Second-quarter net income rose 25% at St. Lawrence Cement Inc, reflecting higher sales volumes and price increases. The company, which supplies products and services to the construction industry, said net was C$27.5m or 67 Canadian cents a share, up from C$22.0m or 53 Canadian cents a year ago. Sales rose 9%, to C$326.8 million. It said its ready-mix operations in Montreal didn’t see a price increase. However, all other markets and product lines did. Sales volumes of cement, mineral components, aggregates and ready-mix concrete rose, reflecting stronger economic activity and the impact of recent aggregate acquisitions. Construction services revenues rose due to a higher volume of work in Ontario, it noted. However the stronger Canadian dollar hurt US sales when reported in Canadian currency.
St. Lawrence Cement said cement demand in Canada and the US is expected to be stronger in the second half of the year than forecasted a few months ago. Higher international cement demand and higher ocean freight rates are exerting upward pressure on the price of imported cement, it added. It therefore sees potential for further cement price increases in the coming months in its markets. With good backlogs in all three divisions and assuming a stable Canadian dollar, the company expects to boost sales and margins in the 2004 second half compared with the same period in 2003.