked up again. They haven’t. A question that might be legitimately asked at Cemex’s analyst day later this week, on 17 March 2016, is this: when is Cemex going to seriously tackle its debts? As the situation continues the group may end up devoting more time to managing its debts than it will to actually making cement and other building products.
Philippines: Republic Cement has inaugurated its new cement grinding mill at its Norzagaray cement plant in Bulacan. The US$19m expansion will add 0.85Mt/yr of cement production capacity to the plant, according to the Philippines Star.
“This capacity expansion initiative reaffirms Republic Cement’s commitment to support our country’s growth through the provision of top quality cement and building materials,” said Renato Sunico, president of Republic Cement. The new mill will also decrease the plant’s energy consumption.
Republic Cement, formerly Lafarge Republic, is owned by a joint venture of Aboitiz Equity Ventures and CRH.
Philippines: Cemex Philippines has started proceedings to sell a minority stake in its assets. The subsidiary of Cemex has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the Philippines and the Philippine Stock Exchange. Subject to obtaining approvals from both bodies it will then sell a minority interest in the company’s cement manufacturing assets in the Philippines, the company said in a statement.
Cemex runs two integrated cement plants in the country, the Solid Cement Plant in Rizal and the APO Cement Plant in Cebu. The decision to sell shares of assets in the Philippines is part of Cemex’s wider asset divesture plant.
Mexico: Cemex has obtained consent to amend its credit agreement dated 29 September 2014 in order to delay the scheduled tightening in its consolidated financial leverage and coverage ratio limits by one year. The formalisation of the amendment is subject to customary conditions and is expected to be finalised in the following days.
The amendment to the credit agreement will allow the leverage ratio covenant to remain at 6.0 times until and including 31 March 2017. It will then gradually decline to 4.0 times by 30 June 2020. The margin grid in the credit agreement will be modified such that if the consolidated leverage ratio is greater than 5.50 times in the reference periods ending on 31 December 2016, 31 March 2017, 30 June 2017 and 30 September 2017. The applicable margin will be 425 bps instead of 400 bps. All other levels in the margin grid remain unchanged.
In addition, the credit agreement will be amended to allow Cemex the right, subject to meeting local requirements in the Philippines, to sell a minority stake in a subsidiary that directly and indirectly mainly owns Cemex’s cement manufacturing assets in the Philippines.
Philippines: A shortage of cement has been reported in the Pangasinan province due to government projects, including road widening schemes, and private construction. The local Northern Cement Corp. (NCC) plant at Sison is producing around 100,000 bags per day according to the Philippines News Agency. Despite this dealers, and buyers are reporting cement shipments selling out hours after delivery, with prices spiking accordingly.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) monitoring of the NCC plant reports that 2.2 million bags were delivered by NCC in January 2016 and 1.9 million bags were delivered from 1 – 22 February 2016. The NCC is upgrading its local plant to double production to 200,000 bags per day by mid-March 2016. The DTI has asked consumers not to panic over this ‘temporary’ shortage.
Philippines: Holcim Philippines has reported a rise in net profit of 58% year-on-year to US$171m in 2015. Its revenue rose by 15% to US$793m. It attributed the gain to increased government spending in infrastructure projects and higher construction activity. Profits also benefited from a US$55m gain from the revaluation of an investment in an affiliate. The LafargeHolcim subsidiary also reported that it is increasing its cement production capacity to 10Mt in 2016 from 8Mt in 2015 to benefit from anticipated infrastructure spending.
Philippines: Cement sales volumes grew by 14.3% to 24.4Mt in 2015 according to the Cement Manufacturer's Association of the Philippines (CEMAP). The sales volume was 21.3Mt in 2014. In the fourth quarter of 2015 cement sales rose by 16.6% year-on-year to 6.1Mt from 5.2Mt in the same period in 2014.
CEMAP president Ernie Ordonez attributed the growth to higher investments in construction of the public sector backed with the private sector's confidence in the government, new housing projects with low interest rates and better weather in 2015.
Philippines: Republic Cement Services Inc (RCSI) is considering building production facilities in Visayas and Mindanao following a government drive to improve the country's infrastructure.
According to RCSI president Don Lee, the move is in response to announcements made by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that more projects were needed in the regions. "At this point, DPWH is more aggressive in visions, projects and allocations of the budget in Visayas and Mindanao," said Lee. The Public Works department, he said, needs to ensure that the local industry has enough capacity to serve the country's development needs. "It is sending us a reminder to be faster in having more cement capacity in Visayas and Mindanao." Lee said that expansions by cement companies are critical for sufficient raw material supplies for energy, water, telecommunications and transport projects. Included in RCSI's upcoming expansions are an 800,000t/yr grinding plant in Norzagaray, Bulacan that is expected to be operational early in 2016.
Lee said that the Cement Manufacturers' Association of the Philippines had reported a year-on-year cement demand increase of 18% in the third quarter of 2015. "I think that for the full year, we're about 13.5 – 14%. We have one of the healthiest cement markets in the world, driven by construction in infrastructure, individual homes and mid-high rise constructions," said Lee.
Lee said he was also confident that Republic Cement would be able to post above industry growth. "With our new capacity coming on and new shareholders, we are in a good position to develop new projects and continue to invest ahead of demand. Our two new parents are financially healthy," said Lee.
RCSI is a joint venture between Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc and CRH. The two companies secured 99.09% ownership of Lafarge Republic Inc, which operates the Republic Cement brand, for US$530m.