Chile producers’ profits dip in 1H07

Chile producers’ profits dip in 1H07
Published: 20 August 2007

Chile’s top three cement producers –  Cementos Bío Bío, Lafarge and Polpaico – all saw their bottom line drop during the first half of this year compared to the same six months of 2006, according to separate company filings to the securities regulator SVS.  
Bío Bío saw net profits plunge 73.7% to 10.4bn pesos (US$19.7mn) during the first half 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 163bn pesos, a 7.9% decrease from the 177bn pesos seen in the same period last year.  
Operating profits were mostly flat at 18.0bn pesos in the same period.  
In July, Bío Bío submitted an EIA to the country’s environmental impact evaluation system (SEIA) for the construction of a US$26mn cement mill, to be built on a 12.6ha piece of land in central port city San Antonio, with capacity to produce 300,000t/y of cement.  
Its subsidiary Inacesa, which provides cement to mining companies, reported a 15.4% year-on-year increase in net profits, totaling 8.06bn pesos in 1H07.  
Revenues were up 17.9% to 51.4bn pesos, while operating profits also increased from 8.75bn pesos posted in 1H06 to 10.0bn pesos in the same period this year. 
The net profits at Chilean unit of French cement company  Lafarge slipped 14.6% to 10.8bn pesos, the company reported.  
Lafarge Chile - formerly known as Cementos Melón - posted a 4.3% increase in revenues to 51.4bn pesos, but operating profits fell 8.5% to 10.4bn pesos. 
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 37.5% to 6.32bn pesos during the first half of 2007 compared to the same period the previous year.  
Revenues for the first six months of 2007 were down 9.1% at 63.0bn pesos, while operating profits also sunk 26.9% to 9.14bn pesos in the first six months of the year.  
Cement sales decreased 7.3% year-on-year, the company reported without mentioning specific tonnage.