PPC - September 2019

Imports of cement into South Africa have risen once again, up by 293 per cent YoY in July, putting the increase for the first seven months of the year at 17.5 per cent, despite the severely depressed state of the country’s construction sector. Imports are predominantly arriving from Vietnam, according to local reports.

Last month, PPC, along with a number of other major South African cement producers, applied to the country’s International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) for what they described as “safeguard action” against the cheap imports. Rather than seeking a total ban on imports, the producers are looking for tariffs to be introduced to help protect the local industry. 

But, according to Njombo Lekula, managing director of PPC South Africa, business and government in South Africa are suspicious of each other and “that needs to change”. Mr Lekula added that cement prices are already rock bottom and the influx of imports are just adding to the demand deficit already facing the industry.

Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe, PPC is reportedly considering investing in solar energy at its Bulawayo and Colleen Bawn plants due to rising energy costs and unreliable power supplies. According to the company, Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst power crisis is decades with factories and households often going without electricity for up to 18 hours a day.

Elsewhere, Roland van Wijnen will take over as CEO of PPC on 1 October 2019, succeeding John Claasen. Van Wijnen, who worked for LafargeHolcim for 17 years, has signed a four-year contract with PPC.