Morocco Holcim H1 net down 2.5 pct on special tax

Morocco Holcim H1 net down 2.5 pct on special tax
Published: 24 September 2004

The Moroccan unit  of Swiss cement giant Holcim saw its first-half net profit slide 2.5 per cent to 174 million dirhams (US$19.45m) due to the impact of a special tax on cement sales.

The Moroccan operation is the third largest cement firm in the country.

Turnover rose 2.9 per cent to 714.9m dirhams but sales volume increased 10 per cent in the first half, the company said in a statement.

Cement firms and the Moroccan government agreed last year to double to 100 dirhams per tonne a tax meant to generate new funds for the government’s efforts to eradicate shantytowns.

"The decline in production costs has offset only partially the impact of the special tax on cement," the firm said.

The construction sector in Morocco has been growing rapidly over the past two years, helped by housing projects for low-income families and development of infrastructure, mainly roads, hotels and a huge port near the northern city of Tangier.