Strong sales lifted half-year headline profit at South Africa’s Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) by one third and full-year results were expected to be higher, the company said on Thursday. It said earnings per share before capital items in the six months to the end of March jumped 33 percent to 587.7 cents a share compared to 441 cents a year earlier.
PPC said the strong results were mainly due to strong cement demand on the back of higher infrastructure spending and buoyant housing construction after the central bank slashed interest rates by 5.5 percentage points last year.. "The current growth in cement demand should enable the company to report increased operating profits and cash flow for the full year," the firm said in a statement. "The year-on-year rate of increase in the second half is however likely to be lower than that achieved in the first half," it added.
In April, PPC, which is two thirds owned by diversified industrial group Barloworld, revised upwards its forecast for six-month earnings and said profits would be more than 30 per cent above those of the previous year. The company said revenue grew 16 percent to 1.63 billion rand ($238 million) and operating profit gained 37 percent to 517.4 million rand.