Trading conditions in the second half of this financial year have continued to be favourable with cement sales volumes growing ahead of expectations. All production facilities including the re-commissioned Jupiter kiln have been in operation since May 2006 and running at high utilisation levels. These improved trading conditions, are expected to result in both headline earnings per share and earnings per share to 30 September 2006 being between 25% and 35% higher than last year. Operating cash flow for the period has remained strong.
Whilst this performance is pleasing, cement sales volume growth over the next two years will be muted as we should operate at full capacity. The potential increase in cement sales volumes in the year ahead will be limited to about 300 000 tons derived mainly from the incremental output of the Jupiter plant.
The continued demand growth has accelerated PPC capacity expansion and plant modernisation plans and accordingly shareholders are advised that the higher levels of capital investment will impact on the declaration of special dividends over the next few years.