Associated Cement Companies Ltd, India, has posted a 10.4 per cent rise in net profit at Rs 223.2 million (US$4.91m) for the 3rd quarter ended December 31, 2003 as against Rs 202.1 million in same period last fiscal. The net income for the reporting quarter grew at Rs 7893.2 million as against Rs 7279.2 million in October-December 2002, the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange on Friday. Commenting on the performance up to December 2003, the company said the cement industry recorded growth rate of 4.9 per cent. It was lower due to disruption arising out of transport strike at the beginning of the fiscal year, heavy and prolonged monsoon and poor availability of railway wagons and trucks for transporting cement and clinker in some states in Q3, it said. "In view of the pick up in economic fundamentals, it is expected the cement industry will benefit from the improved environment", it said.