Oman Cement Co 1Q rises on higher sales

Oman Cement Co 1Q rises on higher sales
Published: 28 April 2009

Oman Cement Co beat analysts’ forecasts in the first quarter as prices and sales increased in its home market and plans to invest US$162m to increase cement production.

Net income in the three months to March 31 rose 14.2 per cent to OMR4.66m (US$12.1m) compared to the year earlier period. The firm had said in an early regulatory filing pre-tax profit rose 15.1 per cent to OMR5.179m.

"The profit is marginally higher compared to the same period of last year due to the increase in selling price which compensates for the high input cost of imported clinker and cement," Oman’s second largest cement producer by market value, said in the statement.

The firm said sales rose 55.2 per cent to OMR18.2m in the first quarter.

"The results are much better than expectations on local demand ... it has been focussing production on the local market," a local brokerage manager at United Securities said.

Analysts’ forecasts ranged from OMR3.08m to OMR4.5m, with the average at OMR3.93m, in a Reuters survey in April.

The results were in stark contrast to rival producer Raysut Cement , which saw first-quarter profit fall 34 percent on lower production and sliding margins on imported cement.

"The demand for cement in Oman continues to remain at a high level ... in order to meet the increased demand, the company is continuing to procure clinker to be able to produce additional cement, the firm said, adding it expected weaker prices in 2009.