Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) has said the positive outlook in South Africa continues as evidenced by regional cement demand growth of 8.3 per cent in the first quarter of this financial year. The Botswana market is starting to show some signs of recovery after a number of years of decline. All production lines were in operation and ran at high utilisation levels.
During this recent period of peak demand, imported Surebuild cement was supplied to customers in the Cape Town and Port Elizabeth markets. Currently customer requirements can be met from PPC’s own local production supplemented by supplies from our Zimbabwe operation and it is unlikely that further imports will be required before mid-year.
The “Batsweledi” expansion project at Dwaalboom is fully contracted, within budget, progressing to schedule and start-up remains on course for the second quarter of 2008.
Whilst Porthold in Zimbabwe continued to experience very difficult conditions, given the political and economic environment, PPC says it is pleased with sales volumes.
Discussions are currently in progress with a number of potential BEE partners. It is anticipated that the details of PPC’s empowerment transaction will be announced by May. This timing is dependent on the prior unbundling of PPC from Barloworld Ltd having been completed. Once the BEE transaction is finalised, the company plans to appoint a number of additional black non-executive directors to the Board and a black chairman.