PPC Hasn’t Received New Takeover Offers After AfriSam Talks

PPC Ltd. hasn’t received acquisition offers following the collapse of talks with fellow South African cement maker AfriSam Group (Pty) Ltd. and said a target to have 40 percent of sales outside its home market by 2017 isn’t an immediate concern.

The company hasn’t had any approaches it needs to communicate to the stock exchange, Chief Executive Officer Darryll Castle told reporters in Johannesburg on Wednesday. The talks with closely held AfriSam were called off last month in part because of concerns that the competition regulator wouldn’t approve the deal without penalties, he said.

“We’re in areas where other players are; we talk at investor conferences,” Castle said, referring to potential cement-industry suitors. “There’s nothing that requires any kind of disclosure, nothing that goes beyond what we’ve said.”

Cement companies are expanding in Africa as governments increase investment in infrastructure to support economic growth, boosting demand for the construction material. PPC is building new plants in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia in pursuit of the 40 percent target, set before Castle joined the company in January.

“If it happens that we get most of our growth here or most of our growth in Africa, at this stage is not a big issue for me,” Castle said. “There’s no reason to think we’re a million miles away or won’t achieve those targets.”

PPC shares declined 4.4 percent, the most since Feb. 13, and traded at 17.07 rand at the close in Johannesburg. The stock is down 38 percent this year, and is trading more than 44 percent lower than when former CEO Ketso Gordhan’s resignation was announced on Sept. 22.

Gordhan, who is also a shareholder, left following a dispute with fellow executives over his attempt to fire Chief Financial Officer Tryphosa Ramano, who remains at the company. Castle, a former head of Trafigura Mining, was appointed CEO on Dec. 17.

(An earlier version of this story was corrected to clarify that PPC retains its Africa expansion target.)

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