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Pretoria Portland Cement Sees Progress in Africa

Pretoria Portland Cement Co., Africa’s biggest cement maker is seeing “significant progress” on some African projects, with demand in southern Africa continuing to improve.

PPC may announce two projects on the continent in the next few months, Chief Executive Officer Paul Stuiver said by phone from Johannesburg today. The company’s expansion in Africa may include Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique, and the plan to increase revenue from operations on the continent outside South Africa to 50 percent from 20 percent is on schedule, he said.

PPC’s Zimbabwe business, which accounts for about 10 percent of production, is seeing “very high demand” and the unit is expected to make an improved contribution to second-half earnings, Stuiver said.

Net income climbed 8 percent from a year earlier to 369 million rand ($45 million) in the six months through March, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement today. Sales rose 8 percent to 3.52 billion rand, while earnings per share increased 8 percent to 76.7 cents.

Profit growth was hampered by “fierce competition” on cement prices and increased power costs, the company said. PPC’s cement sales in Botswana declined, mainly because of a cut in government spending on infrastructure projects, and also because of a civil service strike and increased competition.

PPC shares rose 0.2 percent to 29.06 rand at the close in Johannesburg, bringing the advance this year to 6.1 percent and giving the company a market value of 17 billion rand.

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