Kenya: cement maker Athi River Mining yesterday reported a 69 per cent rise in after-tax profit from Sh57.4m to Sh97m for 2003. The pre-tax profit was up 60 per cent from Sh82.1m to Sh131.2m. Cement made up 55 per cent of the company’s business. Lime, silicate and fertilisers also made important contributions. Net profit in the period was boosted by the sale of 33 per cent holding in its Tanzanian lime plant at a 75 per cent profit per share.
"The results are a reflection of ARM’s strategy, which has continually focused on developing and increasing the company’s capacity by strengthening its core business," said managing director Pradeep Paunrana during the investors briefing. Shareholders will receive a 50 cents dividend, which includes 40 cents interim pay arising from good profitability on the first quarter of 2004.
ARM turnover went up from Sh1.1 billion to Sh1.2bn or 10 per cent. However, it was accompanied by a 12 per cent growth in cost of sales to Sh867m. Mr Paunrana said the company was continuing with its cement production expansion programme. A new kiln in Kaloleni, Kilifi District, will increase capacity from 120,000 to 200,000t. Then in the last quarter of 2005, the firm will initiate a grinding plant in Kisumu.
ARM is also seeking a tenth of the Sh9 billion turnover fertiliser market in the country. A company, Mavuno Fertiliser Ltd has been incorporated to market its Mavuno brand. The firm is looking into lime production in Zambia while its Johannesburg South African plant is to be operational in July. Its 20,000 tonne-capacity lime plant in Tanga is to export to South African Development Community and the Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa.