Bulgarian cement producer Plevenski Cement said on Thursday its net profit rose 19.5 percent in 2003 compared to a year earlier, supported by healthy growth in sales and cost cutting. "The positive results are due to rising sales volume, lower prices of the fuel we use in our production and cost cutting," the company executive director Alexandar Chakmakov told ADP News. The 2003 net profit totalled 2.63 million euro (US$3.3m) up from 2.20 million euro a year earlier.
The company sold 226,000t of cement last year against 208,000t in 2002. "The cement market in Bulgaria grew by nearly 12 per cent last year to reach 1.8Mt," Chakmakov said. Plevenski Cement has the capacity to produce 360,000t of cement annually but at present it utilises about half of it and sells almost all of the output on the domestic market, the company executive said. The company also sold 171,00t of clinker in 2003, up by 23,000t compared to the year ago period.
Plevenski Cement was put into private hands during the mass privatisation campaign in Bulgaria in the 1990s. In 1998, Greek cement producer Titan Cement bought a controlling stake in the company from local privatisation funds. In December last year, Holcim said it would buy Plevenski Cement from Titan Cement. In return, Holcim would sell its 46.5 per cent minority stake in Macedonian Cementarnica Usje to the Greek company.