Listed cement producer Pretoria Portland Cement Company (PPC), is expecting local cement demand to show growth of four per cent to five per cent in the year ahead, slower than the growth experienced in the October to December period, according to Chairman Warren Clewlow. In a statement issued following PPC’s 108th Annual General Meeting, Clewlow provided a trading update on the first quarter of the financial year, referring first to an extract from the prospects section of the Chairman’s review in the Annual Report of 2003. The group remains well positioned to benefit from any opportunities that may arise. The strong cash flows are expected to continue and no major capital expenditure is planned in 2004.
"Trading conditions in the first quarter of this financial year have been favourable and local cement sales volumes grew ahead of expectations. Whilst the growth in demand during the October to December quarter was pleasing, recent commentary on the outlook for construction, indicate that this level of growth may not be sustained during 2004." PPC’s Zimbabwean operations, Porthold, had experienced continued difficult conditions, but both sales volumes and revenue were slightly ahead of expectations. Despite Lime volumes being lower in the fourth quarter of 2003, revenue growth had remained satisfactory. Packaging volumes had reflected good gains in all market segments.