PPC reports lower profits

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Cement2 Independent Newspapers Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

Africa's third-biggest cement maker by value, Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC), reported a slight drop in full-year profit on Tuesday, hit by accounting charges and continuing weak demand.

PPC, which also makes lime and aggregates, said diluted headline earnings per share totalled 160 cents in the year to end-September compared with 164 cents a year earlier.

Headline EPS, the main profit gauge in South Africa, strips out certain one-time items.

The results include accounting charges related to a black empowerment deal. South African companies are required to increase their black ownership in order to address the inequalities of apartheid.

Without those charges, earnings would have increased by about 10 percent.

Sales were 8 percent higher at 7.3 billion rand ($834 million) as a slight increase in cement pricing compensated for lower volumes.

PPC, which competes with larger rival Nigeria's Dangote Cement and Morocco's Lafarge Ciments on the continent, has been looking for new revenue streams across Africa to offset sluggish demand at its mainstay South African market.

PPC said in June it has teamed up with South Africa's Industrial Development Corporation, to buy into Ethiopia's Habesha Cement Share Company as part of its stated goal to increase sales contribution from outside South Africa to 50 percent in five years.

Shares in the company are up just over 5 percent, under performing a near 17 percent rise in the All-share index. - Reuters



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