PPC has recorded the highest production volumes in Zimbabwe for the first time in 18 years following the opening of its new US$82m grinding plant in Harare.
The group’s interim CEO, Johan Claassen, said Zimbabwe operations continue to exceed expectations, with the investment in the 1.8Mta Harare mill contributing to volume growth.
“PPC Zimbabwe also saw double-digit volume growth compared with last year, and in June 2017 recorded the highest monthly volumes since June 1999,” he said.
Commenting on the group’s performance on the African continent, Claassen said the group’s revenue was way ahead of the previous comparative period ended 30 June 2016.
“Our focus is firmly on delivering improved profitability and liquidity in the shorter term while our longer term strategy remains unchanged. More specifically, we will focus our management effort on the new operations in the DRC and Ethiopia, ensuring that they deliver to expectations, while further optimising efficiency in our other businesses,” he said.
PPC experienced an upsurge in cement demand in South Africa during the 1H17 after a dampened first quarter of 2017. The cement sales volumes in South Africa declined marginally compared to the same period in the previous year, which, however, had two less trading days.
“On a like-for-like basis, volumes were up 0.5% driven by solid performances in both the coastal and inland areas. Imports have declined by 27% compared with the same period last year,” Claassen said.
In the rest of Africa, robust volume growth in Rwanda saw the plant’s capacity utilisation reach 60%. In the DR Congo, monthly sales had tracked progressively better, while imports from Angola had fallen significantly as competition from local producers has increased.
In Ethiopia cement production only started in June 2017, but more than 0.1Mt of cement had been pre-sold since February due to high demand.