Republic Cement says price hike unlikely

Republic Cement says price hike unlikely
Published: 08 August 2007

Listed Republic Cement Corp. yesterday said it was unlikely to increase prices this year even with low demand.  
 
Company President John Reinier H. Dizon said prices have been stable since September last year.  
 
"There was no price increase until the end of July when the demand is high, it is unlikely that we hike the price during the second half of the year when the demand tapers off," Renato C. Sunico, board member of Republic Cement, told reporters.  
 
French cement manufacturer  Lafarge is majority shareholder of listed Republic Cement. The company controls 31%-32% of the local market.  
 
The officials said Republic Cement’s first-half performance this year was better than last year but declined to give figures. For the first quarter, sales volume grew by 12%.  
 
"We hope it will continue especially now that the government’s infrastructure projects are expected to come on stream," Mr. Sunico said.  
 
The company has allotted about P700m to P800m for expansion this year. Last year, it spent P700m to upgrade a plant in Batangas. "These investments are meant to improve our equipment and ensure safety of our people."  
 
Republic Cement operates two plants in Bulacan, one in Rizal and in Batangas, with a total capacity of 6Mt. It produced about 3.8Mt of cement last year.  
 
The board of directors of listed  Fortune Cement Corp. earlier approved the company’s merger with  Republic Cement Corp. and two other cement firms in a bid to improve cost efficiency.  
 
Republic Cement, which owns majority of the outstanding capital stock of Fortune Cement, FR Cement Corp., and Lloyds Richfield Industrial Corp., was the surviving entity.  
 
Republic Cement trimmed its accumulated losses to P1.2bn in 2006, from about P3.9bn in 2005 and gained P1.14bn from the disposal of non-operating assets, including the sale of "old wet lines, which have been replaced by modern and efficient dry lines."