Saudi Southern Cement Q2 profit up 19.5 per cent

Saudi Southern Cement Q2 profit up 19.5 per cent
Published: 14 July 2008

Southern Province Cement Co , Saudi Arabia’s second-largest cement maker by market value, posted a 19.5 per cent rise in second-quarter net profit, according to figures published by a local newspaper on Monday.

Southern Province, which began operating a third plant in February, made profit of SAR465m ($124m) in the six months to June 30, up 32.5 per cent from a year earlier, al-Watan newspaper reported, quoting the company’s board.

Southern Province said it planned to offer shareholders a dividend of 3 riyals for the first half of 2008, or 420 million riyals, the firm said in a statement on its website.

Al-Watan said the volume of Southern Province’s sales rose 23.2 per cent to 2.92Mt in the first half of this year.

Demand for cement is surging in top global oil exporter Saudi Arabia, where the economy is surging on a more than seven-fold surge in oil prices since 2002.

Global Investment House expects profits of Saudi cement firms may rise by at least 20 per cent in 2008. Cement output capacities are expected to double to 60Mt within the next three years as existing companies expand and new producers enter the market.