Ashaka Cement Nigeria Drops to Month-Low on Lower Profit

Ashaka Cement Plc, a Nigerian unit of Lafarge SA fell to the lowest in a month after it reported first-half profit retreated 52 percent from a year earlier.

The stock declined 8.4 percent to 24 naira as of 1:16 p.m. in Lagos, the commercial capital, set for the lowest on a closing basis since June 27. More than 7 million shares, or more than five times the three-month average volume, traded.

Ashaka’s net income for the six months through June slid to 1.2 billion naira ($7.5 million) from 2.5 billion naira, the Gombe, Nigeria-based company said in a statement published today on the website of Nigerian Stock Exchange.

“We believe the weaker topline growth in the second quarter was most likely due to increased competition from larger and more aggressive rivals, such as Dangote Cement, which have added substantial capacity over the last two years,” Tunde Abidoye, an analyst at Lagos-based FBN Capital said today in an e-mailed note. Competitors “are shipping cement directly to Ashaka’s core market in north-east Nigeria.”

Ashaka’s shares have risen 34 percent this year, tracking the 35 percent advance on the Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index.

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