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Uzbekistan: The Tashkent Regional Economic Court in Uzbekistan has seized the assets and bank accounts of JSC Akhangarancement, a subsidiary of Russia's Eurocement Group, according to an Akhangarancement statement. The move follows the granting of a suit brought by the Uzbekistani State Competition Committee on 21 July 2014 regarding the privatisation of the cement producer in 1994, which it is investigating.
Money in bank accounts equivalent to US$177.8m and fixed assets amounting to US$19.1m were seized. An Akhangarancement source said that, despite the seizure of the accounts, the plant continues to work as usual and produce cement.
Eurocement Group claims that the State Competition Committee's claims are contrived and it plans to appeal the decision of the regional court at a higher court. Eurocement has 30 days to file an appeal. If the court upholds the first ruling, this will essentially mean the nationalisation of the asset.
Eurocement became a shareholder in Akhangarancement eight years after it was privatised, buying 75.5% of its shares on the secondary market in August 2006. Currently, Eurocement Group's stake in the enterprise is 83.9186% or 4,136,269 shares, of which Switzerland's Eurocement Holding AG is the direct owner. The rest of the shareholders are private individuals.
India: Prism Cement has reported a net profit of US$2.2m for the second quarter of 2014, which it attributes to higher sales and margins. The performance represents a turn-around from the US$7.96m net loss that Prism suffered in the same quarter of 2013. Total income rose to US$230.9m, mainly due to higher revenue from cement and clinker, of which it sold 1.54Mt during the quarter.
Zimbabwe: PPC Zimbabwe has secured US$18m for the construction of a new cement plant in Harare Province. The company said that construction of the new plant is currently its main priority.
"Preliminary work at the site is underway and fully-fledged construction is scheduled for August 2014," said PPC's managing director, Njombo Lekula. A road access network to the plant has already been completed and a temporary office is already set up at the site. Public hearings for the Environment Impact Assessment have been concluded, providing the green light for the project to commence.
PPC, which has 1.2Mt/yr of cement production capacity, intends to double its capacity by building a clinker plant in Mount Darwin District in Zimbabwe, as well as cement grinding plants in Harare Province, Zimbabwe and Tete Province, Mozambique. Lekula said that PPC is also looking at investing more in new technology to increase production capacity. According to Lekula, a feasibility study for the construction of a clinker plant and a cement grinding plant in Mashonaland Central Province, Zimbabwe is almost complete.
"We are conducting a feasibility study for the clinker plant in Mashonaland Central, but the plant in Harare is our main priority at the moment," said Lekula. He added that the construction of another clinker plant in Mashonaland Central would go in tandem with the limestone geological studies currently being carried out.
PPC, however, is worried by the performance of its export business. "Currently our plants in Zimbabwe are running at about 70% capacity utilisation and for us to get to decent levels of capacity utilisation, we have to find other markets," said Lekula. "We export to Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique and we continuously look for opportunities in the region." PPC's export business contributes about 20% to its total turnover, but the figure fluctuates. "Our export market margins are impacted by logistics. Sometimes the exports are not very stable hence the need to look at both the local and export markets to ensure sustainability," he added.
Written by Global Cement staff
29 July 2014
Indonesia: Semen Indonesia has reported US$1.13bn of revenue in the first half of 2014, a 12.8% year-on-year increase. During the first six months of 2013, revenues grew by 31.9% compared to 2012. The decelerated growth is attributed to reduced domestic demand, which is affecting the Indonesian cement industry as a whole.
Sales volumes in the first half of 2014 grew by 4.6% year-on-year to 12.8Mt. Semen Indonesia's subsidiary, Semen Gresik, contributed almost 54% of the sales volumes. Semen Padang accounted for 26% and Semen Tonasa contributed the remaining 20% of sales volumes. Net profit for the first six months of 2014 stood at US$46.9m, a 9.3% year-on-year increase, while higher expenses and foreign exchange losses contributed to higher costs. Semen Indonesia has forecast an 8% increase in revenue for the whole of 2014.
The latest statistics from the Indonesian Cement Association show a 4% increase in domestic cement consumption in the first half of 2014, lower than the 7.5% growth reported for the first half of 2013.
India: Continued slackness in domestic cement demand led to a 47% fall in Ramco Cements' net profit to US$6.04m during the second quarter of 2014, which ended on 30 June 2014, down from US$11.5m during the same quarter of 2013. Revenues fell by 2.8% to US$160m, down from US$165m in 2013.
On a consolidated basis, Ramco Cements earned a net profit of US$6.10m during the second quarter of 2014, which includes results of its subsidiary company, Ramco Windfarms, as well as its associate company, Ramco Systems.
Ramco Cements expects performance to improve in the coming months. It is establishing a cement grinding plant at Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, with a 1Mt/yr grinding capacity, at a cost of US$59.8m. The project will be completed over the next few months and will help the company to grow in the Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Chhattisgarh State markets. Ramco Cements is also working on increasing capacity at its thermal power plants at Alathiyur Village and Ariyalur Town in Tamil Nadu State.