PPC’s Chairman announced at the AGM held at PPC Monday that trading conditions in the first quarter of this financial year have continued to be favourable with regional cement sales volumes ahead of our expectations. Production facilities ran at high utilisation levels and this resulted in a further improvement in the cement operating margins.
The Jupiter plant situated in Germiston, Gauteng, is on schedule to commence cement production in this quarter which will augment current industry capacity. Contracts for the supply and erection of equipment for the "Batsweledi" expansion project at the Dwaalboom factory have been signed and are within the budgeted cost at this stage. Site establishment has commenced and the project is on track for completion in the second quarter of 2008 as planned.
In spite of Porthold in Zimbabwe experiencing very difficult conditions, cash generation and profitability are ahead of expectations following stronger than anticipated sales volumes. Lime profitability and volumes also remained satisfactory and in line with expectations, whilst Afripack benefited from plant efficiencies and strong cement sack sales.