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Pretoria Portland Cement Sales Boosted by Higher Prices

Pretoria Portland Cement Ltd., the largest cement maker in South Africa, said full-year sales rose 8 percent as higher selling prices offset lower volumes caused in part by strikes and slowing economic growth.

Net income attributable to shareholders decreased 2 percent to 768 million rand ($88 million) in the 12 months through September, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement. Revenue rose 8 percent to 7.3 billion rand, it said. Earnings per share, excluding one-off accounting items, climbed 11 percent to 1.85 rand.

PPC is focusing on expansion outside South Africa to boost profit in the face of slowing economic growth in the continent’s biggest economy. The company agreed in July to buy about half of Ethiopia’s Habesha Cement Share Co. alongside The Industrial Development Corp.

“The first phase of our Habesha investment in Ethiopia will increase our revenue outside South Africa from the current 21 percent to approximately 26 percent within the next three years,” the company said.

Labor unrest in the mining sector and a truck driver strike will lead to “more subdued numbers” for the rest of 2012, PPC said. The worst labor protests since the end of apartheid have led to stoppages at South Africa’s platinum, coal, iron ore and coal mines, while 20,000 truck drivers went on a 2 1/2 week strike on Sept. 24.

PPC said it had raised its full-year dividend payment by 12 percent to 1.46 rand per share. The shares have risen about 3 percent in the year to date, compared with a 17 percent rise in the FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index.

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