The Irish concrete industry is expected to fiercely resist an unwanted hike in the cement price which comes at a time when its own selling prices are under pressure. Three of the island’s four cement producers - Irish Cement, Quinn Group and Lafarge - are understood to have notified their intention to raise prices by around seven per cent.
In letters sent to concrete producers and other downstream companies that use cement, the producers have cited rising raw material costs as the reason for the price hike, which they plan to apply from the middle of March.
The Construction Industry Federation expressed surprise, arguing yesterday that the move would simply add to construction costs.
"These added costs will have to be passed on," a spokesman said. "It’s something we’d be very unhappy about."
Irish Cement has gone for a 7.3 per cent hike. The Quinn Group and Lafarge are understood to be seeking hikes of Euro 6 and Euro 5 a tonne respectively, increases that equate to about seven per cent.
Cement users are expected to strongly resist the hike, which comes just a year since the last price price rise was put through. Industry sources pointed out yesterday that in the past price changes were applied less frequently, and sometimes as infrequently as every three years.
In confirming that it planned to apply a 7.3 per cent increase in the cost of a tonne of cement from March 14 next, CRH, the owner of the country’s largest producer Irish Cement, said yesterday it had taken this decision "due to exceptional cost increases, particularly in respect to energy".