Weak monsoons and new capacities seem to have benefited the cement industry in terms of increased sales. The industry had expected low demand due to the arrival of monsoon in many parts of the country. But, construction activity did not slow as major players like Aditya Birla group, ACC Ltd and Ambuja Cement have reported an increase in sales figures for the month of August 2009.
Aditya Birla Group’s cement dispatches grew 32.15 per cent to 3.21Mt and Ambuja Cements dispatches increased 15.33 per cent to 1.42Mt. Similarly, Shree Cement reported a 30 per cent growth in its August cement shipments, whereas, Dalmia Cement and JK Lakshmi’s Cement’s dispatches grew 15.7 per cent and 15 per cent over August 2008.
ACC, due to its recently constrained capacities, managed a dispatch growth of only seven per cent in August. Total dispatch growth in August is forecast to be more than 15 per cent. This compares to an increase of about nine per cent in July 2009. Ajay Kapur, head of marketing and commercial services at Ambuja Cements was quoted by local press as saying: “The cement demand from semi-urban regions remained strong due to late rain as the construction activities did not slow down. Moreover, there was also an improvement in demand from urban centres too.”
Industry analysts maintained that on a YoY basis, sales growth will be higher as several cement makers have added capacities. However, they further said, on a MoM basis, dispatches are tapering off, which suggest a decline in demand.