PRETORIA PORTLAND CEMENT is pursuing additional opportunities in Africa and expects to make further announcements this year. In a trading update for the first quarter, PPC chairman Mr Bheki Sibiya said the opportunities would ensure the company's African expansion strategy gains momentum and be as rapid as possible.
Mr Sibiya said during the period under review, the company took a significant step in its "Rest of Africa" strategy with the announcement in December last year of the 51 percent acquisition of Cimerwa Limited of Rwanda for US$69,4 million.
"The receipt of our Zimbabwean indigenisation certificate in November 2012 is also an important step for this strategy," he said.
He said the financial quarter was also characterised by growth of cement volumes in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana. While the selling environment remained challenging, Mr Sibiya said some increases in prices were achieved in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
He said volumes in the lime division declined due to reduced offtake from the local steel industry while aggregate volumes remained under pressure due to weak demand.
"In Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa there remains limited visibility on major infrastructure projects, however, the group's outlook for cement demand in these three territories gives it reason to remain cautiously optimistic.
In November last year PPC announced plans to set up a new US$200 million cement manufacturing plant in Zimbabwe as it expands its football.