Taiwan Cement Corp. expects sales and profit to grow more than 15 to 20 percent in 2005 from 2004 and aims to become one of China’s top three cement makers in three years, chairman Leslie Koo said on Monday.
Like many of Taiwan’s industrial firms facing saturated demand at home, the island’s top cement maker sees its future in China, where it is launching an aggressive expansion plan to double annual production capacity to 20Mt by 2008.
"We believe overall sales for this year will grow more than 15 to 20 per cent. Profit will grow more or less the same," Koo, son of the late Koo Chen-fu, Taiwan’s top negotiator with China, said.
"We should be able to do better than the forecasts, but we prefer to be conservative for the time being," Koo added.
The forecasts are largely in line with market expectations.
In 2004, the company posted a net profit of T$4.42bn, a 151 per cent leap from a year earlier after Taiwan imposed anti-dumping duties on South Korean and Philippine makers. Its sales totalled T$27.9bn in 2004.
Koo attributed this year’s growth mainly to increased capacity, exports of higher-priced products to North America, as well as effective cost controls that were part of re-engineering to transform the 50-year-old firm.