Yamama Cement looks abroad

Yamama Cement looks abroad
Published: 24 June 2009

Saudi-based Yamama Cement Co would offset the impact of an export ban on its earnings by investing abroad if the year-long blockage lasted longer, its top executive said.

The kingdom’s third-largest cement firm is also pressing ahead with cost cuts as the ban slashed seven per cent off its sales since it was imposed in last June, Jehad Al-Rasheed told Reuters.

’When you have financial capabilities and the investment opportunities at home are locked up, you will seek to maximise returns for shareholders,’ he said in an interview.

’There is a possibility for investment opportunities abroad. There are two or three opportunities under study, most of them are in the Middle East.’   

Yamama’s first-quarter net profit fell 36.2 percent from a year earlier, tracking a trend across the sector due to the ban.

The envisaged direct investments, which could be announced within two years, would not be aimed at building new facilities, said Al-Rasheed, whose firm sold 4.4Mt of cement in 2008. ’These are mere investments not expansion projects’.