Argentina: Loma Negra’s consolidated adjusted earning before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew by 3% year-on-year to US$146m in 2020 from US$143min 2019. Sales fell by 13% to US$458m from US$526m and net profit rose by 107% to US$125m from US$60.6m. Consolidated cement, masonry and lime sales fell by 6% to 5.2Mt from 5.5Mt, but rose by 27% in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 1.6Mt from 1.3Mt. The company noted a fourth-quarter increase in bulk cement sales of 7%. Bagged cement also made a ‘robust recovery’ from the negative effects of the strict Covid-19 lockdown in the second quarter of 2020, according to the company. It attributed the rise to the partial lifting of lockdown for private works. Throughout the year, the group decreased its net debt by 81% to US$22.8m from US$119m.
In 2020 the producer continued with its L’Amali cement plant expansion and divested its Paraguayan asset. All detailed engineering is reported complete and all equipment and materials supplies have been delivered to the site. Commissioning and start-up has been completed at the crushing section and a new primary crusher is fully operational. Commissioning and start-up at raw mill department and clinker line are in progress.
Chief executive officer Sergio Faifman said, “We finished the year in a very good way when considering the unprecedented scenario that we were presented with from the beginning of the year. At that point in time, the fragile macroeconomic environment in the country was impacted by the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, making the future uncertain and blurred. More than ever, it was in that challenging context that we lean on our competitive strengths.” He added, “At the beginning of the crisis, we focused on managing our cash position and cash generation, and we sought to optimise our productive structure. As the market began to pull in demand, we relied on our value chain to speed up sales, especially of bagged cement. All of this allowed us to expand our profitability, and enhanced our already solid balance sheet.”