PPC has said its expansion remains well on track and commissioning of its Rwanda plant is anticipated at the end of 2014. Construction work has also commenced at sites in Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it added.
As part of its local 'Keeping the Home Fires Burning' strategy, in December 2013, PPC acquired a 69.3 per cent stake in Safika Cement Holdings for ZAR377m. "Additional opportunities are currently being pursued and further announcements will be made in the near term," the company stated.
The trading statement for the three months to December last year noted that the operating environment in South Africa remains tough with low single-digit cement volume growth achieved in the first quarter, along with price increases. Both the inland and coastal regions recorded positive growth. Growth in cement volumes was also achieved in Zimbabwe with exports from that country showing a pleasing trend.
Volumes in Botswana continue to be under pressure due to weak demand and intense competitor activity. Similarly, sales volumes in Mozambique remain weak due to the competitive environment. Nevertheless, some increases in selling prices were achieved in these territories.
"While the South African trading environment will remain tough and highly competitive, we believe that our various response strategies have positioned PPC well. The release of major infrastructural projects in this country as well as Botswana and Zimbabwe would provide a key driver for demand of cement products," the company added.