Taiheiyo Cement Corp expects to report a positive free cash flow of 76.9 billion yen on a consolidated basis for the year ending March 31, up 26 per cent from fiscal 2002. The surplus would be the company's highest since merging with Nihon Cement Co. in October 1998. Taiheiyo Cement's operating cash flow is projected to rise 12 per cent to 66.4 billion yen, and its net profit is estimated at 15 billion yen, an increase of 140 per cent. Investment cash flow is seen rising 420 per cent to 10.5 billion yen. In addition to reducing capital spending 20 per cent to 31.2 billion yen, the company plans to sell a Tokyo office building for 37.2 billion yen. Interest-bearing liabilities, which totalled 843.3 billion yen as of the fiscal 2002 year-end, are expected to fall to 750 billion yen as of March 31. The reduced liabilities will enable the company to improve its financial position, which lags behind industry rivals such as Sumitomo Osaka Cement Co. Taiheiyo Cement plans to reduce its interest-bearing liabilities to 700 billion yen by March 31, 2005.
Nearly all of the free cash flow from the current fiscal year, as well as a portion of cash reserves, will be applied toward reducing the firm's interest-bearing liabilities.