Cement producers’ profits dip in Jan-Sep

Cement producers’ profits dip in Jan-Sep
Published: 01 November 2007

Chile’s top three cement producers -  Cementos Bío Bío,  Lafarge and Polpaico - all saw their bottom line drop during the first nine months of this year compared to January-September 2006, according to separate company filings with securities regulator SVS.  
 
Bío Bío saw consolidated net profits plunge 68.4% to 14.2bn pesos (US$28.8m) during the first nine months of 2007 compared to the same period in 2006. The difference is due to the sale of forestry assets in June last year, which brought in an extra 25.8bn pesos, the company said.  
 
Revenues were 241bn pesos, a 7.5% decrease from the 261bn pesos seen in the same period last year.  
 
Operating profits were down to 25.4bn pesos in the same period, compared to 29.2bn pesos reported for the first nine months of 2006.  
 
Cementos Bío Bío is currently carrying out investments of about US$160m, with US$81m going to cement production projects designed to increase the company’s productivity in order to cope with increasing demand, the company reported.  
  
The consolidated net profits at Chilean unit of French cement company  Lafarge slipped 27.4% to 12.6bn pesos, the company reported.  
 
Lafarge Chile - formerly known as Cemento Melón - posted a 10.7% increase in revenues to 146bn pesos, but operating profits fell 12.8% to 19.4bn pesos on higher costs.  
 
Chile is the French company’s second largest market in Latin America after Brazil. The firm controls 33.8% of the Chilean cement market.  
 
Lafarge entered the country in 2001, when it purchased 84% of Empresas Melón. The firm now holds four business lines:  Lafarge Cemento,  Lafarge Hormigones,  Lafarge Morteros and  Lafarge Aridos.  
 
Polpaico’s consolidated net profits fell 24.5% to 8.98bn pesos during the first nine months of 2007 compared to the same period the previous year.  
 
Revenues for the first nine months of 2007 were down 5.3% at 97.8bn pesos, while operating profits also sunk 14.5% to 13.2bn pesos in the period.  
 
Cement sales decreased 2.4% year-on-year, the company reported without mentioning specific tonnage.