Southeast Asia cement declines in Manila on competition outlook

Southeast Asia cement declines in Manila on competition outlook
Published: 25 September 2008

Southeast Asia Cement Holdings Inc. fell the most in eight months in Manila trading on concern a government plan to remove tariffs on the construction material will boost imports and squeeze margins.

Seacem, as the nation’s third-largest cement producer by value is known, sank 6.7 per cent to 70 centavos at 9:59 a.m. local time, the biggest decline since Jan. 22. Filinvest Land Inc, the nation’s fourth-biggest builder by value, led developers higher on speculation scrapping the tariffs on imported cement will lower construction costs.

“The removal of the tariffs will allow more imports and reduce prices to the detriment of local cement manufacturers,’’ said Peter Lee, a senior investment officer at Manila-based IGC Securities Inc. “Developers will benefit from the lower cost of cement.”

The Philippines may eliminate the tariffs to keep the price of cement low, BusinessWorld newspaper reported today, citing Trade Secretary Peter Favila. The trade department is considering the action to offset price increases implemented by local cement manufacturers, the newspaper said, citing Favila.